Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 12 September 2016 | 2,402 times
A member of the House of Representatives has accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of polarising the country through its bad policies.
Chief Uko Nkole, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) representing Arochukwu/Ohafia Federal Constituency in Abia State, expressed worry that the APC-led Federal Government was alienating the South-East geo-political zone by its covert and overt policies and actions which have given rise to increased agitation from the region.
The lawmaker noted during a chat with newsmen in Umuahia at the weekend that the strident cry of marginalisation emanating from the South-East geopolitical zone was justified, as despite its resentments, no practical step has been taken to give the people a sense of belonging.
“We are being treated as if we are not part of Nigeria,” he lamented. “The state of infrastructure in the South-East is a pity while the zone is at the receiving end of lopsided appointments,” he added.
Nkole pointed out that the appointments so far made by President Muhammadu Buhari were clearly a violation of the Federal Character principle as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution and wondered why the people were expected to keep quiet when things were going wrong.
He argued that lopsided appointments was never an issue all through the 16 years that the PDP was in power at the federal level as the party practiced inclusive government and expressed concernthat this was not the case under the current APC government which rode to power with change mantra as divisive policies have crept into the polity.
“It is high time citizens rose up to challenge government policies,” he said, adding that “there should be citizens’ participation; it is not about party but about Nigeria.”
According to him, under the past administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, it was common to see people expressing strong objections to government policies; but under the present APC government, even the hitherto vocal groups and individuals have all retreated to their shells.
The lawmaker expressed the view that the best way to keep the APC in check and hold the government accountable was for Nigerians to begin to speak out boldly in order to get things done properly.
He was of the opinion that it was easier to force government to listen and act properly when citizens speak out and generate a groundswell of public opinion while, on the contrary, when lawmakers express their views and draw attention of government to any issue bothering their constituencies, it was usually politicised.
Nkole admitted that the legislature was not finding it easy to make the presidency implement legislations and resolutions as “coercion and intimidation were usually employed to muscle the legislative arm.”
On the issue of giving a second bailout funds to state governments, he argued that there was nothing wrong with such a move if states would need such intervention to enable them fulfill their obligations to citizens.
However, he cautioned that that due process must be followed by the Federal Government in disbursing the bailout funds, stressing that the National Assembly must be carried along and its necessary approvals obtained before such bailout is disbursed.