Saturday, October 15, 2011

Before we descend into provincialism

Sun News
15 October 2011

By Femi Adesina 

Two news items worried me stiff early this week. And incidentally, both came on Monday. One, Niger Delta geo-political zone allegedly got 86% of Federal Government projects between March and August this year, amounting to over N760 billion.

Reported exclusively by Daily Trust, the story said further that out of N883 billion contracts awarded during the period, President Jonathan’s home zone got the whopping figure mentioned above, while the North-west had projects worth N15 billion, the North-east N1.4 billion, and North-central had nothing. The document of the Bureau for Public Procurement, which the newspaper based its report on, was not specific on what the other parts of the country got.

The second report that sent me into deep introspection was carried by quite a number of newspapers. It was to the effect that President Goodluck Jonathan was actively involved in a bid to ensure that Timipre Sylva did not return as governor of Bayelsa State, and was working quite actively to supplant him with a loyalist from Abuja.

If true, the two reports then show the precarious state of our union. Fifty-one years after independence, it means Nigeria is still rocked and dogged by provincialism, insularity and parochialism


Abati added that all the projects were contained in the Appropriation Act passed by the National Assembly, and rather than be pilloried, President Jonathan ought to be commended for keeping faith with the policies of his predecessor.

I was mollified a bit by the explanation from the presidency, as we await further facts on a development that should naturally generate worry and disquiet. By all means, the Niger Delta zone must be actively developed, but not at the expense of other parts of the country. You may argue that the region had suffered criminal neglect in the past, but do you then correct an error by committing more egregious blunders?

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