By Chibuike Nwabuko
Abuja (Sundiata Post) – Former Senate Leader and Senator representing Borno South Senatorial District, Senator Ali Ndume has urged Nigerian youths to ensure judicious utilisation of the huge budgetary allocation earmarked for their empowerment.
The Borno senator who hailed the President for having done his beat, stated that there has never been President that have given so much attention to the issues of youth empowerment and empowering the poor in this country like the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Senator Ndume who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the 2021 budget into Law, made the call on Thursday while briefing members of the senate press corps at the National Assembly.
The president has signed the 2021 budget into Law and contains a lot especially for the youths and the poor. But as observed in the last years budget, N13trillion and with the highest level of implementation so far but you cannot see it on ground.
So what I am urging the youth particularly, like now the government has recently announced over N700billion for intervention in various sectors that is supposed to be targeted towards the indigent Nigerians and the vulnerable. We are yet to see some of these actions on ground. Therefore the President had done his beat for the youth by allocating such amount not only for the youths but for even the farmers, traders such that you can hear about trader Moni, N-Power, youth investment etc. With all these, the President has done his beat by allocating such a huge sum of money.
It is now left for the beneficiaries, is the youths, farmers, traders, entrepreneurs to follow their money and make sure that the budget is not only implemented but the impact of that budget should be felt. People should ask where is the money, the youth should follow up their money to ensure that what they claim they have done could be seen and the impact should be felt.
Also the media has a role to play . If certain amount is budget for MDA, using the Freedom of Information (FOI), you people should find out where is the money and what did they do with it. It is not only the responsibility of the National Assembly but the Civil Society Organisations, media and the people directly affected i.e the beneficiaries of such programs should ask the question; where is it.
We hear a lot like this 774 which is for 1000 workers per local government. You could see that they are busy everywhere in the local government. At least you know that 1000 persons are engaged and you could see them working and clearing and they have started already. So we want that Nigerians should demand for transparency, accountability and impactful implementation of the budget.
The president has done his beat, I don’t think there has ever been President that have given so much attention to the issues of youth empowerment, empowering the poor in this country like the government of President Muhammadu Buhari. But then when you don’t see or feel the impact it becomes virtually useless.
On his reaction to the public hearing on Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and the fact that oil has been discovered in Nigeria axis of Lake Chad Basin, Senator Ndume reminded that the 9th Assembly is determined to pass the PIB bill after several but unsuccessful attempts have been made in the last 15 to 20 years.
The former Senate leader, said that the most important thing is to have the PIB Bill passed even if it is not a perfect bill and then amendments can follow later adding that it it better to have imperfect law than no law at all.
In his words: ” We cannot pass a perfect document but it’s better to have a faulty law than not to have a law at all. So when the PIB passes and then we observe the lapses in it and it will be subject to amendments. Even if you observe the lapses and bring it to the attention of the National Assembly, the bill will be amended.
“But it is very important to pass the bill and I am happy that every side is on board. Before, there was a lot of hiccups and frustrations with some interest trying to frustrate the process but this 9th Assembly is determined to pass it by April going by the words of the leadership and we members have been doing everything possible to ensure it passes.
“So for us in Borno, we are excited. Our major challenge is the insecurity there. You know the problem we are facing but we hope that with the new Service Chiefs that have been appointed by Mr President and also increase in what we have been crying out – inadequate equipment and hardware for the Nigerian Army, but all these have started changing because budget has improved. Now the ball is in the court of the new Service Chiefs, that is why I even said that there is a need to give them a time line so that we hope that by this period of time this thing will come to an end, he said.
“So we are eager to join the oil Producing states and there is all indications that there is large quantity of oil on lake Chad region. The Cameron, Niger and Lake Chad are already exploiting their own so it only Nigeria that is lagging behind and I think, had it been that we have peace in that area, by now we would have gone far, Senator Ndume stated.
Senator Ali Ndume noted that the PIB bill at this time is also very critical because the whole world is dynamic itself and the dynamics of the oil market is changing. Oil is no longer going to be the big deal – you hear now of the Tesla. In fact just because of the introduction, the owner of Tesla at one time was the richest person on earth sometime last year. So there must be a good law to encourage the oil Industry and the OIC’s are co-operating and we are very hopeful that the bill will be signed into Law by Mr President before the end of the year.