Ex Nigerian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has been described as the most corrupt Nigerian. This assertion was made by Ghali Na’Abba, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives who stated during an interview on Saturday, August 6, that the former president lacks the integrity to call members of the National Assembly as corrupt people. The ex-speaker said the Ogun high chief had nothing before president but engaged in questionable and undefendable expenditures during his two-term reign.
Leadership quoted him to have said: “Well, I don’t think there is anybody more corrupt in this country like the former President. I believe you are talking about the former President Olusegun Obasanjo. “As the Speaker, I took Obasanjo on several issues of expenditure offences which he committed and could not show remorse. So, I don’t think he has the integrity to call anybody in the NASS corrupt. This is the man who became President with nothing and today he is one of the richest Nigerians, let him explain to Nigerians how he acquired the money.
“On his planned elongation, am aware that some monies was given to the national assembly members both the House of Representatives and the Senate. It was alleged that the Senators got 50 million each while 40 million was given to the house of representative members, some collected and some did not collect. But I am aware that money was distributed by Obasanjo.”
Na’Abba also spoke on the budget padding scandal, saying “I expect that for 16 years of return to democracy, Nigerians would have understood the responsibilities of the National Assembly. “For some weeks now, there has been controversy over what is called padding. As far as I am concerned, the National Assembly has the responsibility to pass the budget, approve it and allow the executive arm to execute it. “According to my understanding, where the issue being referred to as padding comes into play is a situation where some members go behind and add items of expenditure to what has already been agreed upon, for either stealing the funds or doing whatever they feel like doing with it. READ ALSO: Budget Padding: Obasanjo vs lawmakers, who is honourable? “But, this stealing of fund cannot be possible without the active connivance with some members of the executive arm.
“So far, accusations are being traded amongst members of the houses. No investigation has been conducted. On the call for the resignation of the Speaker, the question is, what has the Speaker done to warrant his resignation?” On whether or not it is an offence to pad the budget, the former Speaker said: “It all depends from what angle you look at it, I just told you that the responsibility of appropriation belongs to the national assembly. “If padding is seen as an offence, then it is when some members of the national assembly decide to add items of expenditure through the back door after the budget has been passed by both houses. It therefore behoves on Nigerians to decide who represent them in the national assembly.”
The ex-president had stunned Nigerians and observers on Friday, August 5, when he stormed the Abuja venue of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) convention committee inauguration. After initially refusing to speak with journalists, the elder statesman denied ever attending the event as widely reported, stating in a text message to Premium Times, that the PDP wanted cheap political gains adding that the reports were planned to embarrass him and get him angry. He said he was at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua centre as guest of Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the chairman, Senate committee on agriculture, when the PDP leaders came to greet him. He added that his resignation from party politics is final.