By Ubong Sampson



Sometime in 2012, the phrase, participatory budgeting did not only debut on the stage of front burner discussions in Akwa Ibom State, it was also put into institutional practice. This was someone’s initiative against odds, and freshly into a system that budgeting was hitherto in high sensitivity secret and only between the elites in government.



For clarity sake, participatory budgeting is a form of citizen participation in which citizens are involved in the process of deciding how public money is spent. Local people are often given a role in the scrutiny and monitoring of the process following the allocation of budgets.



Participatory budgeting began in Porto Alegre in Brazil in 1989 and was credited with shifting priorities to better support the poorest parts of the city, improving services, improving infrastructure, strengthening governance, and increasing citizen participation. It was a real success in terms of involving people typically left outside of the political process.



Though in Nigeria, we’re yet to achieve the real essentialities of the practice, we are however achieving the transparency advantage gradually because budgets are now subjected to public scrutiny and discussion, hence, there is now some level of caution in outrageous and trivialised allocation of resources.



This can also be narrowed to Akwa Ibom, hence whatever transparency credit the government as at 2012 and the succeeding ones will earn, there is room for the initiator of this practice to remotely have a share of the credit for his legacy.


RELATED: Onofiok Luke: 42 Years of Daring And Doing



Aside seeing the future, he also sets the pace and raises the standard. For instance, in 2012 while serving out his first term, he had moved a motion seeking government action against indiscriminate advertising especially on primary and secondary school walls across the state. To what extent the motion had penetrated legislative processes is what I can’t tell, but as fate would have it, he was sitting on the gavel six years after (precisely on this date in 2018) to pass into law a bill that will not only spell punishment for offenders, but also suggests an organised revenue source with legal frame work to the government in the state… the said bill was that which sought to establish the Akwa Ibom State Signage and Advertisement Control Agency, same gavel control opportunity he used to ensure that aside the financial appropriation (budget) bills, other bills were subjected to public contributions and scrutiny especially from experts in related fields through public hearings.



Today a former state lawmaker and speaker, the Hon. Barr. Onofiok Luke can be remembered as one lawmaker who did not only set legacy paces but also used privileged positions to contribute towards strengthening institutions.


Related Articles

Back to top button