By Samuel Oyadongha – Yenagoa
Bayelsa State government has lauded President Mohammadu Buhari for his efforts to reimburse some state governments for funds used in executing various federal projects in their states.
Governor Douye Diri who spoke weekend when he received members of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Local and Foreign Debts in Yenagoa noted that the gesture would enable state governments to redouble their collaborative efforts in addressing the infrastructural deficit in the country.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the governor maintained that most state governments are discouraged from deploying their scarce resources to fix dilapidated federal projects located in their areas due to Federal Government’s reluctance towards repayment.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after conducting members of the National Assembly round some federal projects including the Ekoli Bridge along the Yenagoa-Oporoma Road, he expressed optimism that the inspection visit would facilitate the release of funds owed the state.
While thanking the joint Committee for the visit, he urged the executive and judicial arms of government to accord the legislature its pride of place in the scheme of democratic governance.
According to him, democracy cannot survive without the legislative arm performing its core functions of law-making, oversight and representation in society.
His words, “The National Assembly is a very important institution which has not been given due attention and respect in this country because they see us as new entrants into the Nigerian hemisphere of governance.
“But they should not forget that if there is no law-making, no oversight and no representation, then there will be no democracy. It is on these three pillars that democracy actually stands.
“I believe that the National Assembly is the highest institution that must be respected by all. Having been part of that institution, the governor and I will continue to give it respect.
“The delegation, which is made up of members of the Senate and House of Representatives Committee on Foreign and Local Debts came to ascertain the veracity of our claims on the execution of federal projects in the state.
“We thank the Federal Government and the National Assembly for this effort, which we believe will facilitate the release of the funds due our state, which can be used in developing other critical sectors.”
Also speaking, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, Senator Clifford Odia and his House of Representatives counterpart, Hon. Safana Dayyabu, said the visit was to confirm the execution of federal projects with a view to facilitating the release of funds due the state on account of such projects.