Wednesday, June 17, 2015

469 NASS members have five aides each – Deputy Speaker

ABUJA – DEPUTY Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yussuf, yesterday said that there will be no amount of pressure that would make him resign his position as the Deputy Speaker.

Fielding question from journalists in Abuja yesterday, on the alleged pressure on him to step down from his position by some All Progressives Congress, APC, Chieftains, following the controversy trailing the election of the presiding officers of the 8th assembly, Hon. Yussuf said his election followed due process, hence, there was no way he would ever contemplate to resign.

Some of the APC Chieftains it was gathered had wanted him to step down for Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the choice of the party who had lost the Speakership seat to Hon. Dogara for the Deputy position.

Describing the alleged pressure to resign as speculations, he said, “why will I resign, I went through an election.”

He also explained that the speculation that the National Assembly takes a good chunk of the national budget, was unfounded, noting that out of the previous budgetary allocation of N150 billion, only N120 billion was budgeted in the 2015 appropriation.

Besides, he said that from the budget, the aides of the Senators and House of Representatives members, technocrats and their staff as well as the staff of the National Assembly Commission are paid.

He said, “when you talk about salary, it has to be tied to something. Let me tell you this, for the last three years with the exception of 2015, the budget of the national Assembly has been N150 billion and that is exactly 2.67 percent of the total budget of the federation.

“So, I don’t know where people see this to say it is 25 percent of the budget of the National Assembly. The budget of the National Assembly is 2.6 percent of the entire budget of the country and so it is not overblown.

“And people have forgotten too that there are 469 members of the National Assembly with each of the member with five aides that would be paid from the N150 billion.

“We have the National Assembly technocrats and their staffers and the National Assembly commission – all of them earn their salaries and allowances from these N150 billion.

“So, when people talk they always think that it is the House of Representatives members and senators that collect the N150 billion. And again don’t forget that for 2015 budget, the money has been reduced to N120 billion.

“So, when you do the calculation, that is why the Dogara speakership in the last one week has repeatedly said, he is going to do a needs assessment, that he is going to engage development partners to actually sit down and see what it takes for the national Assembly to be run as an arm of government.

“And you might be surprised that we have reasons for doing that because we can compare with other legislative bodies all over the world but it is not going to come from us, it is going to come from the body that would sit on the issue.”


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