Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday slammed members of the National Assembly, saying they constituted a heavy drain on the nation’s lean purse.
Obasanjo argued that the amount expended in maintaining the lawmakers is a serious burden on the nation’s coffers and must be looked into urgently.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Board of Trustees (BoT) Chairman, who spoke at a retreat organised for the Niger State senior civil servants by the state government, with the theme, ‘Strategising to Re-invigorate Niger State for the Achievement of Vision 3:2020’, noted that it was difficult to fathom exactly how much a senator takes home annually in the name of constituency project.

He cautioned that something drastic must be done urgently about the situation so as to sustain the nation’s democracy.
“We should look closely at the legislature so that they can be more open and transparent in the way they do their work. Nobody knows in detail how much it costs us to maintain a senator. I believe it is more than N250 Million. Compare what it cost in 1999 and 2000, it cost about $1.7 Million.

“Compare to a quarter of a million in America. You must understand the power of each of us have, they came up and say something is constituency project, what is this constituency project?
“They insert it in the budget, they would find the contractor and the contractor would work for them, that is constituency project? They then accuse some people of corruption, who are not corrupt.

“Now let us talk truly to ourselves seriously. We can’t continue to have a National Assembly that is consuming a disproportional part of our resources and then expect that we would be able to make progress. They pass budget that can’t be implemented, because it has to be beefed up to satisfy their whims and caprices. Even what the ministries did not ask for they put it,” Obasanjo said.

The former president noted that democracy as practised in Nigeria is not only costly but cumbersome, adding that for the country to progress, leaders must discharge their duties with every sense of responsibility without tribal or religious sentiments.
The State Governor, Muazu Babagida Aliyu, in his own remarks commended Obasanjo’s style of leadership during his eight years rule, noting that gave his best shot to deliver the dividends of democracy and treated every Nigerian on merit.

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