OrderPaperToday-    Former Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Bisi Akande is in a war of words with the Senate over drama surrounding the 2016 budget.
Akande said the claim of missing 2016 budget from the upper legislative chamber was an indication of high level indiscipline that produced its leadership.
In a chat with newsmen in his Ila country home as part of activities marking his 77th birthday, he said that the APC still does not believe in the composition of the upper legislative body.
“When I first read in the newspapers that budget was missing in Abuja, you know I live in Ila and I don’t have all the details of what goes on in Abuja. I called the lawmaker representing my constituency and he told me that the budget presented to the House of Representatives was not missing. That showed some complications.
“The whole thing is borne out of indiscipline. You know when foundation of an assembly is indiscipline, the whole thing is bad. That assembly was not constituted the way my party wanted it. The process was hijacked and the leadership was constituted the way it is.
“So from such an assembly, you should expect all kinds of stories. The development regarding the missing budget may be caused by mishandling by people, who are not supposed to be in position. Mr. President should not be blamed for what is happening.
“Come to think of it, how can a document as voluminous as the budget of a whole nation go missing? With my experience in government, just a ministry may have up to 10 pages or up to 100 pages. Imagine you have 30 ministries, that means you will have a documents of 30,000. How on earth will such a large document get missing?”
In reaction, Senate abhorred the the APC henchman’s statements, describing it as another expression of Akande’s frustration which accompanied his inability “to impose his lackeys on the Senate as  leaders.”
The Senate said it was unfortunate that a man of Akande’s status could respond to speculations without cross-checking facts, alleging that the former governor was always eager to exploit any available opportunity to bring into disrepute the leadership of the Senate because his candidates lost out in the power game.
According to a statement signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the parliament said if only Akande had no ulterior motives, he would grasp that “at no time did the Senate say the 2016 budget was missing.”
He said the Senate had severally insisted through several official statements and press interviews by its principal officers in the past couple of days that the budget was not missing but two different versions of the budget were seen by Senators.
“We have said it several times that the budget was not missing; that two versions of the details of the budget exist and this is no longer in doubt as the Presidency has equally admitted this. We expect a man of Akande’s calibre to cross-check his facts and take us up on our words. That he decided to ignore the facts and make comments on speculations is regrettable. He is a man who had served in government. He is a leader of the party with the majority in the Senate and he has several channels of cross-checking facts as against speculations,” the statement stated.
The Senate further stated that contrary to the description of what happened as indiscipline on the part of the leadership, the position of Senate leadership is a demonstration of the regime’s openness, transparency and accountability.
It added: “Chief Akande is still sulking after his group’s failed attempt  to impose certain individuals as the leaders of the Senate last year. So, he was in a hurry to condemn the leadership. We want him to know that the leadership of the Senate can only emerge through the provisions of the constitution and the standing rules of the institution. As a democrat, Akande should know that once the majority has elected the leadership, all parties to the contest ought to accept the decision.
“To continue belly-aching and working to undermine the institution because of the failure to get one’s choice candidates elected casts doubts on his democratic credentials. It appears he is only a democrat when he has his way. We advise him to move on and let us help the legislative institution to focus on its agenda to serve the people in line with the much needed change that President Muhammadu Buhari promised the nation.”

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