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 2015 budget: Okonjo- Iweala begs Tambuwal, House leaders

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PostSubject: 2015 budget: Okonjo- Iweala begs Tambuwal, House leaders    2014-12-17, 04:04

Ahead of today’s laying of the 2015
budget on the table for National
Assembly’s consideration, Minister of
Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala,
yesterday pleaded with House of
Representatives Speaker Aminu
Tambuwal to facilitate the bill’s
passage.
There has been no love lost
between the executive and the
Speaker since he defected from the
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to
the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Tambuwal’s security guards have
been withdrawn and he and some of
the members were prevented from
accessing the National Assembly
complex on November 20.
They were also tear gassed.
In response to the police invasion
and the declaration by Inspector
General of Police Suleiman Abba that
he does not recognise Tambuwal as
Speaker, the House has restricted
policemen to the gate of the
complex.
A principal officer, who spoke in
confidence with our correspondent,
said: “The Minister of Finance met
with Tambuwal to solicit the support
of the House for easy passage of the
2015 budget.
“For about two hours, she begged
the Speaker and other House
leaders, including the chairmen of
the House Committee on Finance
and Appropriation, on the
presentation of next year’s
Appropriation Bill.
“There is need to fast-track the
budget in the overall interest of the
country. The Minister decided to by-
pass the legal cold war between the
Presidency and the House to make a
strong case for the nation’s
economy.”
Another principal officer said:
“Okonjo-Iweala briefed the session
on some realistic projections
surrounding the 2015 budget,
including the $65 per barrel
benchmark.
“She spoke on the likely challenges
the nation might face with the
implementation of the 2015 budget
and the plans put in place by her
ministry to manage these shocks.
“She marshaled her points in an
emotional manner.
“She came to plead with the House
to put the survival of the economy
above petty politics overshadowing
the activities of the House.
“The nation’s economy will be in
dire straits if the row over the plot to
force the Speaker and others to
vacate their seats festers.
“I think, it is this kind of
rapprochement that the nation
needs. Tambuwal assured the
Minister of the readiness of the
House to facilitate the quick passage
of the budget whenever it is
presented or laid.”
Notwithstanding the visit of the
Minister, Tambuwal staved off the
plot to force him to vacate his seat
following House decision to stop the
police from manning all the gates to
the National Assembly Complex.
Policemen have now been
restricted to the entrance
checkpoint, which is about two to
three kilometres to the main gate of
the National Assembly Complex.
Instead, sergeants-at-arms were
directed to take over security in the
National Assembly.
Besides the security build-up, it was
gathered that the rejection of an ex-
parte application to sack Tambuwal
by Justice Ahmed Mohammed put
the anti-Speaker’s camp in disarray
and the plot failed.
Those behind the plot have also
discovered that they could not
muster the required number to force
Tambuwal to vacate his seat
because of issues over primaries,
which had forced some members to
defect from the ruling Peoples
Democratic Party(PDP) to other
parties.
A source said: “We did not want a
repeat of the invasion of the
Assembly complex by the police. So,
we haveprepared ahead to forestall
any attempt to use the police to
force Tambuwal to vacate his seat.
We took pre-emptive measures.
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