Contracts: Ezekwesili urges revolt against Jonathan

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obiageli_ezekwesiliFOR allegedly supervising award of contracts every Wednesday during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja, former Education Minister, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, has called for an uprising against President Goodluck Jonathan.

To Ezekwesili, Jonathan has no business sitting in the FEC meeting to award contract for capital projects.

She spoke yesterday when some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA) appeared before the House of Representatives.

The former minister called on Nigerians not to sit down and accept whatever poverty-induced policy the Federal Government reels out.

“Nigerians should not just sit down and complain over unacceptable policies. They must rise and protest because the rich have means of meeting their basic needs individually but the poor don’t”

“It is unacceptable for the President of a whole nation to sit and preside over meetings where ordinary contracts are being awarded”.

She attributed the current trend to why the Presidency had failed in allowing implementation of the Public Procurement Act, 2007 and setting up the National Procurement Council after its passage six years ago.

“What business does a President or Minister have sitting down in Council with contractors? That’s not what your contemporaries do. Go to other nations and see for yourself. President Obama and Prime Minister of Singapore don’t sit with ministers to discuss contracts.

“While leaders in other developed nations think of vision, strategy, policy and execution, Nigerian leaders spend their time sitting with contractors.

“When you have the rules of the game handed over to those with esoteric ideas, you will only have time to reach a level of competition with other nations. I heard that the president now wants to become chairman of the Procurement Council. This is most inappropriate and an ineffective thing to do. Why will he allow somebody to do that to him?”

While lamenting what she called unwarranted government’s large involvement in the economy, the former World Bank Vice President cautioned that such must not exceed 40 per cent.

She also suggested the urgent need for the House of Representatives and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPE) to look for breach in procurement legislation.

She expressed assurances that this step only could checkmate excesses of those who see anything wrong in stealing public fund through contracts.

Chairman of the House Procurement Committee, Olajumoke Okoya-Thomas (ACN Lagos), said the forum was aimed at making the MDAs adhere to tenets of the Procurement Act, 2007.

She added that the move is also expected to plug all leakages in the award of contract by these agencies.

Also, her counterpart in the Appropriation Committee, Hon. John Enoh (PDP Cross River), said the N1.5 trillion appropriated for Capital Expenditure in the 2013 Budget “will achieve more results if the 2007 Act is followed to the letters”.

 

 

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