Enugu Int’l Airport Budget Allocation Cut: Icca/umunna Blasts South-east Senators And House Members.
Toronto June 22, 2018: The Igbo Canadian Community Association (ICCA/Umunna) have described as appalling, inadequate and quite disgraceful the representation Ndigbo got from her elected legislators in the National Assembly as regards the 2018 Budget which was signed into law this week.
In a statement issued in Toronto, Canada, the President of the socio-cultural and political group, Chief Ugochukwu Okoro, said “it is either the representatives of Ndigbo have forgotten the reasons they were given their various mandates or that they are inadvertently telling the people of the South-East region that they are incompetent as they cannot provide quality representation to the people and therefore should to be relieved of the responsibility they were shouldered with.”
“It is quite unfortunate that our elected officials are exhibiting this gross neglect of their primary duties of governance and legislature that will be of benefit to the South East region and this conduct is unconscionable, selfish, crudely depressing and revealing of their incapacity to be leaders that our people put their trust in,” Okoro said.
The statement was in reaction to the details made after President Muhammadu Buhari signed the 2018 Budget into law on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 which revealed a cut in the budget allocation for the Enugu International Airport Terminal was cut from N2 billion to N500million, a startling departure from the allocation to the project maintained by the last two administrations.
Okoro said the development is very embarrassing and annoyingly provoking to hear South-East senators and House members in the National Assembly trading blames on the issue after the budget had been signed into law.
“Now they are apportioning blame and pointing fingers making us to ask what they had been doing all the while that the budget appropriation was going on; did we not have representation from the senate and house on committees that were responsible for overseeing the budget? What was the South-East caucus in the National Assembly doing? It is further incomprehensible and totally selfish if not criminal to hear the presidency allege that the National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion for 4,700 projects submitted for consideration and introduced 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion. This shows that they were more interested in introducing constituency projects from which they may benefit than pushing a collective agenda to sustain the allocation to the Akanu Ibiam International Airport.”
He continued, “It is totally unimaginable that our elected representatives will allow this painful development bearing in mind that president Buhari never hid his disdain and distorted agenda towards Ndigbo in his statement to a global audience on July 22, 2015 while addressing the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) when he said that constituents that gave him 97 per cent vote cannot be treated on some issues with constituencies that gave him 5 %. It is totally repulsive, indignant and shameful that Ndigbo, even with one of their son occupying the position of Deputy Senate President in the Senate, could allow this indignity happen to the people of the South East.”
The ICCA/Umunna stated that as an organization established in 1969, it will, going forward, work with their members, NGOS and law enforcement agencies both in Nigeria and in Diaspora to follow the constituency projects with a view to ensure accountability and prevent “White Elephants” in the name of constituency projects.
“We want to use this medium to let our elected representatives to sit up and give Ndigbo quality representation or risk their mandate not being renewed because come 2019 performance reports of each and every Member of Parliament will be disclosed and used to create awareness to the South East electorate. Let them know that incompetence, nepotism, favoritism or Godfatherism will be annihilated in Igbo land. This particular incident will be among the query we will issue on them when they come seeking for votes and we will name and shame any of our elected official that engages in constituency project fraud because it is time Ndigbo benefits as a people and not the individual tendencies we have observed in the past. Let our elected Senators and House of Representatives members consider this as a wake-up call.