Why Osinbajo should not sign the 2017 budget – Civil rights lawyer

A lawyer and pro-democracy activist, Tunji Abayomi, has warned the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, not to sign the 2017 budget, saying the figures of the said budget was increased by the National Assembly. 

According to Sahara Reporters, Abayomi, said this in a letter, dated May 23, describing the NASS decision to increase the 2017 budget as unconstitutional.

“It is emphatically the prerogative of the President to manage the national economy, to determine how much money he needs to carry out the execution of the economic ends of his administration, which he has the duty only to determine. The President owes a duty in keeping with the sacred authority presumed to be given to him by the Constitution to execute the Constitution and laws to ensure that national powers are not unduly centralised or accumulated in the legislature or fragmented to the detriment of other powers,” wrote Abayomi.

He stated the NASS had no right to make a budget, but approve the budget. 

“For example, the President’s budget may be placed on rational national income estimate outside the consideration or contemplation of the legislature, in which case, the increase initiated by the National Assembly exceeds rational budget ceiling based on national income. Any increase by the National Assembly will often amount to subversion of presidential expenditure power and, accordingly, will be in excess of legislative responsibility,” he argued.

“The legislature that is inaugurated by the constitution to approve the heads of expenditure contained in the estimates in our national budget is not meant and ought not to be a master of the Executive. Its responsibility is to make laws, not expenditures or other executive decisions. It is the President, as head of the national administration, with exclusive national constituency power of the Republic as Chief Executive Officer, that is required to lay his expenditures and purposes thereof, before the National Assembly for approval, not for inclusions or additions. The legislature must approve, but not without input,” Abayomi maintained.

“First, it can refuse to pass the budget until its interest is affirmed therein by the Executive, but not the legislature itself. Second, it can forward to the Executive its preferred interests, specifically requesting from the Executive some accommodation within the budget,” he submitted.

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