Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Service Matters, Chief Andrew Uchendu
By Ernest Chinwo
Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Public Service Matters, Chief Andrew Uchendu, has clarified that the House did not take any decision to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan over the non-implementation of the 2012 budget.
Uchendu made the clarifications in Port Harcourt Wednesday in a chat with journalists.
He said the need to make the position of the House clear became necessary because of the interest the issue has generated in the society and the need for Nigerians to understand the position of the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
Uchendu, who represents Ikwerre/Emohua Federal Constituency, Rivers State and a former chairman of the South-south Parliamentary Caucus, explained that the lawmakers merely told the President “’to go and implement the budget as assented by you’, if not the House would start the collation of impeachable and constitutional breeches that would lead to the impeachment of the President when we resume from recess in September.”
He said the House was provoked into taking the stand because in the course of their over-sight function, members realised that the executive had not done well in the implementation of the 2012 budget.
He explained that the lawmakers had expected that by the second half of the year, most of the projects that would have impacted positively on the lives of Nigerians should have been implemented.
According to Uchendu, “Since the budget was not being implemented accordingly, the House, as representatives of the people, cried out by calling the attention of the President to it. Therefore, he (Jonathan) should do all within his powers to ensure that the budget, as approved by the House and assented to by him, is implemented.
“We have no reasons why the budget should not be implemented because virtually all the parameters that guided the passage of that budget has been over-shot in terms of revenue projections and fund releases against the budgetary provisions.”
Indications have also emerged that political leaders in the South-south region of the country may publicly protest against Jonathan over the slow pace of work on the East-west Road that transverses the region and links it with other parts of the country.
Uchendu decried the deplorable state of the East West road which the contract was awarded since six years ago.
The lawmaker said he would join any group to protest against Jonathan if no substantial work was done on the road by the next dry season.
His words: “If by the next season, no meaningful work is done on the East-west road, I will join any group to protest against the presidency because my people are suffering, my people are very important to me.
“If there is any crime the Niger Delta people have committed, the executive should tell us because there is no reason why the people of the region or any body visiting the region should be subjected to this horrid experience. We cannot have access to our communities, our villages and towns. Look at the number of lives we lost recently at the Okogbe fire incident due to the deplorable state of the east west road.