President Muhammadu Buhari will assent to the N10.59 trillion 2020 budget which was passed last week, anytime this week.
This was according to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin who noted that the National Assembly is ready to transmit the budget to the executive this week for assent.
Jibrin, while speaking to Thisdaylive, said: “So far, the budget has not been sent to the president for his assent. We still have a small work to do, like on Wednesday, both Houses of the Senate and the House of Representatives will pass the votes and proceedings on the budget and it is then ready for the president’s assent.”
On the argument that the 2019 budget is still legally valid till June next year, Jubrin said: “There is no controversy as the moment the budget is signed into law, it becomes law and any other thing will be subsumed into the new law.”
Also on Tuesday, the motion seeking to pass vote of confidence in the leadership of the 9th National Assembly and the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, suffered a setback in the upper chamber.
The motion titled: “Vote of confidence in the leadership of the National Assembly” and contained in the Order Paper, was sponsored by Senator Kassim Shettima, representing Borno Central and co-sponsored by 35 other Senators.
However, according to reports, most of the 36 senators whose names were published in the Order Paper have no knowledge of it.
“I don’t know why those seeking emergency image laundering for the leadership have to resort to this. Like many others whose names you saw on the Order Paper, I don’t know about anything relating to vote of confidence on anybody,” a ranking senator whose name appeared as a co-sponsor of the motion said on condition of anonymity.
“We have individually expressed our concerns to those packaging the project and I am sure that this is why they have agreed to stand it down.”
Another senator from South-south said he learnt the motion was put together to quell the mounting criticisms against the discriminatory and lopsided distribution of constituency projects in the just approved 2020 budget.
He said: “The question you should ask is ‘why passing a vote of confidence on the leadership at this time? Why the rush? Has the leadership done anything wrong since it was put in place in June, 2019 that it required the vote of confidence as solidarity measure? he queried.
Senate Deputy Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, who stood in for Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi moved a motion that the vote of confidence motion be stood down till another legislative day. He was seconded by Senate Minority Whip, Senator Philip Aduda.
The vote-of-confidence motion had 35 other senators, made up of 25 from APC and 10 PDP as co-sponsors, including Lawan’s opponent in the June 11 Senate presidency election, Senator Ali Ndume and Danjuma Goje, who withdrew from the race a few days to that election.