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Sen Ndume sparks controversy with ‘Animal Farm’ comment on constituency projects



Ali Ndume

Nigerian Senator Ali Ndume, the Senate Chief Whip, ignited controversy with his remarks regarding constituency project allocations.

During an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today program on Wednesday, Ndume confirmed receiving more than the standard N200 million allocated to each senator for constituency projects in the 2024 budget.

Justifying the disparity, Ndume made a reference to George Orwell’s classic novel Animal Farm, stating, “all animals are equal but some are more equal than others.” He elaborated that as a leader in the Senate, he deserves a larger allocation for projects in his Borno South Senatorial District.

“My colleagues know that I go more than them (floor members).

“All the senators have N200m (each) as their constituency projects but I am a leader. That is the difference. 10 of us are leaders including those in the opposition. We get more than the floor members. It’s normal… My colleagues know that I go more than them,” he explained.

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Ndume was responding to allegations by Senator Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe from Cross River North that some senators got the total of N500 million each from the 2024 Budget fir constituency projects.

Agom-Jarigbe had on Tuesday, during a story session in Abuja, made the startling disclosure while the lawmakers debated budget padding claims by Senator Abdul Ningi from Bauchi Central Senatorial District.

Ningi had said N3.7trn was not tied to any project in the 2024 N28.7trn budget and he was suspended for three months.

Agom-Jarigbe had alleged that some Senators are guilty of such practice, adding that some senior senators got N500 million each from the 2024 Appropriation Act.

Ndume’s comments have drawn criticism from Nigerians and civil society groups who argue for fair and transparent distribution of constituency project funds. Critics point out that such a system lacks accountability and could exacerbate inequalities between regions.

This incident comes amidst ongoing debates about the effectiveness and transparency of constituency projects. While some argue these funds allow senators to directly address local needs, others claim they are susceptible to misuse and lack proper oversight.

The House of Representatives recently passed a bill mandating open bidding for constituency projects, a move aimed at promoting transparency. However, the Senate has yet to consider a similar proposal.

Ndume’s remarks are likely to fuel further discussions on the reform of constituency project allocations. Whether the Senate will follow the House’s lead and prioritize transparency in project execution remains to be seen.

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