Why Constituency Projects Are A Must – Dogara

Yakubu DogaraSpeaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has explained that constituency projects are the only way through which Nigerian lawmakers can attract federal presence to their constituencies.
The Speaker said without constituency projects, majority of Nigeria’s 360 federal constituencies and 109 senatorial districts would not be able to boast of any federal project due to what he termed “lopsided nature of project allocation” in the budget.
The 2016 budget for instance, contains N100 billion appropriated for constituency projects.
The projects were initiated in 2004 by the federal government to foster cordial relationship between the Executive and Legislature.
The projects get appropriations under the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, after recommendations by the lawmakers.
As at 2014, a total sum of N900 billion has so far been appropriated for constituency projects amid allegations of non-execution of projects by cross-section of Nigerians after the lawmakers might have collected the contract sums from the MDAs and awarded same to companies in which they have interests.
Speaking on Saturday in Billiri town, Gombe State at the “empowerment programme” organised by the member representing Balanga/Billiri federal constituency, Ali Isa, Mr. Dogara defended constituency projects, saying it was the only way through which fairness in governance can be achieved.
The Speaker opined that “although it is not the responsibility of lawmakers to provide some of the things people request from them, it is in the realisation of the fact that conditions are hard for the people, and because service to humanity is at the centre of the representation that we do”.
He also said but for the instrumentality of the zonal intervention that lawmakers have in the federal budget, it would have been “absolutely difficult, if not impossible, for the Honourable members to provide the things they do and even train some of their constituents”.
“The only way through which we can maintain fairness in governance, fairness across the length and breadth of this country is by patronizing federal constituencies, when you patronize federal constituencies you have touched every nook and corner of Nigeria and that is why we will continue as leaders to ensure that we have programmes in governance that touches directly on constituencies of this country”, Speaker Dogara added.
Our correspondent reports that the Speaker’s comments came on the heels of a bill sponsored by Hon. Solomon Adaelu (Abia/PDP) seeking the statutory provision of 2.5 per cent of annual budgets for constituency development projects, which scaled second reading in the lower legislative chamber last week.

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