Furore Over Constituency Projects In Osun

THE constituency projects approved by the Osun State House of Assem­bly is still tearing apart the fabric of the House. Action Congress (AC) members led by Timothy Owoeye have kicked against the way public fund was disbursed for the Project. The Speaker, Adejare Bello, had insisted that the projects were collectively debated and money was…”
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January 3, 2009 8:19 am
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THE constituency projects approved by the Osun State House of Assem­bly is still tearing apart the fabric of the House.

Action Congress (AC) members led by Timothy Owoeye have kicked against the way public fund was disbursed for the Project.

The Speaker, Adejare Bello, had insisted that the projects were collectively debated and money was approved for their execu­tion by both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and AC lawmakers.
But, Owoeye and his colleagues who have forwarded a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged that the move contravened the code of conduct for Public officers.

The AC legislators said their PDP coun­terparts received N5 million each as ben­efits for their respective constituencies “even when the constitution does not empower them to directly confer such benefits on the people.”

Their counsel, Tope Adebayo, alleged in the petition that the PDP Assembly men received public funds into their private purses to execute constituency projects.

In his assessment, they have put them­selves in a position where their personal interest dictated the choice of projects.

He also alleged that by venturing into the constituency project execution as elected representatives, the new assign­ment was in conflict with their constitu­tional duties and responsibilities.

, The respondents acted arbitrarily when they received N5 million each into their private accounts to perform the duties of execution of projects for their constituen­cies when they knew that it is not their constitutional duties to execute projects,” Adebayo added.

“The counsel also said by collecting the amount of NS million each, the PDP leg­islators have also violated the conscience of the electorate who placed them in their sacred duty of watching over the execu­tive in their execution of the law and pub­lic projects, like Osun, projects for the con­stituencies are necessary for bring devel­opment to the dispirited rural areas. The bone of contention is whether due pro­cess was followed in funding the project.

As part of the steps to fulfill their elec­toral promises to their constituencies, the legislators passed the resolutions direct­ing the executive to undertake projects in each of the 26 constituencies.

The legislators also agreed that a dedi­cated Consolidated Accounts should be opened to allow for equitable execution of the project and ensure accountability, sound planning and proper execution.

But, AC legislators alleged that the state government acted strangely when it di­rected payment of the N5 million each into the private accounts of the 26 legislators. The purpose was to enable them use the money to execute the projects which they individually desired for their respective constituencies.

Owoeye and other AC legislators said they were alarmed when they received credit alerts from their banks showing that their respective bank accounts had been credited with N5 million.

Adebayo stated in the petition to the EFCC that” these lodgments were made without obtaining the consents of the petitioners.”  Promptly, the AC lawmakers returned the money. They also persuaded their PDP colleagues to do the same. Adebayo said they refused. That action, he insisted, constituted an abuse of the constitution.

“Section 128 of the 1999 Constitution is clear on the oversight functions of the leg­islature, and the ends of the oversight function is designed to achieve.

“Since the ends are to expose corrup­tion, inefficiency and waste, how can the respondents achieve this where they are the dramatis personae whose activities are to be investigated,” the counsel que­ried.

The AC legislators even went further. They approached the Federal High Count, Abuja to compel the Code of Conduct Bu­reau to investigate their PDP counterparts.

But, the PDP Speaker, Adejare Bello said the AC legislators were playing politics. He also said that it was sinful and pain­ful for the AC legislators to say that there was nothing to’ show for the disbursed money.

The Special Adviser to Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola on Media, Lasisi Olagunju, had also chided the AC legis­lators, saying that their petition was in bad faith.

“The decision to execute constituency projects was a joint one made by all the members of the House of Assembly, irre­spective of party affinitive PDP and AC members jointly approved the budget without dissention. The amount ear­marked, for the project was a joint deci­sion, he stressed.

By EMMANUEL OLADESU

•Culled from THE NATION

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