Nigeria: Don’t Politicise Ajaokuta Probe, CNPP Urges Parliamentarian
By RAZAQ BAMIDELE
The Conference of Nigerian Political Party (CNPP), in Nigeria has expressed worry over alleged attempt by the House of Representatives to politicise the on-going probe of Ajaokuta Steel Complex, suspecting that the current approach of the lawmakers shows there are some hidden interests.
Ajaokuta Steel Complex, conceived to be a major economy booster in Nigeria has been going through turbulent period and attempts at reviving it properly have become a subject of controversy between the country’s Parliamentarians and the Ministers in charge of the project in recent time.
In a statement signed by the Chairman Ekiti State chapter of the Conference Prince Tunji Ogunlola and Director of Information and Strategy, Deacon Olu Komolafe, said that watching the federal lawmakers turn the all-important Ajaokuta probe into a melodrama and name calling session was tragic for the country’s democracy.
The group admitted that, while it was normal for the executive and legislative arms of government to disagree on issues, the lawmakers’ recourse to the use of uncomplimentary language in describing the two ministers at the centre of the matter was embarrassing.
It therefore urged well-meaning members of the society to prevail on the lawmakers to shun unnecessary pollicisation of the probe so that the right decision would be reached on the Ajaokuta steel Complex at the end of the day.
The statement said: “It is saddening watching members of the House of Representatives turn this all-important Ajaokuta steel complex matter into an ego war with the Ministers- Dr Kayode Fayemi and Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari, and deploying all manners of ridiculous claims while leaving the crux of the matter.
“One would have expected the lawmakers to conduct themselves in a better manner in sensitive assignment of this nature. But while the Ministry responded to every issue raised as professional as possible, the lawmakers’ position has remained somehow cantankerous.
“When has it become a sin for a minister to be absent from a debate?! The lawmakers made so much issue on the fact that the Minister’s letter was signed by the Permanent Secretary (who is the administrative head of the ministry), thereby displaying their ignorance about the workings of government.
“For the lawmakers to insist that government must spend another $500 million to complete Ajaokuta and then run it shows that they lack understanding on economic realities. That is a no at a time when governments globally is leaving businesses to the private sector, while concentrating on providing enabling environment.
“Remarkably, even at the debate, one of the experts faulted the insistence on spending $500 million to complete Ajaokuta, while in actual fact, $700 million could build a smaller but functional steel complex.
“It is also ridiculous seeing the House reverse itself on Ajaokuta concessioning, having earlier committed N2 billion naira in the 2017 Appropriation!”
Furthermore, the group urged the leadership of the House to exhibit caution and decorum in this onerous task, if it desirous of a lasting solution to the issue of Ajaokuta Steel Complex, just as it also urged the two ministers to seek amicable settlement of the disagreement with the House in order to move the sector forward.