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|Budget Row: PDP Chairman Tukur’s Peace Moves Crash by apala911: 11:27am On Aug 02, 2012|
House rejects request for talks
There is disquiet within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) over the budget implementation row between the Executive and the House of Representatives.
The deepening crisis has forced the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, to write the Speaker of the House, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, for a meeting with the PDP Caucus.
But Tukur’s request could not be granted because the House is on recess.
Besides, some Presidency officials are urging members of the House to take it easy.
The House says the Executive must implement the budget fully by September or get set for impeachment proceedings against the President.
The Senate joined the row on Tuesday when it mandated its Committee on Appropriation and Finance to ensure that the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, appears before Senators today.
According to a PDP source, Tukur’s special meeting with the party’s caucus would have prevailed on members to allow dialogue. It was also to “subtly divide” the members, it was learnt.
The party source said: “The leadership of the PDP has initiated moves to wade into the communication gap between the Executive and the House of Representatives.
“Our National Chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, personally wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House on how PDP caucus could assist the party to explore dialogue to resolve the matter.
“Our chairman is just interested in restoring peace; that is why the party is intervening.”
Asked of the outcome of the intervention, the source added: “The intervention started on July 23, but we have not gone far because the House replied that its members are on recess.
“The party would have loved to hold the session during this vacation but the House said most members had gone on vacation and could not be recalled for a meeting.
“It was also indicated in the reply that the Speaker of the House was abroad on vacation.”
A member of the House, who spoke with our correspondent, said: “We heard of the party’s request from some members of the National Working Committee of the PDP, but it is surprising that the party leadership was not aware that we are on vacation.
“We are ready for dialogue but we need to iron out issues already put in the public domain by the Minister of Finance, Dr.Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
“Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala accused members of the National Assembly of tinkering with the budget; we want her to lay the cards on the table. We are angry because the government has introduced blackmail into this budget row.
“By our records, constituency projects are about 2 -2.5per cent of the 2012 budget. Let the Minister of Finance come and justify how 2per cent is impeding the implementation of this year’s budget.”
Another lawmaker said Tukur’s request was suspect.
He said: “Even if we are not on recess, the budget crisis is beyond party line. A meeting with PDP Caucus implies an attempt to divide and rule the House. That is a wrong approach from the ruling party.
“On one hand, the Presidency is trying to open talks with the Speaker but on the other hand, PDP is wooing caucus members in the House to secure a comfortable majority to stave off impeachment threat.”
Following the inability of the PDP leadership to meet with the Caucus, it was gathered that the Presidency has initiated fresh lobbying of House members to give room for dialogue.
It was learnt that some top government officials, including the Chief of Staff to the President, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, are involved in the lobbying.
A high-ranking House member said: “Those of us around, who are yet to travel out, are under tremendous pressure from government officials.
“They have been asking us why we are fighting the President. But some of us corrected the misrepresentation by these officers that the budget row is a confrontation.
|Re: Budget Row: PDP Chairman Tukur’s Peace Moves Crash by floriana(m): 12:10pm On Aug 02, 2012|
What do you expect of peace moves travelling in Dana Plane?
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