ANPP National Publicity Secretary, Chief Emma Eneukwu
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo
The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has asked President Goodluck Jonathan to take action against the deep-seated corruption in Federal Government's project implementation.
The party said rather than lamenting about high cost of projects, the President should match his words with action by putting a stop to the culture of impunity plaguing our system.
President Goodluck Jonathan had on Tuesday, during the 21st Assembly of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria [COREN], in Abuja warned government contractors to improve on the quality of their work or risk being blacklisted. The President lamented over the quality of work being done by contractors and the high cost of projects in the country.
Jonathan also directed the Economic Management Team headed by the Coordinating Minister of Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr [Mrs] Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, to find solution to the malaise of high cost of projects in the country.
In a statement issued on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Emma Eneukwu, the party said it has received with interest the concern shown by President Jonathan over corruption in Government's project execution which has led to huge losses in public fund.
"We believe that the wealth of this great nation is frittered away on a daily basis through deep-seated corruption which finds its throne in inflated government contracts; therefore it is a good sign that Mr President has woken up to this reality," he said.
He said any pronouncement and plans in the direction of reducing the cost of projects in Nigeria that does not deal with the fundamental issue of culture of impunity amounts to mere lip service and playing to the gallery.
According to Eneukwu, cost of projects in Nigeria is the highest in sub-Saharan Africa because the people in government collude with contractors to pad the cost, without fear of any punishment whatsoever.
The ANPP spokesman regretted that the 13 years of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] rule has witnessed high level of corruption by government functionaries and contractors.
"All that is in governance is ‘share the money’ without any fear of the big stick from the government. Roads are constructed to be washed away in a matter of months without appropriate authorities punishing the contractors; substandard products are procured at exorbitant prices without an eyebrow raised.
"We were all witnesses to the discovery of the rot in the power sector contracts under the last regime – almost a trillion naira of citizens’ money was wasted in power contracts, committees were set up, and everything was later swept under the carpet. The masses are suffering everyday because of the mis-governance perpetrated by the government of the day.
"The ANPP therefore calls on President Goodluck Jonathan to allow the Judiciary and the Legislature to be effective arms of government whose fundamental duties are to check the excesses of the Executive and its machinery and in so doing disperse the spirit of impunity that has suffused the government.
"We also call on the National Assembly to consider more strident checks against government and public officers’ interference in procurements, in the ongoing constitutional amendment. We hope that the spirit of transparency, accountability and probity introduced by the honourable action of the former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, sprouts into a veritable new fruit of responsibility and discipline in the service life of our public officers, he added.