The Executive Director, Centre for Social Justice, Mr Eze Onyekpere, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to the National Assembly seeking to transfer the 2018 budget in funding next year’s general elections.
Onyekpere’s criticism comes two days after President Buhari revealed in his letter to the lawmakers that the 2019 general elections would gulp N242 billion.
But appearing on Channels political programme, Politics Today on Thursday night, Onyekpere argued that the President ought to have submitted an Amendment to the Appropriation Bill rather than a Supplementary Appropriation.
“The President should not have submitted a Supplementary Appropriation. What he should have submitted is an Amendment to the Appropriation Bill,” he said.
To Onyekepere, the current administration took a wrong step by attributing the said amount to the conduct of a crucial election in which he would be participating in.
He also called on Nigerians to tell the President to retrace his steps on his request to the National Assembly.
“There is some level of mischief in what the President has done. And Nigerians should clearly tell him that is not the way to go.
“We have little or no time to the elections. So money should be available as soon as possible so that INEC can start the arrangement for the elections,” he added.
In Buhari’s letter on Tuesday, he explained that implementing a budget of 9.12 trillion Naira for 2018 will be extremely challenging and does not consider it expedient, to increase it to accommodate the funds needed for the 2019 general elections.
According to him, the National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocations to 4,700 projects submitted to them for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion.
He has, therefore, asked the parliament to transfer the funds appropriated for the new projects which are inserted in the 2018 budget to cover the sum of 228.8 billion Naira for the elections.
The total amount for the 2019 general elections
2018 supplementary – N164, 104, 792, 065
2019 budget – N78, 314, 530, 535
Total – N242, 445, 322, 600
2018 supplementary – N143, 512, 529, 445
2019 budget – N45, 695, 015,438
Total: N189, 207, 544, 893
2018 supplementary – N11, 457, 417, 432
2019 budget – N19, 083, 900, 000
Total – N30, 541, 317, 432