BUDGET CUTTING: What People Are Saying About Money Meant For Maritime Varsity Take Off And Completion Of Second Niger Bridge
By Charles Okogene, ONNLive
The slashing of the money budgeted by President Muhammadu Buhari, as take-off grant for the Maritime University, Okerenekoko which had been mired in controversy following the roles played in its establishment by its former founder, Tompolo and the Second Niger Bridge, which had also pitched Buhari’s ‘hailers and wailers’ across the nation, has got people, especially those resident in both South South and South East, the two regions where the president garnered five percent of votes cast in 2015, chattering like brother type writer.
While some see the action as a calculated attempt by National Assembly (NASS) members, majority of whom are members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to arrest the development of the two regions which they say is the less developed in the country in spite of the fact that the regions, especially South South, accounts for more than 60 percent of the nation’s revenue.
Others still believe that the president’s comments on the cutting on the day he signed the budget into law are mere complain of a work man who is never tired of quarreling with his tools. They even described the detailed explanation of Budget Ministry and National Planning Ministry on the cutting as a smokescreen.
Hear some of them Onnlive spoke to.
“Mr. President and his minister in charge of transportation, Amaechi (Rotimi) never liked the idea of the Maritime University in Okerenikoko because of the past antecedents of Tompolo. Remember that Amaechi out rightly rejected that his ministry will fund the varsity until Ibe Kachikwu intervened during the sustained destruction of the Niger Delta Avengers. So, NASS and Saraki have given Buhari reason to delay the take –off of the school,” ‘Tega Damijo, based in Warri told us via phone.
And as far as Chikwudi Oboko is concerned, “Why is the executive and legislature perpetually in a state of disagreementt? Was it like this in the previous administrations? It is even disheartening that the president’s party has a clear majority and even at that why can’t his liaison officers in NASS do a good job of lobbying or is that also corruption? Abegi, Buhari is not ready for us especially in South South and South East. We go still show am next year.”
And when reminded that the cutting cuts across projects in other parts of the nation like the Manmbilla electricity projedct and Lagos/Ibadan Expressway reconstruction which was started by the past PDP government of President Goodluck Jonathan, he fired back “then let them cry their cry; I am already crying my cry as it concerns the varsity in my locality. What would have been the only federal varsity in my state aside the PTI,” Asaba based Oboko said.
For Donald Emevom a job seeker based in Sapele “was this not why our Senator tried to teach them a lesson by hijacking their Maze and una just dey clap for them then. See the gbege wey dem put us now. My only advice to Buhari is to retire to him farm like Obasanjo in 2019 because these people, some of whom, he rode on their backs to victory in 2015 are ready to mess him up”
As usual our respondents from the South East, especially those based in Onitsha where the Second Niger Bridge is sited have no good words for Buhari and APC.
To them, it is in APC’s DNA to deny the Ndigbo of any development.
“Is the president not a member of APC? Is APC not having more than 50 percent of the NASS members? Can’t he lobby them to do his will? Is like Buhari is not ready to develop South East and na shame for people like Rochas Okorocha. Anyway God don dey punish am for Owerri,” Ikechukwu Anozie, a trader said.
In the midst of all the condemnation of the president, NASS and APC, Victoria Ibemere still believes that the president can still do what has been undone.
“Let the president present what they yanked off as supplementary budget and stop disturbing our ears with complain or blame game. If he really wants to finish those infrastructures let him do that and let’s see if they will still cut it. It is then I will believe his complain. For now, I will regard all those Second Niger Bridge pictures that were flying around in the social media as mere photoshop work,”