…Says ZIP represent evidence of Federal presence in most rural communities of Nigeria
By Olayinka Ajayi
The Nigeria’s House of Representatives has said no amount of blackmail from any quarters will force the National Assembly to abandon Zonal Intervention Projects ZIP because it is the tool with which they ensure equity in project allocation nationwide.
Speaking at a public hearing organised by the Joint committee on Appropriation of the Senate and the House of Representative in Abuja, Speaker of the House of Representative Hon.Yakubu Dogara said, “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 implored Nigerians showing interest in the budget making process, to pay greater attention to the implementation of approved budget
and not the size because only effective budget implementation determines its quality.
“Demand strict accountability from all elected officials on this matter. Jacob Lew captured the issue succinctly when he said, ‘The budget is not just a collection of numbers, but an expression of our values and aspirations.’ The citizen must therefore insist on the total realisation of these values and aspirations rather than merely the collection of figures,” he charged.