The Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has described news reports credited to him as replying former President Olusegun Obasanjo on issues of corruption as mere mischief, misrepresentation and undue sensationalism.
Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said he was misquoted on the remarks he made while inaugurating the Senate Press corps last Tuesday.
He said he was only asked two questions during the event, both of which he said centered on the 2016 budget.
The first question, he said centered on how realistic the budget proposal under consideration is, in view of dwindling oil price and the other on whether the details of the Senate Budget will be made open, particularly in view of the letter by President Obasanjo.
“The Senate President’s answer on the first question was that the success of the 2016 will depend less on oil price but more on the non-oil and independent revenue and that that is why the Senate will lay emphasis on the scrutiny of these areas as well as ensure that leakages are blocked so that the budget can be realized without any hitch.
“On the second question, he reiterated his earlier position that the Senate budget will no longer be a one-line item.
He said details of the budget of the National Assembly would be provided for all to see.
According to Olaniyonu, the Senate President wanted “Nigerians to realize that mistakes had been made by all stakeholders in the past and that we should all move forward by ensuring those mistakes are not repeated.
“In fact his position that mistakes had been made by all of us in the past was a reference to all stakeholders like political office holders, the media, civil society, professional and business groups, among others.
“Saraki will like to maintain his earlier position that he will only write a formal letter to President Obasanjo to explain all the efforts the Eight Senate has been making to address some of the issues the former President raised in his letter to him.
“The Senate President will not use any public event or the media to give any direct or indirect response to the legitimate points raised by the elder statesman and father of the nation.
“The Senate President further urged the media to refrain from sensationalism which leads to twisting and misrepresentation of the position of public officers and therefore further create unnecessary tension in the polity.
“The urge to sell newspapers should not override the need for ethical standard and accuracy in presentation of news to be maintained. The media should equally be sensitive to other people’s feelings”, he stated.