The Minister of Power, Work and Housing, Babatunde Fashola has knocked the chairman Senate committee on Appropriations, Danjuma Goje for asking him to quit if the job was overwhelming.
In a statement signed on Thursday from Zimbabwe, Fashola said the Senator’s utterances were “unparliamentary and therefore not deserving of a reply.”
He added that the senator was attempting to trivialise important issues he has raised, while stating that his response was to refocus attention on the issues at stake.
The minister said, “In this context, it is left for Nigerians to then decide whether budgeting for constituency roads is more patriotic than budgeting to complete the Kano-Maiduguri Road that connects five states, the Lagos-Ibadan Road that connects three states and helps to move food, imported goods and fuel across the country; or the second Niger Bridge that connects the South-East and the South-West geopolitical zones of at least 11 states together.
“I will also leave Nigerians to judge whether it is more patriotic to budget for the Mambilla Power Project that will contribute to more power supply across Nigeria or reduce the budget to build street lights in legislative constituencies.”
He advised Goje to acquire the temperament needed for debates and disagreements in a parliament.
He said, “Let me reiterate that I see parliament as a house where very vigorous debates about development should take place and it is important for Goje to acquire the temperament of debate and disagreement.”
Fashola added that Goje’s statement that he should behave like a ‘minister’ was ‘unparliamentary’.
“I think first that the language is unparliamentary and therefore not deserving of a reply.”
The minister urged those who had just transited from the executive arm to the legislative arm to be cautious.
“It seems that it is such people who need a behavioural prescription about legislative function,” Fashola said.
The minister said he spoke out because he needed a good budget to do his work.
“I need a better budget as a tool to do my work and that is why l am speaking out,” he said.