The All Progressives Congress (APC) has challenged the Federal Government to give account of its huge budgetary allocation from the Federation Account in light of the government’s poor record of development.
The party was reacting to a statement by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who called on Nigerians to hold their governors and Local Government chairmen accountable for the monthly allocation they receive from the Federation Account.
The minister, who spoke while delivering a lecture titled, “Transforming Nigeria’s Economy: Opportunities and Challenges”, at the 12th convocation ceremony of Babcock University at the weekend, asserted that the combined yearly allocation to 10 states, which she listed, was greater than the annual budgets of some African countries such as Liberia and The Gambia.
But in a statement yesterday in Lagos by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, APC noted that while Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala was right in asking Nigerians to challenge their governors to account for their monthly allocations, “such challenge should not be limited to the state governments alone”.
It said: “Yes, Nigerians should seek accountability from their state governments, but it is important to note that the biggest challenge should be directed at the Federal Government, because it takes the biggest chunk of the monthly budgetary allocations.
“While all the 36 states together collect only 26.72 per cent and all the 774 local governments collect 20.6 per cent, the Federal Government alone takes 52.68 per cent, hence it bears the greatest responsibility to Nigerians in the provision of social amenities, creation of jobs and infrastructural development
“Since Education, Agriculture and Health, for example, fall under the Concurrent List, Nigerians must – in addition to challenging their state governments – ask the Federal Government what it has done with its huge chunk of federal allocations, against the background of massive unemployment, dilapidated infrastructure and the poor health facilities that have seen public officials, including the President, scurrying to foreign hospitals for medical treatment”.
The opposition party said whatever achievements the Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government has attributed to itself since assuming office have constituted a mere tokenism compared with the quantum of funds that have accrued to it.
“It is, therefore, imperative that he who must come to equity must come with clean hands, and those who point a finger at others must realise that four others are pointing at them. It is not just enough to say certain states have received certain allocations, Nigerians also want to know how much the Federal Government has received in total till date and what it has done with it.
“The Federal Government must lead the way in ensuring accountability for the funds from the Federation Account, just as local and state governments have a responsibility for accountability”, the party said.
Mohammed warned against using such allocations as an instrument of blackmail by a non-performing Federal Government.