The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has said it is “regrettable” that Sen. Danjuma Goje trivialised the issues he raised about the unilateral slashing of the budgetary allocation for key national infrastructure by the National Assembly.
Fashola said this in response to Goje’s comment that he should resign if the work is too much.
Goje, who is the chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, made the statement while reacting to Fashola’s criticism of the national assembly over the insertion of some projects into the 2017 budget.
In a statement personally signed by him, the minister said it is important for Goje to have a “temperament of debate and disagreement”.
Decrying the senator’s admonition that he should learn how to “behave like a minister” and the reference to the Senate awaiting how he would be “handled” by the house of representatives which summoned him, .
I think first that the language is unparliamentary and therefore not deserving of a reply.
It seems that it is such people who need a behavioural prescription about legislative function.
The minister said he aired his views on the budget because he wanted to have a tool that he could work with.
Let me reiterate that I see parliament as a house where very vigorous debates about development should take place and it is important for Goje to acquire the temperament of debate and disagreement.
I need a better budget as a tool to do my work and that is why l am speaking out.
In this context, it is left for Nigerians to then decide whether budgeting for constituency roads is more patriotic than budgeting to complete the Kano-Maiduguri road that connects five states, the Lagos-Ibadan road that connects three states and helps to move food, imported goods and fuel across the country; or the second Niger bridge that connects the east and west geo-political zones of at least 11 states together.
I will also leave Nigerians to judge whether it is more patriotic to budget for the Mambilla power project that will contribute to more power across Nigeria or reduce the budget to build street lights in legislative constituencies.