The controversial 2016 Budget presented to the National Assembly by President Buhari has not only caused national embarrassment, it also left Nigerians at the crossroad of economic woes. The embarrassing responses from the Presidency to blame the Government’s clear incompetence to formulate a budget devoid of shoddy figures on the civil servants under its watch is most disappointing. This fall short of a good leader. President Buhari should be courageous enough to explain to Nigerians why his ego-boosting Government produced this disjointed, incoherent, elementary and pedestrian document called the 2016 federal budget?
Mr President promised Nigerians after taking almost seven months to appoint his ministers that he was looking for holy Nigerians with the best brains. Are these the holy Nigerians Mr President were looking for? Inspite of the national embarrassment they have plunged Nigeria into with their gross incompetence to prepare a workable budget, none of the so-called incorruptible Buhari appointees has given any better explanation why the budget is laden with so much mischievous and corruptible figures save some satirical explanations. The melodrama advanced by the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, that: “rats invaded Nigeria Budget documents and smuggled foreign items” is the greatest insult to the intelligence of Nigerians.
The disquiet within the presidency while the budget controversies rages in national discourse called for questioning. In the absence of a cogent explanation from each and every minister and senior official associated with this budget, we wish to call on Mr President to ask for their resignation or fire them with immediate effect. Those guilty of willful conduct should be arrested immediately and prosecuted. This is the fulcrum of Mr President’s vain-glory anti-corruption war if he is ready to fight this national cankerworm.
Following from the above we wish to ask Mr President some salient questions since he has promised Nigerians a zero based budgeting approach. Nigerians will appreciate if President Buhari can tell us why the Aso Rock kitchen continues to get tens of millions in budget allocations every year for the purchase of utensils without Nigerians being told of what happened to the ones purchased in the previous year? Why does the guest house continue to get hundreds of millions every year for renovation and new contents without an explanation of what happened to previous allocations? He should explain to Nigerians why the Aso Rock Clinic that caters for less than 2,000 people is getting more money for capital expenditure than all the teaching hospitals that cater for over 170 million Nigerians? Why does the President need N1 billion to buy food items at a time when the average Nigerian is starving? These and many more questions are begging for answer from Mr President himself and not his aids.
President Buhari while presenting the budget to the National Assembly called it “The Budget of Change”. He promised that his Government will cut waste in government spending. According to him: “To set the proper tone, one of our early decisions was the adoption of a zero based budgeting approach, which ensures that resources are aligned with government’s priorities and allocated efficiently.” Off all these assurances given to us by the President, Nigerians are yet to fathom why strange and outrageous figures surreptitiously crept into the so-called Budget of Change?
As for the sack of the Director-General of the Budget Office by President Buhari and other directors of different Ministries, Agencies and Departments of the Government, it is our appeal that Mr President should avoid his lopsided and ethnic-cum sectional based appointments. We feel disenchanted after all the series of public opprobrium on the Government over its arrant display of ethnism, nepotism and favoritism in its appointment so far, the Government is still playing the ethnic card. The removal of the DG, Budget Office, a Moslem and replaced him with another Moslem all from the Northern extraction in our view is the greatest decision of the Government to rule the Country along ethnic lines. President Buhari should be cautious in his actions as regards his appointments because Nigeria is a plural State. His actions are sharp dividing the Country along religious-cum ethnic lines order than uniting it. The Directors that were sacked by the Government on the 15th of February 2016 should be replaced with people from the six Geo-Political Zones. Mr President should be guided by the Constitution and the Federal Character Act to appoint the said directors. Nigerians will be reprieved and see the Government as a Government of a particular region if it continue to execute its ethnic agenda.