- The leaders say allowing the south-south's budgetary allocations to be tampered with in the legislature showed that the lawmakers were the problem of the oil-rich region
- They had praises for President Buhari who, they said, cared about the region enough to include provisions for them in his budget
- The Niger Delta therefore called on all voters in the south-south region to vote out their respective lawmakers in the next general election
Leaders in Niger Delta have rejected re-election for current members representing the region in the National Assembly in the 2019 general election.
The leaders made the call on Friday, June 22 while reacting to budgetary cuts to the oil-rich region in the 2018 appropriation bill passed by the National Assembly and signed by President Muhammadu Buhari into law.
According to the leaders, their representatives in the federal legislature had no business being in there because they were insensitive, self-serving and incompetent.
The Nation reports that one of the leaders and former President of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide Udengs Eradiri said there was no justification for the reduction in the budgetary allocations for critical projects in a region that produces resources which finances the entire budget.
Eradiri said President Buhari meant well for the region because he made provisions for them in his budget but claimed the lawmakers, who were the problem of the region, allowed them to be cut off.
He said: ”It is unacceptable. This goes further to expose the kind of leadership that we have. I have further come to the conviction that the Federal Government is actually not our problem but our own people are our problems.
“Where were our senators and our representatives from the Niger Delta when the budget went through the House. How come they don’t have a caucus that looked at those items that concern the Niger Delta and ensure that the are funded to better the lives of our people?
“Niger Delta people are their own problems. What are the qualities of individuals they send to represent us? They cannot defend our people. They have no business in the National Assembly. Niger Delta people must vote out such individuals.
“How can they sit down and allow our budgets to be reduced? It means that the President mean well for the Niger Delta but the Niger Delta representatives don’t mean well. How can they allow the East-West road to be reduced?
“It is unimaginable that the lawmakers watched as the budget for the Maritime University which became the centre of disputes and led to the formation of all kinds of groups that caused bloodshed in this country and brought down the economy, was reduced.
“Senators from the region were busy talking about commonsense but they don’t have commonsense to look at what concerned the region. It is annoying, provocative, sad and painful.
“If it were my days in IYC, l would arranged to flog them. But Niger Delta people should not allow such persons go back to the National Assembly. We should emphasise on quality of persons representing the region. Niger Delta representatives are a disgrace.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com reported earlier that federal lawmakers issued a comprehensive 22-page reply to President Buhari's criticisms of the cuts to executive allocations in the 2018 budget.
According to the report, the lawmakers explained that allocations for some projects were slashed to correct the alleged imbalance in the appropriation bill.
The legislators said that the projects as proposed in the 2018 appropriation bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari was lopsided.
The clarification was made by the chairman of the Senate committee on media and public affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, at a joint press conference in Abuja on Friday, June 22.
Election-2019: (Don’t) mark your calendar - on NAIJ.com TV