…As He Sets Tone For Round Two of Robust Representation
“How much did Nigeria spend on power projects between 1999 and 2007? Is it $5billion dollars or $10billion dollars or $16billion dollars or more or less? For the years we were indebted to several creditors (including contractors) no one truly knew how much we owed, how much we had paid and how much remained to be paid. All we knew was that we were paying something and we still owe something”.
The above excerpt is an extract from a publication by ace writer and veteran journalist, Ray Ekpu, titled; AS IT WAS, SO IT IS, published in 2012.
It is the expression of the depth of Nigeria’s woes and conscienceless recklessness that public projects are abandoned despite huge investments of taxpayers’ money.
But there seems to be hope and a beam of light in the tunnel as a member of the current 9th assembly has spoken up, calling for action against the myriads of abandoned projects from 1999 till date.
Soon after the inauguration of the 9th Assembly the member representing Ikot Abasi, Mkpat Enin and Eastern Obolo Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Abuja, Rt. Hon. Francis Uduyok presented a motion that could be described as the 9th Assembly’s most fundamental action on the floor of the House so far.
The promptness of the motion, having been presented few days just after the House leadership was inaugurated portrays a colouration that immediately he won the second term elections, the sponsor began working on how to solve the puzzle of abandoned projects which has remained a National embarrassment for decades.
Since the issue of abandoned projects hit the floor of the National Assembly, it has become a burning issue in Nigeria’s polity and a national discussion that has refused to lose relevance, neither has Hon. Uduyok rested as many International Television stations including Channels TV, NTAi, AIT and others have taken their turn to host the member to shed more light on what could be described as an ‘intellectual revolution’ which he has initiated in an attempt to tackle myriad of abandoned federal projects, littering the landscape of Nigeria.
From the NDDC projects in Niger Delta region, Calabar/ITU to Aba road, East-West road, Benin/Ore Express road, NIPP Power Projects, railway projects, Dams, bridges amongst thousands of other projects have become permanent decimals in Nigeria’s budget history for decades. They appear yearly in the budget but no one ever asks how much has so far been budgeted or how much has been released, how much is left to be paid, the level of the job done and what level of job remains to be done? All we do is budget and quote billions.
Ameliorating such flummox act of budgeting remains the intention of the motion sponsored by the second term lawmaker in an attempt to raise a National consciousness to the billions of dollars that Nigeria as a nation has a loss and is still losing to uncontrolled abandonment of projects by the Federal Government and its attendant setbacks.
An excerpt from the motion sponsored by Hon. Uduyok and the resolution of the House of Reps issued on 25th July 2019 reads: _
” _The House: Notes the alarming number of projects which were awarded to contractors by Federal Government Agencies, Parastatals, Ministries, Commissions and Boards from 1999 that have been abandoned;
“Also notes that a large number of those projects estimated to be over 20,000 have received advanced payments of not less than 50℅ and other payments which in total, amount to billions of naira;
Further notes that some of those abandoned projects include important establishments like dams, hospitals, buildings, bridges, steel companies, and access roads, like the East-West road, awarded in 2006 and yet to be completed after more than a decade;
Concerned that the abandoned projects have become pipes that drain Federal Government’s funds due to the inflationary rate that obtains when the Government decides to revive the projects many years after they were awarded;
“Aware that even though this trend has been in vogue, there is need to change it if the nation is to have a meaningful development in terms of infrastructure and social services;
Also concerned that some of those abandoned projects are currently being occupied by hoodlums and miscreants who use them as abodes to plan their nefarious activities;
Believes in the vision of the current Administration to move the nation forward, hence the need to factor into future budgets funds to ensure the completion of those projects_ “.
To show the importance of the motion, soon after it hit the floor of the House of Reps, members supported it and the House leadership through Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila inaugurated a committee of works headed by Rt. Hon. Francis Uduyok as the Chairman and nine other members to amongst other things, take inventory of abandoned projects in Nigeria since 1999 to date, investigate the level of payment, level of the job done and causes of abandonment amongst other things.
And it is interesting to note that the committee has begun to work. Just few days ago, the committee held a public hearing with stakeholders of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC to take stock and untravel the true position of projects awarded by the interventionist agency since year 2000. This evidently indicates that there is hope for the nation.
Needless to emphasize that Rt. Hon. Uduyok through this motion has made a categorical statement that he is set to offer quality legislative services to Nigerians in his second coming and as chairman of the ad-hoc committee on works (anandoned projects) he is already leading Nigeria on a rescue mission from chronic abandonment of projects to an anticipated era of infrastructural renaissance.
As usual, his constituents can be assured of substantial empowerment programmes at homefront (which he has started) and robust representation on the floor of the House.
(Aniedi Ukoenang is Akwa Ibom based Journalist and Uduyok’s constituent- 08065566247