Saraki berated the executive, stating that the budget was submitted lately but that he was wrongly accused by the President Muhammadu Buhari Media Organisation for being the mastermind behind the slowing down the budget’s approval, Punch reported.
The Senate President stated this in a statement by his Special Adviser New Media, Olu Onemole, that the group had accused him of postponing the resumption of the Senate in spite of Buhari’s submission of INEC’s budget.
But Onemola in the statement said the National Assembly was committed to the approval of INEC’s budget for the 2019 polls.
Saraki’s aide said in spite of the failure of the executive to submit the budget on time, the committees of the National Assembly had been working to ensure that due process was followed in approving the request.
He stated, “By now, the Nigerian people are aware that the executive branch could have submitted INEC’s 2019 elections budget at the time it submitted the 2018 appropriation proposals last year.
“The executive had from January till June this year to submit the budget request. However, due to a perceived lack of foresight, display of usual tardiness or an attempt to ensure that due process would not be followed, this request was submitted only a few days before the statutory National Assembly annual recess.
The aide said groups like the Buhari Media Organisation that had worked assiduously “with conscientious ignorance as their guide to attempt to scapegoat the Senate President for the failure of the executive to submit INEC’s 2019 election budget on time.
“More importantly, the Electoral Act passed by the National Assembly to help legalise the various innovations that needed for free and fair elections is still absent because President Muhammadu Buhari chose to withhold his assent the first time it was transmitted.
“The question the Buhari Media Organisation should ask their principal is: “What is he afraid of in the very progressive proposals contained in the Electoral Bill? Why does he want to frustrate the 2019 elections by denying the nation the much-needed enabling law?”
He recalled that INEC had stated that it was confident and comfortable with the thorough and transparent response by the National Assembly.