The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Ita Enang, has retracted his earlier comments that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo cannot sign the 2017 budget.
Enang told State House correspondents that the Acting President has the constitutional power to assent to the bill once he is satisfied with the content, shortly after he presented the budget to Osinbajo.
He recalled that Osinbajo had in February during President Muhammadu Buhari’s first medical vacation of the year signed some bills into law in his capacity as the Acting President.
While saying there is a window of 30 days within which the document can either be signed or returned to the National Assembly, Enang said it would be difficult as of now to say when the document would be signed into law.
The presidential aide said, “The budget as passed by the National Assembly has just been transmitted to the Acting President. I just delivered it.
“Let me use this opportunity to clarify an issue. The Acting President has the power to assent to the budget and he will assent to it when the processes are completed.
“The Acting President has the power to assent to the budget. In February, he assented to seven or eight bills. Those that he didn’t agree with, he wrote the Senate and House of Representatives that he had withheld his assent from them.
“He has the power of the President to assent to it. But the assent to the Appropriation Bill will be after the completion of the standard operation process. The bill has 30 days to which it will be assented to but the process can be completed within two or three days.
“So, it is not possible to say it will be assented to in so, so and so day or in two or three days. It is upon the completion of the process that it will be assented to by the President and the President here now is the Acting President.”