With his request for a $30 billion external borrowing plan, 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP), and virement of N180 billion in the 2016 budget stuck in the National Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari may have caved into the demands of lawmakers to release N100bn constituency fund.
Also, members of his own party caucus in the House of Representatives, on Wednesday were at the forefront of the rejection of the president’s request owing to the paucity of funds release to them.
The Whistler learnt that the APC caucus in its closed-door meeting voiced their disenchantment with the conduct of the Presidency and the party’s leadership over matters relating to the legislature and had vowed not to “play ball” except things change.
It was gathered that the meeting had a low turnout as only about 30 out of over 200 members attended the caucus meeting presided over by House Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.
But for the interventions of Gbajabiamila, alongside the Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun and the Deputy Chief Whip, Pally Iriase, the members had resolved to become “opposition within the ruling party.”
A source at the meeting told The Whistler that, “The meeting was tensed as members freely aired their grievances against the Presidency for not taking the welfare of members into consideration.
“We are politicians and without going back to our constituencies to carry out projects how do we get re-elected?”
It was obvious that the threat of the lawmakers may have reached the Presidency and some back door deals reached as the House passed a motion mandating its Committee on Appropriation to consider the request for the virement of N180 billion.
Other committees to which the virement are related to would also serve as sub-committees of the Appropriation Committee to consider the request. These include the Committees on Nigerian Air Force, Youth Development, Niger Delta and Works, among others.