Executive Director of a Civil Society Group, African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development, Dr. Otive Igbuzor, has said that the 2007 to 2014 budgets of Emmanuel Uduaghan, the erstwhile Governor of Delta State, had favoured the ruling class at the expense of the masses, considering the skewed manner in which the budget was prepared in favour of government officials.
Dr. Otive said his conclusions were based on the analysis made from the eight years budget prepared by Uduaghan’s administration which was skewed with preference given to government spending on projects which are not targeted at meeting necessities of people but driven by the need to meet the interest of the ruling cabal in the state.
Dr. Otive, who gathered executive directors of Civil Society Groups in his Asaba office where he x-rayed the performance of the state yearly budgets in the period under review, drew the ire of the participants where it was revealed that the state failed woefully in meeting people’s needs but worked assiduously to satisfy personal needs and self-aggrandizement.
Represented by the Niger Delta Regional Coordinator of the Centre, Mr. Chuks Erhire, Otive revealed the quantum of funds appropriated for various projects but could not be seen to actualize the projects for which the funds were appropriated in the years under review.
He said “Delta ranks as one of the highest earners from the federation account. It is equally endowed with numerous sources of internally generated revenue, a robust population and benefits from funding and project support from donors and intervention agencies like the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), UNDP, World Bank but unfortunately, all of these have not been able to resolve its development challenges”.
Otive said the policy thrust of every budget is aimed at accelerating economic recovery through targeted fiscal interventions intended to further stimulate the state economy and support private sector growth, but Otive with participants at the event concluded that rather than actualizing these lofty ideals, most of the budgets were only seen in the papers but never translated to building the lives of the people of Delta State.
Participants from the Non-Governmental Organisations were particularly irked following the analysis of the budget, which Otive revealed was sourced from the State ministry of Economic Planning and carefully analysed by economic experts from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.
Okezi Odugala, Executive Director of Eziodu Initiative For Sustainable Environmental Development, undermining the quantum of funds budgeted for projects on yearly basis, the state has not witnessed any meaningful development in infrastructure and other social amenities.
“In Delta State, nothing is visible, if you have done roads, where are the roads, not roads in paper but roads that people can see. We are not children. We have not seen what government has for us in paper. For government to budget money for government house and taking care of political office holders when people have not got food to eat is an aberration”, Odugala said.