A former President of the Senate, Ken Nnamani, and a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Masari, on Monday met President Muhammadu Buhari to suggest the way out of the current face-off between the Presidency and the National Assembly over the 2016 Budget.
The meeting was held inside the President’s office at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Nnamani and Masari later confirmed to State House correspondents that the issue of the budget formed part of the discussion they had with Buhari.
Nnamani described budget preparation as a peculiar area, saying the Executive and the Legislature have to collaborate for a proper budget to be passed.
Concerning the current impasse, the former President of the Senate urged the National Assembly to embark on introspection.
He said, “Budget is an area where we practise what we call co-management between the National Assembly and the Executive branch of government. Both of them co-manage the economy through the budget.
“It is a peculiar area, both of them will have to cooperate and collaborate for a proper budget to be passed and once it is passed, it becomes law.
“So as it stands today, the situation is such that the National Assembly has to do what is called introspection. How did we get to where we are now?
“The year is running out and we are still talking about 2016 budget; where is the fault from?
“Wherever it is coming from, both the Executive branch and the Legislature must find a quick solution to it. It does nobody good to drag it any longer.
“Remember, it is an area of co-management, it is not left to the Executive alone and it is not left to the National Assembly alone. There has to be collaboration.”
When asked what the President’s disposition was to his advice, Nnamani said, “I think it stands to reason that what I suggested is being studied. I think its appropriate.”
Masari, who is also the governor of Katsina State, gave an indication that if he was in the President’s shoes, he would not sign what he is not sure of.
He recalled that he signed his state’s budget recently and he did not do so, up until he was sure of its content.
“You know I am now an executive and I signed budget for Katsina State and before I did that, I made sure I knew what I am signing for. So take it as I said,” he said.
When asked if Nnamani had dumped the Peoples Democratic Party for All Progressives Congress, the former President of the Senate said he had not taken such decision.
“I will not join a party in secret. When it is time I am joining any party, I will make it public. Today, I am bipartisan,” he said.
Masari also spoke on the forthcoming economic and development summit being organised by his state.
He said what should be the focus of the present administration is to go back to the basics, which according to him are agriculture and natural resources.
He said, “There was a time Katsina was entirely dependent on its natural resources, those resources are still there and I believe that we are sensitising the general public and the world to know that there are lots of opportunities in Katsina and in Katsina with proper investment.
“We believe we can make it, we believe we can survive on the natural resources and agriculture and other resources that abound in Nigeria.
“So, that is why we have tagged this economic and development summit, but also we are refocusing to encourage our own local investors. Those who have N100,000 to invest can make more money than leaving the money in the bank.
“Essentially, our focus will be on agriculture and cultivation of selected crops and we are focusing on the natural ginger.
“We are focusing on the area of irrigated agriculture in the area of rice, cotton and other crops, we also have gold and diamond in Katsina but what we can lay our hands now is in the area of agriculture.”