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For over N12trn abandoned projects, new day beckons

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By Nnamdi Ojiego

For ages, the story of project management in Nigeria hasn’t been a cheering one. It is nothing short of moderate success as many projects across the country hardly record 100 percent completion.

Owing to systemic failure, poor planning, and inefficient management, projects in Nigeria record about 60 percent failure.

This is a fact that practitioners and outsiders hardly disagree on.

Given that billions are invested with little results, the situation, which isn’t peculiar to Nigeria, is saddening.

Project management is an innovative management practice that tends to achieve stated or specified objectives within a specific time and budget limits through optimum use of resources.

Sadly, the reverse is obtainable in Nigeria where abandoned infrastructural projects such as houses, school buildings, power plants, dams, rail lines and roads among others litter its length and breadth.


A presidential committee in 2011, had reported that the number of abandoned federal government projects in Nigeria were 11,886.

The 20-man Ibrahim Bunu-led Projects Assessment Committee put an estimated cost of N7.78 trillion on the abandoned projects.

Also, in 2017, the Chartered Institute of Project Management of Nigeria, CIPMN, based on its survey, put the number of abandoned projects in the country at 56,000.

According to the institute, the projects were worth over N12 trillion.

Yet, with every change in government comes fresh promises of infrastructure development and completion of abandoned projects.

Large sums of money are allocated for this purpose and contracts are awarded to different local and multinational companies.

This has become a big problem for Nigeria as the cost of the abandonment does not only affect the economy, it retards growth and development.


This mass failure of public projects over the years was blamed on inadequate budgetary provision, poor project conceptualisation, institutional weakness, and corruption by the Bunu-led committee.

READ ALSO: EFCC goes after contractors of abandoned projects in Kebbi

Other factors identified include lack of accountability, inadequate monitoring instruments, political instability, non-usage of accurate data, and inconsistent economic planning.

Multiplier effect

Over the years, experts have also observed that project abandonment has been left without adequate attention for too long, resulting in a multiplier effect on the construction industry in particular.

To proffer a lasting solution, or at least, drastically reduce abandonment of projects in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari, recently, signed into law, the Chartered Institute of Project Managers of Nigeria, CIPMN.

12 months

The institute, which was established in line with Act 3, 2018, of the National Assembly, is the only statutory Project Management body, empowered by law in the country.

It is saddled with the responsibility of registering and disciplining members, licensing all practitioners; withdrawing of license of erring members, prohibiting non-registered members from engaging or practicing Project Management in Nigeria, prohibiting non-registered members from being appointed, engaged or head any project management of any organisation, in  private and  public sectors, and to within 12 months after the commencement of the Act, register all Project Management professionals from abroad, who reside in Nigeria and wish to practice in the country.


The Act also mandates CIPMN to accredit institutions of higher learning offering courses in Project Management leading to the award of a degree, supervise, regulate and train Project Management bodies and practitioners in Nigeria, and mobilise students who graduate from the Chartered Institute of Project Managers of Nigeria, after the final professional qualifying examination for the National Youth Service Service ,NYSC, among others.

The institute has a council headed by Dr. Victoria Okoronkwo, to govern its affairs. Other members include the chairman, vice chairman, registrar, immediate past and present presidents and vice presidents of the institute, representatives of federal ministries of Finance, Works and Housing, Education, Industry, Trade and Investment, NACCIMAA, and members from the six geo-political zones of the county.

Like every other professional body, membership of CIPMN includes fellow members, reserved for those with high professional or administrative standing, chartered, associate, graduate and student members.

There are also honorary fellowships, awarded at the institute’s discretion for persons of distinction, and corporate members for an employer of labour.

Speaking on what CIPMN holds for Nigeria, the Registrar of the institute, Mr. Henry Mbadiwe, said to achieve the lofty objectives of the agency, CIPMN has created a new Project Management delivery methodology.

He said it is unique to Nigeria and would ensure the days of abandoned projects are over.


According to him,”this is a methodology that takes into consideration Nigeria’s unique ethnic, religious, political and cultural diversities and how it impacts project delivery within Nigeria. Our DUCAP Methodology has been developed with insights from Project Managers, consultants, subject matter experts in different project delivery sectors, educationalists and other project delivery stakeholders in Nigeria.

“The methodology has also seen a wealth of experience from contributors as regards the challenges of delivering projects in Nigeria and Africa at large and it is underpinned by four key elements namely pillar element, activity element, process element and vision element. The learning has also been taken from the PRINCE 2, PMP and Agile methodologies.

“A full saturation of this methodology will see the days of abandoned projects in Nigeria come to an end. This project delivery methodology was wholly developed in Nigeria by Nigerians for Nigeria and Africa at large.”

Meanwhile, the regulatory body would on December 3, 2020, hold its annual training and induction of new members in Abuja.

The event is scheduled to commence at 9: am at the Aso Hall, International Conference Centre.

Paper presentation and training would centre on adapting Project Management methodologies to suit Nigeria’s unique environment.

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