ACN, others berate Jonathan over N2.2 billion party hall

Posted about 2 days ago

Civil rights groups and the Action Congress of Nigeria condemned the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration for approving the sum of N2.2bn for a banquet hall project for Aso Rock and borrowing N2.57tn in 18 months.

They blasted the Jonathan administration saying, the administration is selfish and wasteful.

The Chairman of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Debo Adeniran, principally said the plan for the hall was an expression of tactlessness by the government.

He stated, “The absurdity of the reasons given– that the present hall is two kilometres away from the Villa, and that it’s inferior to that of other similar countries – further demonstrate how frivolity governs the mindset of our leaders when taking serious decisions on our behalf.”

He said the inflated cost of the project show the way Nigerian leaders misplace priorities and engage in reckless spending.

He said, “We can just imagine how many businesses N2.2bn can save, lives that can be saved and sustained, and infrastructure that can be provided or upgraded.”

The Executive Director of Anti-Corruption Network, Dino Melaye, said the debts and the banquet hall, confirmed government’s unpreparedness to help the people.

He asked, “What is wrong with the present banquet hall? Can’t it be upgraded? If the President can be going to Transcorp Hilton, International Conference Centre, and Yar’Adua Centre, what is the problem?

“The N2.2bn capacity hall is anti-people; the National Assembly must not pass it. If they do, we will occupy them. That amount will provide pipe-borne water for over 100 communities.”

The President of the Campaign for Democracy, Dr. Joe Okei-Odumakin, also said the developments reveal how detached the government is from the people.

She said, “This is the height of insensivity in a country where 72 per cent of citizens live in absolute poverty. The people are in fast and the emperor is feasting. A sign that these people have totally lost it. We no longer have selfless but selfish leaders. What a colossal waste?”

The ACN portrayed the government as irresponsible and wasteful, warning that it could throw the country into insolvency if left unrestricted.

The National Publicity Secretary, of the party, Lai Mohammed, said the high debt was very improper.

He said it was disgraceful that a government that had not made a positive impact on Nigerians would engage in such wastage.

The party said the government had beaten its record of extravagance by its choice to build an N2.2bn banquet hall.

The ACN said “It is interesting that a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is comparing the country with ‘smaller countries’ when it comes to justifying a project that will only benefit a few elite.

“Does the Minister know that the citizens of the so-called smaller countries enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply? Does he know that the citizens of those countries don’t have to queue up endlessly for petrol and kerosene; that they don’t have to depend on Okada for transportation and that they have no road as terrible as Lagos-Ibadan Expressway?”

The party said the project could not be  justified in a country where “many go to bed hungry most nights, where youth unemployment is at a high 46.5 per cent and where there are no projects that could make  Nigeria to achieve the MDGs, less than three years to the target date.”

According to the party, the President’s penchant to travel to international meetings with an overstuffed train and the incessant allotment of huge funds to purchase aircraft for the presidential fleet are parts of the wastefulness of the Jonathan administration.

It said, “One would have expected that a government headed by a man who himself has publicly acknowledged his humble beginnings will be less profligate and more inclined to allocate funds to developmental projects that will uplift the standard of living of  his compatriots, including ensuring better security for them. Sadly, what we are witnessing under the Jonathan administration is the exact opposite.”

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