By Anayo Okoli, Enugu
Stakeholders, including royal fathers and town union leaders, in Awgu Council area of Enugu State, have lamented numerous constituency projects in the area, attracted by their members at the National Assembly.
The stakeholders who made their positions known at the presentation of the Awgu Community Constituency Project Tracking Report of 2015– 2018, called for action to complete the projects.
The Project Tracking Report was sponsored by an Enugu-based non-governmental organization, Divine Era Development, and Social Rights Initiatives, DEDSRI, in collaboration with ActionAid Nigeria and the support of UKaid.
At the ceremony, the Chairman of the Community Constituency Project Tracking Committee, Mr. Julius Azinkpali, said that the projects were attracted by former Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu and the member representing Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal
Constituency in the Nationa Assembly, Hon. Toby Okechukwu. Azinkpali lamented that the committee was stunned to discover that most of the projects attracted to the area within the period under review were either abandoned, poorly executed or not even started at all.
He cited as an instance, a N10 million project for the “Maintenance of Youth Development Centre” at Nsulu Games Village, in Abia State was stalled. According to him, nothing was done about the project after the site was cleared. He alleged that some of these projects were indicated to have been completed.
The Committee Chairman named other projects he termed failed or abandoned to include a N30 million Ogbuma Rural Road Project.
According to him, “this project was captured twice by a government agency and ministry at N30 million each. Only about 10% work was done”.
Azinkpali named other projects as Mgbowo Rural Road Project; Obuofia Ololi Erosion Control Project; Omuowo Junction–Amata Itukwu Erosion Control Project and the completion of Erosion Control Project at Umuhu Owelli.
Others, according to him, include the completion of Agbuogudu Erosion Control Project, completion of Civic Center and other Associated Work at Awgu and several water scheme projects. The projects, he claimed, were worth several millions of naira.
Azinkpali alleged that there was no presence of some of the projects claimed to have been completed in the area, saying that their people were not happy over the issue. In his remarks, the Chairman of Awgu Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Goddy Ekoh, said that they would seek explanations from their representatives at the National Assembly after an appraisal of the report to know the reasons behind the condition of the projects.
Ekoh, who is the traditional ruler of Ihe Community, said that the time had come for the people to start asking questions over issues concerning them.
Earlier, the Executive Director, DEDSRI, Ms. Ogechukwu Enwelum, said that the constituency tracking project was under the ‘Strengthening Citizens’ Resistance against Prevalence of Corruption’ project.
Enwelum said that the project funded by the UKaid was implemented in the state in partnership with ActionAid Nigeria.
She said that the project was being implemented in six states of the federation and six local government areas of Enugu State. Enwelum said that following a baseline survey by the organization, it was discovered that the number of projects on the ground did not tally with Federal Government’s expenditure since the constituency project regime started.
“Corruption is on the increase and this has affected the quality of life in Nigeria. The time has come for communities to rise to the challenge of fighting corruption”, Enwelum said.
Reacting to the report, the Special Assistant to Ekweremadu on Project, Mr. Jonathan Ivoke, said, “If you are tracking constituency projects go and look for the documents. They are public documents”. But Rep. Okechukwu said that the projects he attracted to the area were fully executed, but said that he was not informed if the projects malfunctioned after the inauguration.
“Members of the community confirmed that the borehole projects I attracted were working and that was why we inaugurated them. However, there is no structural arrangement for their maintenance”, Okechukwu explained.