Ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives Ghali Umar Na’Abba today responded to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s allegations against the members of the National that they are all corrupt.
Answering questions from newsmen today, Na’Abba stated that Obasanjo is one of the most corrupt Nigerians.
According Na’Abba he called on Obasanjo to explain to Nigerians how he became one of the richest Nigerians after leaving office, when he had virtually nothing before he assumed office.
Speaking further Na’Abba said as Speaker of the House of Representatives, he had cause to take Obasanjo on various expenditure offences he committed that the former president could not defend.
Na’Abba said thus; “Well, I don’t think there is anybody that is 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 various expenditure offences which he committed, which he could not defend and didn’t show any remorse. In fact, that is why sometimes in 2002, the National Assembly tried to impeach him.
“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 am aware that money was distributed by Obasanjo” he stated.
Talking about the padding or no padding, he said, “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.
“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 the issue of whether padding was an offence, he 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 behooves on Nigerians to decide who represent them in the national assembly” he stressed.