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By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor
The decision of the Brazilian Senate to remove President Dilma Rousseff from office has been largely clouded in controversy. All around the world, many people who had been hooked by the romantic progress of the one-time political activist through her years of class struggle to her dramatic ascension to the presidency would have been stupefied.
All that came to an end on Wednesday after the country’s Senate voted by more than two-thirds majority to remove her from office following her impeachment trial. Ms. Rousseff was the first female president of the country who was helped to power on the goodwill of her long time political benefactor and mentor, Lula da Silva on the platform of the left of centre Workers Party.
The removal of the president has largely been reported to be on the basis of corruption allegations, two central acts being the Mensalao scandal and the Operation Car Wash. However, the sentiment against her had earlier been built on alleged violations of the budget of the country as passed by the parliament.
In the main, the allegations against her are that she disregarded the federal budget and the Fiscal Responsibility Laws of the country. In the main, that she did not implement the budget as was processed by the country’s legislature.
The indictment and impeachment of Rousseff bear some striking cord among advocates of strict implementation of the constitution in the relationship between the legislative and executive arms of government in Nigeria on the matter of the budget.
The crisis arising from the alleged budget padding in Nigeria has mainly centred on the allegation that the National Assembly added projects or money to projects as originally proposed by the presidency. In the opinion of some people, surprisingly including some lawyers, the legislature should not tamper with the budget as presented by the executive arm of government.
Even more, the budget padding controversy has even been escalated to the question of the level of implementation as some now also claim that the president is not bound to implement the budget as passed by the National Assembly. Remarkably, one of the major issues between Rousseff and the Senate was the allegation of her manipulation of the budget.
That Nigerian presidents since the advent of the Fourth Republic have over time manipulated the budget or as they deemed fit is a fact that cannot be overstated. The development in Brazil is a fitting reminder to many Nigerians who had believed that the declarations of the executive are inviolable in parliament.
As Mr. Eseme Eyiboh, the dean of The Initiatives, the capacity building forum of serving and former lawmakers, told this correspondent the happening in Brazil show the strength of the institutions in that country. The fights between National Assembly leaders and their governors
That there is no love lost between Speaker Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives and his home governor, Alhaji Mohammed Abubakar is no longer news in the country. Speaker Dogara had a week ago led senior legislators from the state and the minister of education, Adamu Adamu to protest against the misuse of the bailout funds by the governor at the national secretariat of their party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.
The governor on Thursday rebuffed the claim during a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari during which time he for the first time opened up on what many had known; that he was against the election of Dogara as speaker.
His assertion was not really surprising and flows from the long history of mutual suspicion between governors and their legislators who aspire to become presiding officers of the National Assembly.
Examples of such conflicts include the face-off between Senate President Anyim Pius Anyim and Governor Sam Egwu; Senate President Adolphus Wabara and Governor Orji Uzor Kalu; Speaker Aminu Masari and Governor Umaru Yar‘adua; Senate President Ken Nnamani and Governor Chimaroke Nnamani; Speaker Dimeji Bankole and Governor Gbenga Daniel.
There were very few exceptions, the most outstanding being the chummy relationship between Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and Governor Aliyu Wamakko. Whether the relationship between Dogara and Governor Abubakar would end up on a sour note would depend on how the two men allow themselves to be pushed by their palace hangers-on.
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