A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, has said some of the projects he facilitated for implementation in his constituency are still ongoing as he tried to allay worries that they are abandoned.
In the past days, some constituents of Ekweremadu’s Enugu West Senatorial District were reported to have lamented that projects attracted by the senator and another lawmaker, Toby Okechukwu, had been abandoned.
The constituents, including traditional rulers, town union presidents and others, spoke during the presentation of the Awgu Community Constituency Project Tracking Report (2015–2018). The report was sponsored by a local NGO, Divine Era Development and Social Rights Initiatives (DEDSRI), in partnership with Action Aid Nigeria and with the support of UKaid.
But in a statement on Wednesday, Ekweremadu’s Special Assistant on Projects, Jonathan Ivoke, said Enugu West remains the flagship in the implementation of constituency projects in the country.
Ivoke said: “The Ogwuma Rural Road Rehabilitation project was first included in 2017 Zonal intervention project under Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the Presidency. Unfortunately, it was not awarded by the Presidency due to lack of funds. It was then rolled over to the 2018 budget under Ministry of Environment and awarded. The work involved is the restoration of eroded surface and laying of asphalt and it is ongoing.
“Umuhu Owelli Erosion Control Project is ongoing. Asphalt was laid before the rains and will continue after the rains because it is also included in the 2019 budget.
“The Amata, Ituku Erosion Control Project is also ongoing. Some drainage work has just been done, awaiting asphalting immediately after the rains.
“The road project at Mgbowo attracted by Senator Ekweremadu has since been completed by the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and commissioned. This can easily be verified from anybody from Mgbowo.
“Equally, at Ogboli Awgu, earthworks, drainage and asphalt were done as at 2017 budget year under Anambra Imo River Basin Development Authority (AIRBDA) before funding problems set in, but surely it will be completed.
“The Youth Development Centre, Awgu, has since been completed through our modest efforts and handed over to the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) for use as their Study Centre in Enugu West. Maintenance, specifically clearing and fumigation, was done by the Ministry of Youth and Sport and it is now the responsibility of NOUN to maintain the facility.
“Our Enugu West Water for All Programme is also very effective and functional. With the drilling machine we acquired, we have done two boreholes at Mgbowo and one each at Ogugu, Agbogugu, and Ogbaku all in Awgu in the last two weeks alone. We have also done four in Ezeagu LGA, six in Udi LGA, and four in Aninri LGA. We have installed overhead tanks and fetching points at three sites and we are working on the rest”.
Although he hailed the project tracking initiative, he requested efforts should be made to get status information from MDAs.
“Tracking of constituency project is a very positive development. It affords the citizens the opportunity of knowing what their representative does and how the FG MDAs carry out their statutory responsibilities.
“However, I want to request that visits should be made to the Directors of Projects of the various MDAs for proper inquiries on project status so as not to give the public the wrong impressions that any lawmaker was given money to build anything for them and he or she fails to do so.
“I also want to appeal to communities to set in motion structures for the protection and maintenance of amenities sited in their domains. When these are not done, they could go bad or get vandalised and be misconstrued as abandoned or failed projects, and the Senator as well as the House Member representing Aninri/Awgu/Oji River Federal Constituency, Hon. Toby Okechukwu has had to personally bear such costs on several occasions,” he added.