The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, said yesterday that no amount of blackmail from any quarters will force the National Assembly to abandon “zonal intervention” also known as constituency projects.
Speaking during a public hearing on the 2018 budget organized by the joint committee of the Senate and House on Appropriation, he described the zonal intervention projects as a tool to ensure equity in project allocation and distribution in the country
Over the years, the efforts of legislators, especially at the National Assembly to inject equity in budget patronage nationwide, through the instrumentality of zonal intervention projects, has been grossly misunderstood and terribly maligned mostly by those who are deliberately ignorant and have concocted their own concept of constituency projects which they apply as their yardstick of measurement.
“I make bold to state that, but for zonal intervention projects, many communities in Nigeria would never have enjoyed any form of Federal Government patronage. Put differently, zonal intervention projects represent the only evidence of Federal Government presence in most rural communities of Nigeria.
“Consequently, as representatives of the people, no amount of blackmail from any quarters will force us to abandon our resolve to ensure even development across all federal constituencies,” he said.
He appealed to stakeholders to pay greater attention to the implementation of approved budgets and not the size, saying only effective budget implementation determined its quality.
“As representatives of the people, legislators are constantly in touch with their constituents and are therefore in a position to appreciate their peculiar priority needs which they can then articulate in the budget,” he said.
He urged stakeholders to work assiduously toward, not only ensuring an equitable collection of figures but more so, the full realization of those expressed values and aspirations through efficient and effective budget implementation.