National Publicity Secretary, Chief Emma Eneukwu
Describes N 2.2bn banquet hall as frivolous
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) has urged the National Assembly to consider an amendment to the law establishing the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) to empower it to make public disclosure of asset declarations of the President and other public officers in the country.
The party while deploring Federal Government’s disposition towards prudent management of resources, expressed concern over a proposal to embark on the building of a new Banquet Hall in the Presidential Villa at the cost of N2.2 billion.
In a statement issued Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Emma Eneukwu, the party expressed worry at the inability of the CCB to subject President Goodluck Jonathan’s asset declaration to public scrutiny.
“ANPP wishes to use this opportunity to call on the National Assembly to amend the constitution in order to legally mandate the CCB to disclose the declared assets of President Jonathan and other public officers, considering that the Chairman of the Bureau, Mr Sam Saba, on Tuesday blamed the bureau‘s inability to publicly reveal the assets declared by the President and others on constitutional constraints.
Eneukwu said ANPP believed that it was in the interest of the nation if public declaration of the assets by the number one citizen is guaranteed in the constitution, adding that the practice will go a long way in regaining the fast-waning confidence of the people on the leadership of the country.
In the same vein, the ANPP’s spokesman faulted the approval granted by the Federal Executive Council for the construction of a new banquet hall in the Presidential Villa, to the tune of N 2.2billion.
He described the reasons given for the project was as absurd and unnecessary. According to Eneukwu, the minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Senator Bala Muhammed, had said that the existing hall was inconveniencing and not befitting of Presidential residence of a country like Nigeria.
He said another excuse given was that the existing hall ws too far from the offices and residence of the President at a distance of two kilometers.
Eneukwu said the claim on the distance of the existing hall could not be justified as people who know the terrain have affirmed that the said distance is actually not up to a kilometer.
“To be candid, it is horrifying and heartbreaking to see the leader of our great nation vividly exhibit the habits depicted in the epic allegorical novella by George Orwell when the misruling pigs, led by Napoleon, declared ‘All animals are equal; but some are more equal than others.’
“How else can one view this new building project against the backdrop of the words of President Jonathan last year at the inauguration of the National Economic Council (NEC) when he told his country men and women to brace up for some level of hardships as he implements his administration’s transformation agenda. He was quoted as saying that any meaningful transformation or reformation goes with some form of inconveniences, which are temporary.
“Our great party can only conclude by the sheer contradictions between his words and his actions that either he brazenly misleads the citizenry, or he is highly incompetent to lead a nation like ours in these trying times. Has the President forgotten the words he uttered thus, ‘Let us all work together and see that we bear this little pain and transform our country so that we have hope for the future generation,” he said.
Eneukwu wondered why the president cannot endure making the little distance between his office and the Presidential Banquet Hall.
“Can’t he make-do with the so-called inconveniences of the present Banquet Hall, built just in 2003 and constantly renovated, until the economy improves, as he constantly admonishes us? Doesn’t he realise that body language can be disastrous when it is misread, misunderstood, and misapplied, especially by a suffering and disillusioned people?
“What is more, we are reminded of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor’s admonition to the nation on Monday when he advised the government to fire half of the civil service in order to save cost. We wonder which one is a better strategy to save more money for the federation: taking away food from the mouths of Nigerian workers and their families, or taking away frivolous services and needless projects from the budget, like the planned new Banquet Hall by the government, “ he said.