Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives has passed for a second reading a bill for an act to establish a Constituency Development Fund, with a proviso that it should be worked on by the House committees on Constituency Outreach and Justice.
The bill titled: A Bill for an Act to Establish the Constituency Development Fund for the Purpose of Even Development of all Constituencies in the Federation and for Other Connected Purposes, was sponsored by Rep Ben Nwankwo (APGA, Anambra).
According to Nwankwo, going by the fact that 70 per cent of Nigerians live in the rural areas, the main purpose of the bill is to ensure that good governance is delivered to the crucial areas.
“The bill is intended to correct the top-bottom approach of governance and replace it with the reverse,” the lawmaker stated.
Although he did not put a figure to the proposed fund, Nwankwo said the bill, when passed into law “will ensure that certain portion of the nation’s annual budget will be set aside for rural
development,” stressing that its main thrust “is to legitimize the contentious constituency support project.”
Contributing to the debate on the bill, Rep. Sunday Adepoju (PDP, Oyo), said the bill is important because of dearth of infrastructure in rural areas, “which has contributed to the persistence of rural-urban migration and unemployment in the country.”
Similarly, Rep Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta), while citing section 14 and 16 of the 1999 constitution, said the idea of the bill is to protect democracy, noting that after all “majority of the
constituent parts that make up Nigeria are in the rural area.”