OrderPaperToday – The Leader of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan (APC, Yobe) has reiterated the call for proper implementation of constituency projects across the country.
Lawan also gave assurances on the National Assembly’s commitment to partner with OrderPaper Ng and media organizations to properly inform citizens on constituency projects and the role of legislators generally.
He said these when a delegation from OrderPaper Nigeria paid a courtesy visit to him at the National Assembly during the week.
The visit was in respect of ConsTrack, a citizen engagement project that seeks to ensure inclusiveness, transparency and accountability in constituency projects. The project is being implemented with support from USAID.
Speaking on the importance of citizens’ inclusion in constituency projects, Lawan stressed on adequate enlightenment as a way to avoid misinformation and wrong impressions.
He said: “Constituency projects started in the year 2000 in the national assembly and it was as a result of what the national assembly at that time thought to give relevance to the several constituencies and senatorial districts and it was willingly acceptable.
“Gradually it became more established. When (Musa) Yar’adua became president, the system was improved a little by special allocation for federal constituencies and senatorial districts.”
The leader of the red chamber however admitted that “constituency projects still remain a contentious issue.”
He said: “Almost every year, during the budget process, issue of process of constituency project would come up. There is no way that the national assembly cannot introduce projects that matter to the people. It is not peculiar to Nigeria.
“What we need to emphasize is that constituency projects are implemented properly and also without any selection. Members of the national assembly do not execute constituency projects. That is not the practice.
“When you report this kind of things, you enlighten Nigerians. We are yet to reach the point where Nigerians understand what legislators are supposed to do.”
Speaking earlier, the Executive Director/Publisher of OrderPaper Nigeria, Oke Epia, urged the lawmakers on the need to sensitize Nigerians against misconceptions about the role of lawmakers regarding constituency projects.
Epia said: “ConsTrack is a project that wants to bridge the gap between citizens and parliamentarians. A lot of citizens have the wrong impressions about what the members of the legislature do especially in regards to constituency projects.