Executed constituency projects fall short of N2tr vote, says ICPC
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday decried that the constituency projects on the ground do not reflect the N2 trillion spent by all tiers of government across the federation.
The agency’s Zonal Commissioner in charge of Anambra, Enugu and Delta states, Amedu Sule, made the submission at a one-day workshop organised by the anti-graft body in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and ActionAid with the theme, “My Constituency, My Project.”
He said the discovery followed the commission’s bid to give effect to its mandate of understudying government’s system that does not work properly.
Sule noted that as part of the Constituency Projects Tracking Group initiative in 2019, the commission tracks projects, follows up on abandoned projects if notified, and tries to get contractors back to work to ensure their completion.
The zonal commissioner advised constituents to always monitor projects for their constituencies by seeking information on them in addition to showing keen interest in how they are being executed.
He pointed out that graft subsists because the beneficiaries fail to show sufficient interest in the process of initiating, locating and implementing the projects as a way of taking ownership of them.
According to him, the commission was commencing phase two of the initiative this year geared at ensuring that all abandoned projects are completed.
Corroborating Sule, the Director-General of NOA, Garba Abari, corrected the misinterpretation of constituency projects as largesse of legislators which they freely dole out as empowerment programmes.
Represented by the Anambra State Director of the agency, Charles Nworji, the DG stated that constituency projects were sponsored by members of the National Assembly during the budget cycle to bring development closer to the grassroots.
He, however, cautioned the citizenry against looking up to the lawmakers as benefactors of such projects, stressing that “the vital component of the process is to get the citizens to buy in or take ownership of these projects since essentially, they are meant to serve their communities.”
Abari added: “The public perception of these constituency projects is that it is a largesse disbursed by government to legislators as part of the prerequisites of office.
“In the past, many of these projects were never done or left uncompleted. In some other areas, irrelevant projects were sited in communities requiring no such facilities.”
He said the NOA and ICPC with the support of the UKAID/ActionAid are committed in their partnership “to change the perception so that citizens will begin to see the projects as theirs and therefore continue to make the needed contribution that will help to popularise democratic model of government in the country.”
Also speaking, the traditional ruler of Agulu, Igwe Innocent Obodoakor, charged the citizens to collaborate with community leaders to get the necessary information on projects as well as cultivating a sense of ownership.
In his remarks, the President-General of Orsumoghu Town Union, Chuka Muomife, expressed happiness that the town hall meeting had expanded his knowledge and those of the participants on the true meaning of constituency projects.
Contributing, a representative of the civil society organisations (CSOs), Dr. Nmasinachi Umeh, said CSOs were aware of projects’ tracking but were just lacking courage and support.
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