Senate Leader Ali Ndume on Monday said the leadership of the Upper Chamber has not been interceding for Senate President Bukola Saraki before President Muhammadu Buhari.
He debunked insinuations that his frequent meetings with the President lately had anything to do with Saraki’s trials at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).
Speaking with reporters after a consultation with Buhari, Ndume said: “”There are issues that are really on ground. One is the budget.
“We also have two bills before the Senate that we need to start working on when we resume tomorrow (Tuesday). I mean the Money Laundering Bill and the Criminal Information Sharing Bill.
“There are issues other than those ones that are really on ground. This is how we are supposed to be doing it earlier. That is coming into the Villa to consult and guide the proceedings in the Senate appropriately.
“Other than that, I don’t want you to see it as an unusual visit. I will be doing this often because this is how it is supposed to be.
“Again, I normally consult with the President on a personal basis long before he became the President, so it is not unusual.”
Asked if he raised Saraki’s trial with Buhari, Ndume said: “I am not the Senate President. The question should be directed to the Senate President.
“You are asking me what I do not know. I consult and if I have to mediate on anything, there should be a problem. I do not know of any problem.”
He attributed the 2016 budget controversy to lack of enough time to work on it before presentation to the National Assembly.
According to him, the problems associated with the document would however be sorted out to enable the budget to be signed into law.
He said: “We are working on the budget daily. We are working on it collectively for the first time.
“The Executive and the Legislature are looking at the budget collectively. This is the first time we will be doing it this way.
“The matter is not about a date. If we can finish it today, we will hand it over for signature tomorrow.
“In those days, we just pass budgets that are normally not implemented.
“This is the first time we are doing a budget that the President is looking forward to implement.
“This budget was done in a rush and you know there are some issues that are cropping up. It is no longer going to be business as usual.
“So, those unusual things, if detected, we will work on them. It is not as if we are holding on to the budget. We are working collectively.”
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