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You can’t budget for this type of embarrassment

Just when you think the National Assembly can’t embarrass Nigeria any further, they go and outdo themselves.

There were reports in the media that the budget for 2016 presented to National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari had gone “missing”. It wasn’t quite clear whether this meant that a printed copy of the document was missing. If that were the case, surely the presidency and the ministry of budget and national planning can easily provide another copy.

Some conspiracy theorists, seeking to add fuel to earlier rumours that Buhari had “withdrawn” the budget to allegedly correct errors in it, claimed that the budget had been “stolen” from the National Assembly.

There were several official denials and very little clarification on what was missing or not missing. The Senate President Bukola Saraki then first stated that nothing was missing. He contradicted himself later today by setting up a “committee” to look into whether the budget document was missing or not.

Ali Ndume: missing or not missing?
Ali Ndume: missing or not missing?

The Senate Majority Leader Ali Ndume continued today to claim that nothing was missing. The Speaker of the House of Representatives also claimed that he “was not aware” that the document was missing. In the meantime, the “search committee” for the budget is meant to report to the Senate in a “closed door” session tomorrow.

One theory holds that a copy of the budget or copies was/were handed over to the Clerk of the Senate after the president’s presentation and this was meant to be printed and distributed to members. As they are yet to receive their copies, some members have cried foul.

There is no accounting for this type of incompetence. Nigeria would be better off if the entire National Assembly went missing.

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