(Magnus Eze, ABUJA)
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has warned against using the current controversy over the padding of the 2016 budget to settle political scores, even as it described the messy revelations as incontrovertible evidence of the inherent weaknesses in the budgetary process.
The union said that the dispute has unearthed the imperfections and distrust in project identification, siting and implementation systems as well as the failure of the present model of capital budgeting without a development plan framework.
NLC President, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, stated this in a statement in Abuja. He decried that projects were not implemented according to needs-value or priority but based on vested interests.
NLC advised that instead of merely going after individuals allegedly involved, government should also do a thorough review of the budgeting system that has failed to address the needs of the Nigerian people.
“We caution against the use of the present development to settle political scores or [to] 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,” Wabba stated.
He noted that constituency projects were obligations owed constituents by legislators, adding that it was necessary to distinguish between genuine and phony constituency projects.
The NLC President reasoned that how the issues in contention are resolved will shape the direction of the nation’s democracy.