As the plan by members of the National Assembly to spend N4.6 billion on vehicles continues to generate a controversy, two senators have reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s position.
While the senator representing the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Delta North, Peter Nwaoboshi cautioned that the Senate should not by any means be mistaken as an appendage to the executive arm of government, his counterpart , Senator Abdullahi Adamu of All Progressives Congress (APC) Nasarawa State has urged critics to quote Buhari accurately on his position on the matter.
Nwaoboshi, who was the PDP chairman in Delta, said so far as purchase of the cars was within the budget of the National Assembly, it was unreasonable for other arms of government to dictate or decide for them on how to go about it.
“Although the resident had said during the media chat where the issue came up, that he was not sure about the plan and has promised to look into the issue, in any case, the said vehicles are still within our budget and if that be so, he cannot dictate to us what to do with it.”
According to the lawmaker, since the inauguration of the Eighth Senate, some unscrupulous Nigerians have been bent on ensuring the executive and legislative arms of government do not enjoy cordial working relationship.
He, however, stressed that despite attempts to ridicule the National Assembly, especially the Senate, the legislature remained an independent arm of government and would not succumb to undue interference or intimidation.
But rising in defense of Buhari, Adamu said: “What he said was that he will take a look at it before he makes his position known. But the mistake we are making as media is that we easily compare what happens in our country and what is happening in other countries.
“We easily compare a congressman in America or UK and a congress man in Nigeria. What we fail to realise is that I, as a senator did not create the situation the Nigerian senator finds himself in. I did not create the order the Nigerian senator finds himself in. America started somewhere and comparing America with us on where we are today as a benchmark is wrong.
‘‘The United Kingdom that was our colonial master did not start their democracy today. I believe we have what we can copy or learn and modify to suit our own condition.
“A congressman in the U.S. is not the same with ours here today. An American congressman does not have to come to the Congress. They have developed their system to that level. That our system is not the same thing with theirs is not my fault and the demands of the society on my office today require what an American congressman’s office does not require.
“I am not saying everything we do is correct. We are open to observations and corrections in the interest of the nation and democracy but what I am against is a wholesome comparison because the basis is not the same.”
The Senate had earlier, through its spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, reacted sharply to allegations by online media that the National Assembly planned to expand the sum of N50 billion on purchase of cars for members in spite of transport expenses already incorporated in their remuneration.