Sometimes one wonders why there is such fuss and controversy over something as simple as a constituency project in Nigeria. Back then, while top officials of the moribund Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Office were tussling with members of the National Assembly over the true ownership of basic development projects in their (legislators’) constituencies around the country on the one hand, the issue of proprietary rights of such projects was also causing some friction between some host governors where the various projects were sited and some federal legislators who also laid claim to the establishment of the same constituency projects.
Now the MDGs have rolled over into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are bigger than the former in many ways, but the issue of constituency projects just won’t go away. Although the process is supposed to be a seamless one where the legislator uses funds allocated from the National Assembly to establish needs-based projects in his or her constituency for the constituents (electorate) to benefit therefrom, some mischief makers are alleging that larger chunks of such allocations end up more in the pockets of the legislators than in the actual project implementation.
Now, the arena of conflict has shifted to the familiar turf of the Executive versus the Legislators, with reports stating that the National Assembly members are frustrating the Presidency in the latter’s attempt to present the 2017 budget because of the Executive’s alleged non-approval of constituency projects of the lawmakers. Nowhere in this whole imbroglio is the interest of the direct beneficiaries of constituency projects at the grassroots protected, and the earlier that is done the better for everyone. Simple logic…
– Abimbola Akosile