Group lambasts South East NASS members over budget cut
A non-governmental organization, Igbo Canadian Community Association (ICCA/Umunna) has criticized southeast National Assembly members over the weak representation of Igbo projects in the 2018 Budget signed into law this week.
In a statement issued yesterday, the President of the group, Chief Ugochukwu Okoro said that the budget allocation for the Enugu International Airport Terminal was cut from N2 billion to N500million, a startling departure from the allocation to the project maintained by the last two administrations.
“It is quite unfortunate that our elected officials are exhibiting this gross neglect of their primary duties of governance and legislature that will be of benefit to the South East region and this conduct is unconscionable, selfish, crudely depressing and revealing of their incapacity to be leaders that our people put their trust in.”
“Now they are apportioning blame and pointing fingers making us to ask what they had been doing all the while that the budget appropriation was going on; did we not have representation from the senate and house on committees that were responsible for overseeing the budget? What was the South-East caucus in the National Assembly doing?
Okoro noted that the National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion for 4,700 projects submitted for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion. This shows that they were more interested in introducing constituency projects from which they may benefit than pushing a collective agenda to sustain the allocation to the Akanu Ibiam International Airport.
He described this disposition as unimaginable that “elected representatives will allow this painful development bearing in mind that president Buhari never hid his disdain and distorted agenda towards Ndigbo in his statement to a global audience on July 22, 2015 while addressing the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) when he said that constituents who gave him 97 per cent vote cannot be treated on some issues with constituencies that gave him 5 per cent.
“It is totally repulsive, indignant and shameful that Ndigbo, even with one of their sons occupying the position of Deputy Senate President in the Senate, could allow this indignity happen to the people of the South East.
“We want to use this medium to let our elected representatives sit up and give Ndigbo quality representation or risk their mandate not being renewed because come 2019 performance reports of each and every member of parliament will be disclosed and used to create awareness to the South East electorate.
“Let them know that incompetence, nepotism, favoritism or god-fatherism will be annihilated in Igbo land. This particular incident will be among the query we will issue on them when they come seeking for votes and we will name and shame any of our elected official that engages in constituency project fraud because it is time Ndigbo benefitted as a people and not the individual tendencies we have observed in the past. Let our elected Senators and House of Representatives members consider this as a wake-up call,” he added.
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