14 October 2011
By Donu Kogbara
LAST Monday, Daily Trust, a newspaper that is circulated nationally but regarded as “Northern”, published a report titled “
Delta Gets 86 percent of FG Projects”. Niger
Dr. Reuben Abati, the Presidential Media/Publicity Adviser, swiftly and robustly responded to this allegation by saying that there is absolutely no truth in the insinuation that the Jonathan administration is favouring the Niger Delta region at the expense of other geopolitical zones. Abati pointed out that:
“It is a verifiable fact that the Niger Delta projects listed in the Bureau of Public Procurement publication which formed the basis of Daily Trust’s mischevious report were initiated, not by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, but by his late predecessor, President Umaru Yar’Adua”.
And that “…[these] projects, which were envisioned by the late President Yar’Adua to give full effect to his admirable commitment to redressing the under-development of the Niger Delta, are all contained in the Appropriation Act passed by the National Assembly which represents all sections of the country”.
And that: Daily Trust was guilty of “fanning the embers of disunity and ethnicism”, even though President Jonathan is “fully committed to ensuring equity in the allocation of national resources…”.
Abati also accused Daily Trust of deliberately excluding data that would have discredited its “misleading analysis” and of peddling blatant falsehoods – when it claimed in its report that no Federal Government project had recently been assigned to the North Central zone – which, according to Abati, currently has ongoing Federal Government projects valued at over N1 trillion.
OK, so Abati has done his spokesman job well and I understand why Jonathan is keen to prove that he is not dishing the lion’s share of goodies out to his home zone. And I believe them when they say that the 86 percent story is a pack of lies.
But when I was first alerted to the 86 percent story, I assumed that it was accurate; and my instinctive reaction was: “SO WHAT IF THE NIGER DELTA IS GETTING THE BIGGEST CHUNK OF FEDERAL PROJECTS?!”
This country was almost entirely built with funds that were generated by the oil that flows from our ancestral lands and creeks. And we have paid an extremely high price for providing
with its main economic asset. Nigeria