The attack on the former president by the House was in reaction to Obasanjo’s comments yesterday, November 23, that the National Assembly is as a den of corruption inhabited by a gang of unarmed robbers and stinking worse than the judiciary, The House spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas addressing a press conference on Thursday, November 24, accused Obasanjo of being a mischief maker and a life time opposition leader, who blackmails every government that he is not part of, Daily Trust reports. Namdas alleged that the former leader is effectively plotting to derail the government of Muhammadu Buhari in the same manner he allegedly did to successive presidents since 1979. “It is unfortunate that he has started his very familiar method of bringing down governments. He did it to Alhaji Shehu Shagari, he did it to Gen. Buhari, he did same to Gen. Babangida, he attempted to bring down Gen. Abacha before he imprisoned him for treason; he made frantic efforts to derail the government of President Ya’ardua when he couldn’t use him. “He supported President Goodluck Jonathan but when he refused to take dictation, he turned against him. He supported President Buhari, but since he has sensed that Nigeria is having economic difficulties under him, he has pounced to derail his government. “The way Chief Obasanjo talks gives the impression that he is a lifetime opposition leader who has never held any office. What did he do about the issues he raised in his 8 years as President? “We have repeatedly maintained that there was no “padding” of the 2016 Appropriation Act, which is a legitimate document passed by the National Assembly, authenticated by the Clerk to the National Assembly as provided in the Acts Authentication Act and assented to by Mr. President. “It is most unfortunate that a former President of Chief Obasanjo’s stature would allow himself to be hoodwinked and procured by a renegade member of the House, who embarked on massive propaganda and lies just because he was removed from office,” Namdas said.
Recall that former president who has in time past criticised previous administration on Wednesday slammed President Muhammadu Buhari and urged him to fix the country’s economy as he promised during electioneering rather than expressing frustration at the gloomy economic situation. Speaking at a lecture he delivered at the First Akintola Williams Annual Lecture in Lagos titled, “Nigeria yesterday, today and tomorrow: Governance and accountability, Obasanjo also faulted the proposed borrowing of US$30bn by the Buhari administration. The former president who described the National Assembly members as lawbreakers accused them of allocating to themselves huge allowances.
He said: “Once you are a member, you are co-opted and your mouth is stuffed with rottenness and corruption that you cannot opt out as you go home with not less than N15m a month for a senator and N10m a month for a member of the House of Representatives. The National Assembly is a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers. “If the judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly which stinks much worse than the judiciary? Budget padding must not go unpunished. It is a reality, which is a regular and systemic practice. Nobody should pull wool over the eyes of Nigerians. Ganging up to intimidate and threaten the life of a whistle-blower is deplorable and undemocratic. He also accused the National Assembly of using ‘so-called constituency projects’ as an avenue for corruption. “These constituency projects are spread over the budget for members of the National Assembly for which they are the initiators and the contractors directly or by proxy and money would be fully drawn with the project only partially executed or not executed at all. The National Assembly cabal of today is worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system at any time,” he said. According to him, members of the National Assembly pay themselves allowances for staff and offices they do not have or maintain. However, following Obasanjo’s criticism, the presidency is yet to respond to the issue raised by the former leader.