*Vow to make it difficult for Ministers
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—AS Ministers and heads of Departments appear before the Senate Committees for the defence of the 2013 budget, northern Senators have warned the Ministers not to expect a smooth passage of the budget over what they described as imbalance in the preparation of the budget.
Rising from a meeting at the Senate Hearing Room 1, White House, the Senators vowed to ensure that the Ministers corrected the problem where other zones had more allocation than the zones in the north.
At the meeting, a source told Vanguard that the Northern Senators were equally worried over the spate of insecurity in some parts of the north which is actually affecting their economy against the backdrop that people from other parts of Nigeria no longer carried out businesses in places like Kano, Mauduguri, Damataru, Bauchi, Jos, among others for fear of being killed.
The source told Vanguard that on the issue of imbalance in the 2013 budget, the Northern Senators have complained that the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina has pushed almost all the juicy projects to the South West, just as the Minister of Water Resources, Mrs Sarah Ochepe who hails from Plateau was alleged to have pushed all the Dams to her North Central leaving the North East and others to suffer.
Speaking with Vanguard on the outcome of the meeting, former governor of Yobe State and Senator representing Yobe East, Senator Bukar Abba Ibrahim, however, complained over marginalisation of some zones in the North especially the North East, adding that the Ministers were the problem of this country.
Senator Ibrahim who is also the Senate Committee Chairman on Housing, however, complained that North East has only a Minister of State, adding, ‘’a minister of State is only a glorified Permanent Secretary with no much role to play. Ministers are the problem, they caused the imbalance in the budget; Minister of Agriculture pushed projects to the South West, Minister of Water Resources also pushed dams to her zone; leaving other zones to suffer. They will meet us, we have a final say on the budget and we must ensure that the imbalances are corrected. We are ready to deal with them, we must not be cheated, so those were the issues we discussed at the meeting.”
Vanguard also gathered that the northern senators reviewed the just concluded zonal public hearing on the review of the 1999 constitution with a view to harmonizing a common position ahead of the presentation of the report to the Senate for discussions.