David Mark Bites Ribadu For Telling Them To Stop Preposterous Assembly Budget

David Mark

by Chukwudi Akasike

A former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,   Nuhu Ribadu and   the outgoing Senate President, David Mark, on Monday disagreed on the need for National Assembly to cut its budget in line with the current economic realities in the country.

They spoke at a   retreat organised for the Peoples Democratic Party National Assembly members-elect in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.

Ribadu had stirred up a hornet’s nest by calling on the lawmakers-elect to make their monthly salaries public and also cut their budgets. His call immediately attracted side talks by the participants which included   governors and the leadership of the PDP.

Obviously aware that his advice was not being welcomed by majority of the lawmakers-elect, the former anti-corruption czar, reminded them that they would be going   to the National Assembly as the minority.

David Mark villa
David Mark villa

He said that Nigerians would not support the PDP if they (Nigerians) did not know what was earmarked for the National Assembly and how much a senator or a House of Representatives member earns.

Ribadu, who was the PDP’s Adamawa State governorship candidate for the March 28 election,   pointed out that patriotism and quality contributions by members of the PDP in the National Assembly would go a long way in reinventing   and preparing the party for a successful comeback in future elections.

He said, “If Nigerians do not know how much is earmarked for the National Assembly or how much money a senator earns, they will not support you. We must understand the pulse or the mood of the nation.

“The first step, therefore, is to open up the National Assembly by   ensuring transparency. Public office is what it is; public. Also, at this critical time of austerity, be champions   by slashing your own budget.

“My very good friend, Ben Bruce (a senator-elect) has already spoken about this. There are many others   already saying it. For you to excel, you must put in extra effort than your colleagues in other parties.”

He stressed   that the PDP lawmakers-elect must not only be champions of probity and discipline, they must wage war against corruption in the system and ensure strict compliance with appropriation as well as due process.

Ribadu added, “As legislators, you will be going to the National Assembly as the minority. There is a   sense of personal loss no doubt; but there are good opportunities for all and democratic practice in Nigeria.

“Your patriotism and quality contributions as members of the National Assembly will go a long way in reinventing   our party and preparing it for a successful comeback in subsequent elections.

“You must demonstrate personal will and commitment towards being above board if you really want to checkmate others. The first charge for you is to be champions of probity in the workings of the National Assembly as well as the Legislature-Executive relations.”

But Mark, who showed his     dissatisfaction with   Ribadu’s charge,   wondered why “every time, people will talk about National Assembly budget.”

Explaining that the budget of the Assembly had always   been   in public domain, the outgoing President of the Senate argued that Senators and House of Representatives members   had always made sacrifices in line with the nation’s economic realities.

“Every time, people will talk about National Assembly budget; for Heaven’s sake, unless you would say you have never seen the national budget, it is a public document. The National Assembly budget is there with every other budget,” he stated in an angry tone.

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