The Senate on Wednesday accused the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), of misleading the public and blackmailing it over the manipulations made by the lawmakers in the 2017 Appropriation Act.
The upper chamber, however, said it would await the outcome of the House of Representatives’ action on the issue before the Senate could take any action against Fashola.
At the plenary, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Danjuma Goje, raised a point of order to criticise Fashola and asked the minister to resign his appointment if he was overwhelmed by the volume of work at his ministry.
He said, “Initially, I wanted to come under a motion but, yesterday (Tuesday), the House of Representatives took up the matter. Since we are on the same page with the House, I feel I should not come under a motion. But I will like to seize this opportunity to advise the minister that he should remember that he is now a minister and should behave like a minister.
“He is not a governor (anymore) and this National Assembly is not the Lagos State House of Assembly. This is an Assembly composed of very patriotic Nigerians, very experienced Nigerians; many had done his job; many were governors before him.”
But the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, interrupted Goje, saying, “Senator Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central), you are not paying attention to this matter.”
Goje continued, “Fashola should know that he is dealing with the National Assembly of Nigeria, not of Lagos. If the job is too much for him – the ministry is too big; it comprises three ministries, which are works, housing and power; if he cannot adjust, then, he should do the honourable thing. He should so the needful.
“No amount of blackmail by him; no amount of propaganda by him or his surrogates will stop this National Assembly from discharging its duties in accordance with the provisions of the constitution. We have sworn to uphold and protect this constitution and this we will do to the end of this Assembly.
“For now, I will cease fire and watch to see how the House will handle him. If he is well handled there, we will leave him with them. But if we are not satisfied and they pass him to us, then, we will take him over.”
Saraki, in his remarks, said the Senate would see how the House of Representatives would handle the matter before taking further action.
“I am happy that the House of Representatives are also taking up this issue. It is a matter that we must be responsible with, especially those at the (executive) cabinet to look at issues from a national point of view in the interest of all Nigerians.” (PUNCH)