Mohammed Sharafdeen; a young and pragmatic man, contesting to represent Surulere – Ogo Oluwa constituency at the Oyo State House of Assembly has vowed to ensure that our budget become more participatory.
This was made known by him on his Facebook page while talking about his first agenda, following his official declaration of intention. Read the full text below:
“Thank you all for the prayers and word of encouragement. I really appreciate them all. As I said in my declaration that I will be releasing my agenda on this platform, I will be releasing them on a weekly basis. Your comments and suggestion will be greatly appreciated. Some people reached out to me and ask; won’t they steal your agenda if you share them public. And I replied by telling them that if it’s good for them to steal and they are willing and ready to implement it, it is for the betterment of the country. So any other person willing to contest for election can borrow part of this agenda if they find it useful for their environment and context.
My first agenda will be PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING. As an honourable member, my duty is to make laws for the betterment of the state. The most important law passed by the legislature is the appropriation law. It is the most important in the sense that it is passed every year unlike other laws.
Budget is a veritable vehicle not only for propelling growth and development, but also for stimulating participatory democracy.
Apart from giving the citizens the opportunity to identify and prioritize the projects and programmes they need for the fiscal year, participatory practice also makes them feel they are part and parcel of the government, thereby deepening democratic culture in the society.
Over the years in Nigeria, we have budgeted billions of naira at the state level, and trillions of naira at the federal level and we still complain of poverty and hunger. This is simply because our budgets have not been working for the people. There are instances where peoples “most important need” is not what government provide for them in the budget. We need to involve people more in our budget planning and that will be one of my agenda. In the four years I will use as an honourable member, I will ensure our budget become more participatory. Our director will not sit in their office and design what will be capture for our people in the budget, the people will tell us what they need. I will not only work for this but see how we can institutionalize it and back this up with a law.
Another area around the budget I will be working on is issue of creating a budgeting line for maintenance of existing infrastructures. It is said that in this country we lack maintenance culture and that reflect in our budgeting system. I have seen a community with non functioning classrooms, and they are still constructing more. What will be the faith of the newly constructed classrooms later; it will be abandoned due to lack of maintenance. I am not saying we should not build new infrastructure, but I am saying we should maintain existing structure effectively as it is cheaper.
I am assuring you that I will work with people of like-minds to bring back the maintenance culture into our state, where we can safe cost, become more effective and efficient.