President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, November 2, wrote a formal letter to the National Assembly informing it of his preparedness to present the estimates of the 2018 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly on Tuesday, November 7.
In his letter addressed to the Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and read during plenary, the president said he intended to lay the budget proposal by 2pm.
The correspondence dated November 1, 2007 appeared to have put paid to the growing speculation over the presentation of the appropriation bill as earlier dates given by presidential sources were at variance with the new date.
Meanwhile, the legislative chamber of the House of Representatives went into a rowdy session after the Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara announced the intention of President Muhammadu Buhari to address a joint session of the National Assembly alongside the presentation of 2018 budget estimate.
Before Dogara could finish reading the letter from the President, the lawmakers spontaneously went loud in their voices with the shouts of, ‘’no, no’.
It was impossible to ascertain the political leaning of the lawmakers, whether they were of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC or the opposition Peoples Democratic Part, PDP or even both parties.
Also, it was not possible to pinpoint why the House erupted in the seeming objection notice to the president’s intended appearance.
However, when the which lasted for some 60 seconds fizzled out, the Speaker reminded the honoruable house that they had no legal right to stop the president from addressing the joint session of the House and the Senate.
“I wish we had the constitutional right to say no. But unfortunately, we don’t have it…This House is the custodian of the constitution. The President has the right”.
This is arguably the first time President Buhari would be presenting the national budget proposal before the National Assembly in the month of November since his assumption of office in 2015.
Before now, the annual ritual had always been witnessed in the month of December.
But many people are of the view that the recent development was to speed up legislative input to the budget estimates to ensure its timely passage in the fiscal year.