– By Dennis Agbo
– Governors of the South-Eastern states have lampooned the Federal Government on implementation of projects in the zone, saying the centre has short-changed states in the region in the implementation of capital projects in the 2017 budget.
But the Federal Government was quick to rebut this as both the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and his Power, works and Housing counterpart, Babatunde Fashola, said it was an unfortunate claim from governors who are aware of government’s intervention in the region.
This is even as the Senate alleged that the major cause of the friction between it and the Executive arm was the funding of projects, mostly constituency projects, since the National Assembly appropriated funds for them.
The South East governors said they were interested in the 2017 approved budget because it was linked with the 2017-2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan of the present administration.
The governors bared their minds through the Director General of South-East Governors Forum, Prof. Simon Otuanya, who presented a monitoring report on performance of the 2017 federal capital budget in the South East.
Otunaya said: “The capital projects implementation in 2017 did not fare well at all in South East states.
“The roads have remained impassable and so the Federal Government should please do better in 2018 and we hope that the Federal Government will make the improvement.”
Why budgets don’t perform — Abaribe
Speaking in the same forum, South-East Senate Caucus Leader, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, stated: “Our major challenge in the National Assembly is the fight with the Executive arm on zonal intervention projects.”
He noted that the reason budgets don’t perform was the fact that “there is a mismatch of the needs of the people to what somebody else wants, just to impress somebody else.”
Abaribe said the report was necessary to show the world that the National Assembly members put in enough effort in oversight of the implementation of projects.
He also noted that South-East senators were united on one purpose which was reason Senator Ike Ekweremadu had remained as the Deputy Senate President for some time.
“I was approached to topple Ekweremadu but I told them that such was not the reason we went to Senate, to struggle for leadership,” he said.
Abaribe challenged the state governments to first show good governance before criticizing the Federal Government.