Abandoned projects anger constituents
In the last five years, according to reports, over N400b was allocated by government to the National Assembly, as captured in the budgets. The breakdown, showed that N60b was allocated in 2012, N100b in 2013; N100b in 2014; N40b in 2015 and N100b for this year.For instance, in Ogun State, there are 17 projects listed in the abandoned projects list, according to a report released by BudgIT Nigeria. Of the total, only one-construction of science laboratory furniture, procurement and installation at Oke Odan Grammar School, Yewa South Local Government has been completed; the other 16 projects have been abandoned.
In Anambra State, all the five projects were left undone. They include; training and reinstatement of Orumba farmers’ cooperative society; rehabilitation of Ihiala township stadium; strategic empowerment programme in Ihiala; construction of a block of three classrooms with VIP toilet at Umuchu, Aguata council area; and rehabilitation of classroom blocks in Ihembosi, Ekwusigo local government area of the state.
In Kano State, from the total of 26 projects listed, none has been executed, meaning that they have been abandoned for now. They include; provision of solar street light in Doguwa/Tudunwada; provision of motorcycles in Dala; supply of 92 units of grinding machine in Tarauni; and construction of Gaya-Balare road, among others.
Though the House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara sometime ago said the constituency projects are sure ways of bringing government closer to the people and to give all communities a sense of belonging, but with the level of handling of the projects, Nigerians are afraid that the project might actually turn out to be another venture to divert state resources to their pockets.
Another area that has been of great concern to the grassroots is lack of inclusiveness in the choice of projects to be sited in their communities. Most times, lawmakers, maybe due to political reason or otherwise decide on projects, without constituents’ input. Most times, the projects might not be of priority to such community, and such efforts could be duplicated.
A community leader, the Baale of Lisa town, Ogun State, Chief Najeem Oladele Odegbemi, disclosed that on many occasions, the communities are not aware of projects being proposed for them, noting that after executing the projects, they end up becoming what they don’t need.
“For instance, when we are in dire need of Primary School that will accommodate children from this town and beyond, a lawmaker will sit down in Abuja and decide for us that what we merit is installation of boreholes. Though, we really needed potable water, but that is not our priority, we should be carried along, to know what we need.
“There is need for community involvement so that we can monitor the projects. There are projects that are responsibility of the local governments that cannot be constituency projects, if they involve us we’ll be able to tell them what we need and to participate fully in its execution,” he said.
The Chairman, Ekoro, Community Development Association (CDA), Segun Badmus, called on government to set up a committee to probe the exact money allocated for each of the projects and ensure that lawmakers responsible for them are dealt with.
“This is the right time for government to probe all these issues, there is serious impunity in the country and our lawmakers whom we voted into office are diverting money meant to provide facilities that will uplift our standard of living. This is a shame.”