The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Thursday warned against using the current budget padding crisis in the House of Representatives to weaken the leadership of the National Assembly or settle political scores.
In a statement issued by its president, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the congress said the current controversy is evidence of weakness in the nation’s budgeting system, which shows that projects are not conceived and implemented based on the needs of the people, but those behind the projects.
It said rather than go after individuals, government should do a soul searching and x-ray the nation’s budgeting system that has failed to address the needs of the people.
The statement reads: “The ongoing controversy over the padding of the 2016 budget is an incontrovertible evidence of the inherent weaknesses in our budgeting process and accordingly underscores the need for a thorough revisit.
“It also reveals the imperfections and the distrust in project identification and implementation system and consequent failure of the present model of capital budgeting without a developmental framework. It shows that projects are not implemented according to needs-value or priority but who is behind which.
“In light of the foregoing, we wish to state that instead of going after individuals, government should do a soul-search as well as x-ray a budgeting system that fails to address the needs of the people.
“We caution against the use of the present development to settle political scores or unduly weaken the National Assembly.
“A strong National Assembly is a necessity for a vibrant democracy. We urge Nigerians to be slow to anger in matters of this nature even as they have little or no reason to be too trusting of any political office holder, so that in the end, they do not end up victims of other peoples’ wars.
“Even as vitriol and bile have risen, it is important to distinguish between genuine and phony constituency projects, for in truth, constituency projects are obligations owed constituents by parliamentarians.
“Finally, we call for caution, because how the issues in contention are resolved will shape the direction of our democracy; deepen or weaken it. Equally important is the fact that it avails us an opportunity to revisit our budgetary system and the need for development planning”.