Varsity teachers, envoy ask Buhari, APC to tackle budget padding
Symposium calls for sovereign national confab, devolution of power to councils
Some prominent university lecturers and an envoy have criticised the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) over its perceived laid-back attitude to ‘budget padding,’ which they described as serious corruption that must be stopped.
The academics, including Professor Kolawole Adebayo of Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Dr. Dele Ashiru and Yomi Akinyeye of University of Lagos, Ambassador Gani Lawal and APC chieftain, Tunde Temionu, among others, also urged Nigerians not to relax thinking that the fight against corruption, especially padding was the sole responsibility of government.
The teachers’ spoke in Lagos at a symposium, a yearly event organised by Temionu to brainstorm on the state of the nation. Yesterday’s event focused on “Padding: The Adverse Syndrome Propelling Nigeria’s Economy Astern.”
Ashiru, of the Department of Political Science described padding as a serious form of corruption that has been in Nigeria for long before it was exposed during the 2016 budget has created wild discontent of the states.
According to the don: “Padding had encouraged armed bandits to have the effrontery now to challenge the authority of the state. That is why we have Boko Haram insurgents, Niger Delta militants, IPOB due to deliberate and criminal neglect of the need of the minorities and the masses by the political class.”
Ashiru noted that when the fiscal paper is padded and excess or extra pocketed by a few to the detriment of the larger society, people are bound to resist.
He, therefore, urged the ruling party to address the issue of the 2016 budget padding quickly. He noted that that padding had created structural imbalances in the federation and therefore agitation for resource control.
To resolve the problem, which he described as the highest form of corruption, Ashiru suggested that the structure of Nigeria as it is constituted today must be revisited with the aim of devolving power to the local government.
He said a sovereign national conference, which must not have ‘no-go areas,’ must be convoked. “APC will not change Nigeria; it is only Nigerians that can rescue this nation,” he maintained.
Adebayo said to tackle the challenges of padding, the country must revisit the content of its electoral system, which had allowed room for the dictatorship of the few and to ensure the sanctity of the constitution. “It is the people that paid the political elite to deprive the nation of its right.”
Describing padding as criminal dishonesty,Lawal said, “As long as politicians believe that getting to public office is to enrich their pockets the crisis of padding would continue.
He stressed that unless we all fight corruption it would destroy the nation and when that is done we are all going to be destroyed.
Lawal stated that the time has now come for padding to be brought into the open “Budget padding had thrived due to official complacency,” he added.
Temionu advocated for a more transparent budget process. He said there should be more stakeholders monitoring and implementation process and the need to do budget evaluation and performance before proposing another one.