Nnamani: It’s Unconstitutional for Lawmakers to Execute Constituency Projects

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Bassey Inyang in Calabar
Former President of the Senate, Senator Ken Nnamani, on Tuesday stated that it was wrong for lawmakers to be directly involved in the execution of constituency projects.
In Nnamani’s view the execution of projects as prescribed by the Nigerian constitution is the function of the executive arm of government.

Speaking during a recent interview with journalists in Calabar on the relationship between the executive and the legislature in the country, the former senate president said: “If lawmakers are involved in the execution of constituency projects; in my view, it is wrong.

“They are not supposed to do that, it is for the executive to do that. You cannot be competing with your governor in the state on building of roads. That is not your role. Where did you get the budget to do that? Are you the executive? You are a legislator. You have a limited income. You are there to make laws and carry out oversight functions, screening of ministers and other things. There are basic roles defined in the constitution. For somebody to say that he is building this, executing that, as what, from where is that money coming from?”

He pointed out that since the executive and the legislature are organs of the same government, the process of budget making provides a co-relationship for government to make the budget in the interest of the nation.

Apparently referring to the understanding of the principle of co-relationship in budget making between the executive and the legislature, Nnamani said during the tenure of President Olusegun Obasanjo, when he was the senate president, the budget was passed for two consecutive years before the Christmas holiday in December.

He stated that what should be paramount in the consideration of both arms of government is service to the people because time is of essence to anybody who occupies public office.
Nnamani, who said he was very much in support of the anti-corruption crusade of the regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, however, observed that the real effect was yet to be felt because no convictions have been made.

The former senate president said the war has been more of prosecutions, with very long litigations that were yet to produce any well known convict.
He suggested that the anti-graft bodies should be more circumspect by prosecuting cases that are easy to prove in court.

“I thought that by now, we should have had at least two or three heavy weights wearing white and white in Kirikiri Prison as examples. Take the major key guys that their cases are easy to prove, even if it means trying them daily, and after they are found guilty, you take them straight to jail, seize everything they have acquired illegally,” Nnamani said.