Nigeria President Bola Tinubu arrives for the closing session of the New Global Financial Pact Summit, on June 23, 2023 in Paris. (Photo by Lewis Joly / POOL / AFP) (Photo by LEWIS JOLY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The term budget padding is a concept many Nigerians were unaware of until now.

On Saturday, March 9, 2024, Senator Abdul Ningi, a PDP party member from Bauchi Central, blew the whistle on budget padding by the National Assembly during his interview with BBC News. Indeed, a review of the previous budget showed that about fifty-three billion naira worth of projects were either vague, undescriptive, or unaccounted for. To all and sundry, it seemed that the political martyr Senator Ningi was right after all.

But what is the Presidency’s view on the matter, and what does this mean for the various arms of government? Read more to find out.

President Tinubu Speaks on Budget Padding Allegations

Amidst recent allegations of budget padding, President Bola Tinubu assured the 10th Senate leadership on Thursday that the National Assembly’s integrity is untainted.

He adds that his administration will always support collaboration between the executive and judicial branches for the benefit of the country. In his response to the shocking accusations, He said:

“I know the arithmetic of the budget and the numbers that I brought to the National Assembly, and I know what numbers came back.

“I appreciate all of you for the expeditious handling of the budget. Thank you very much.

“Those who are talking about malicious embellishment in the budget; they did not understand the arithmetic and did not refer to the baseline of what I brought. But your integrity is intact.”

“The natural challenge we are facing will be over. On the current economic difficulty, we are about turning the corner.

“Our revenue has improved. All we have to do is to control expenditures and manage ourselves better.

“Light is at the end of the tunnel, and Nigerians will soon smile again,”

This was stated by Tinubu during a meal he held for the Senate leadership at the State House in Abuja to break the Ramadan fast.

How Nigerians reacted to the Rumors

While a majority of Nigerians express gratitude for the exposure of clandestine political activities such as budget padding, a great number of people question Senator Ningi’s motives for such a righteous move. Identically, the last time anyone questioned the national budget was in 2018, when former president Buhari accused the National Assembly of cutting essential projects and inserting non-essential ones. An arm of government that Senator Ningi was a part of as well. Therefore, It is obvious why there seems to be an underlying motive that may not be as selfless as we think.

But one thing that we can all agree on as a nation is that the sanitization of the Nigerian budget system is long overdue.

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