As Nigerians continue to wonder about the fate of the 2017 Appropriation Bill that was passed by the National Assembly, if the Bill gets to the Presidency for assent; a federal lawmaker has disclosed that, there was no room for anxiety in the first place, as the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo had the powers to sign the budget.
The National Assembly had on Thursday, passed the 2017 Appropriation Bill, waiting to be transmitted to the President for his assent.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari left the shores of the country, Sunday, last week, with the instruction that the Vice President, Osinbajo, should “coordinate the activities of the Government”, instead of handling over power to him as Acting President, as he had done in the past.
This had elicited alot of anxieties, with many holding that, the Vice President needed a power of a President to perform such a delicate function as signing the budget of the federation.
Speaking to Journalists at the weekend in Abuja, member representing Makurdi/Guma federal constituency at the House of Representatives, Hon. Dickson Tarkighir, said relevant sections had provided for the Vice President, Osinbajo, to perform the functions of the President, if he is away.
Tarkighir, who is also a Member of the House Committee on Appropriation, said, even if Nigerians noticed any ambiguity in the letter transmitted to the National Assembly, there was no ambiguity in the provision of the 1999 constitution on the functions of an Acting President.
He said, “chapter 6, section 145 of the constitution says, since the President has transmitted to the National Assembly about his medical leave, the Vice President has automatically become the Acting President.
“There is no ambiguity in the letters and the spirit of that section of the constitution. The Vice President automatically steps in as the Acting President and he can do what the President should do”.
When asked if projects were allocated to his constituency in the proposed budget, the Lawmaker said the people should be hopeful of better days if the budget is fully implemented, adding that, “We represent the people, we know their challenges”.
Hon. Tarkighir, however, bemoaned the near neglect of his constituency by the federal government in the preceding years, saying that, the only federal presence in his constituency was projects he was able to influence in the budget, last years.