Hon. Samson Osagie represents Orhiomwon/Uhunmwode Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives. Last Tuesday, he moved the motion which led to the House summoning the Minister of Finance, Mrs Okonjo-Iweala, over the alarm she allegedly raised that the nation could be shut down by September if the National Assembly refused to pass President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2013 Budget Amendment Proposal.
In this interview, Osagie throws light on how the issue of constituency projects remains the bone of contention in the current face-off between the National Assembly and the Presidency.
What do you have to say about media reports that the current stand-off between the Executive arm of government and the National Assembly over the 2013 Budget arose due to the fact that the Presidency refused to execute the constituency projects in the Appropriation Act?
I am not surprised because the issue of constituency projects has been the source of conflicts between both arms of government. I insist that due to our level of development as a country, lawmakers better understand the problems of the people. As such, we have every right to insist that development projects must be executed. We have no apologies to anybody for taking that position.
Our problem with the Executive stems from the undue tardiness that they always exhibit in implementing capital projects in general; not just constituency projects. Apart from constituency projects, which constitute less than 20 % of the approved capital expenditure of the budget, there are so many other capital projects that were initiated by the Executive arm itself which they are not executing. It was only recently that the Federal Ministry of Works has been seen everywhere trying to look at the roads.
What about the other sectors like health, education and power? The constituency projects are not just for members of the National Assembly. They are projects meant for the development of our people. The budget is not segmented as to say there is an aspect devoted to only constituency projects. They are all capital projects introduced into the budget by members of the National Assembly.
We know the problems confronting our people and they include lack of basic amenities like electricity, potable water, good roads and schools. During our electioneering campaigns, we made promises to our people that we would provide these amenities to them when elected.
No Minister has ever visited the nooks and crannies of this country to solicit for the support of the people during the electioneering period. It is the legislators that visited every hamlet and village to interact with the people.