Oversight Function: Senate Committee visits State House in Abuja
Timothy Choji, Abuja
The Senate Committee on Federal Character on Intergovernmental Affairs has paid an oversight visit to the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
The Committee was received by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, alongside the Permanent Secretary, Umar Tijjani and other top management Staff of the seat of power.
Welcoming the guests, Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Professor Ibrahim Gambari noted that the strength of Nigeria lies in its diversity, therefore, federal character must be sustained to give every part of the country a sense of belonging.
He said: “I welcome you on behalf of the Management Staff of the State House and therefore, on behalf of the President, I welcome you to this oversight visit of the Senate Committee on Federal Character on Intergovernmental Affairs. This is a very important committee in many ways.
“Federal Character in my view sums up the strength of our country because the strength of the country lies in our diversity. Diversity is not a weakness because out of those plurality of our people, we are working towards one nation.
“Therefore, the maintenance of that strength and the use of it for the purposes of the fulfilment of the State directives, purposes, programmes and projects of several administrations. Similarly, intergovernmental affairs are very important because no particular government, federal, state or local or even entities of the three arms of government, executive, legislature or judiciary is an island by itself rather, working together through harmonious relationships to achieve their various mandates.”
Responding, the Chairman of the committee Senator Danjuma Laah said the committee was out to assess the level of budget performance by the State House, not to witch-hunt anyone.
“As part of this statutory function of lawmaking as well as ensuring compliance with the principles of federal character, and budgetary approvals, the committee is also charged with the oversight responsibility on the State House.
“This visit is in no way to indict, sabotage, vindicate or find faults in the operations of the State House but the further expand our reasoning for the good governance of our country and ensure proper service delivery.
“I assure you that this visit is aimed at further strengthening the already existing relationship with your organization,” he said.
In his submission, the Permanent Secretary in the State House, Umar Tijjani said the capital budget of the State House has not increased significantly in the past three years, adding that in 2018, the State House got only 58 percent of its capital budget released, 2019, 38 percent but in 2020, the whole 100 percent was released.
He said: “The State House capital budget has not increased in any significant way over the last three years, when measured against emerging and competing strategic requirements of the State House in the areas of maintenance and sustainability of standards expected of the nation’s seat of power.
“The annual utilization of released funds to the various cost centers for the three years under review was 100 percent.”
The Permanent Secretary thanked the Senate Committee on behalf of the State House management, for its invaluable assistance, guidance and understanding as they strive to deliver on their commitment to provide excellent and efficient and qualitative service to the President to help him discharge his responsibilities effectively.
The committee was later taken on a facility tour of the State House, where they visited the site for the proposed VIP wing of the State House Clinic as well as the current site of the clinic.