By Joy Asikoko

 

Participants during the campaign meeting.

He charged the public to ensure that any politician that collects money for community projects execute such projects from commencement to completion.

Members of the public have been charged to closely monitor any politician who collects money for community development projects so as to ensure that such projects are commenced and executed to completion.

Director General of the National Orientation Agency, NOA, Dr Garba Abari gave the charge during an awareness campaign on constituency projects monitoring The campaign was also meant to further the collaboration between the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA)

The campaign themed “My Constituency, My Project” held on Tuesday 17th March, 2020, at Orchid Hotels Asaba is a new initiative introduced late last year that would ensure maximum participation of citizens in tracking constituency projects while holding representatives overseeing the projects accountable.

While saying that the partnership aims to fight corruption in the system, NOA Director-General (DG) Dr Garba Abari stated that it is a move to ensure that every fund allocated for the implementation of constituency project equal what is delivered by contractors and other parties.

Dr Abari who was represented by the NOA Delta State Directorate’s Director,  Mr John Ifeakachukwu Emah, decried the deplorable states of constituency projects and the gross fund misappropriation in the development sector which unfortunately is often fuelled by the lax attitude of project supervisors in monitoring contractors.

The NOA D-G stated that the partnership between the ICPC, NOA and other stakeholders was key to achieve the objectives of this campaign, pointing out that another important aspect of constituency projects campaign was the feedback mechanism the NOA is known for.

Dr. Abari noted that the citizens needed to know whom to report to and the avenue to use, pointing out that the people on ground would be the ears and eyes of the ICPC so that visits to the project sites would not be a “costume”.

In his remarks, Olatunji Yusuf, Delta Edo States ICPC Commissioner disclosed that the public enlightenment efforts centre  on constituency and government projects in communities and the roles citizens have to play to make everyone benefit from the projects.

Yusuf said constituency projects are the projects that are slated by legislators and provided for in the budgets of government ministries and agencies for execution whereas there are other projects that developed and implemented directly by the Executive arm of government.

The ICPC chief condemned the culture of branding constituency projects as a personal favour to the citizens, noting that the new campaign is designed to educate and encourage the citizens to take ownership of government offers as theirs.

He urged the NOA to be proactive in the new partnership towards carrying out their duties as a government orientation agency to ensure that the campaign yields the desired results.

Odogwu Preye, ICPC field official, during the presentation of the new campaign, also expressed concern about the opacity around the constituency projects.

“Citizens do not  even know that the government funds these projects through tax returns and it has been confused for ‘goodwill’ donations by politicians.”

Also bemoaning the slow pace of implementation of constituency projects, Patricia Nkiru Umunna (Mrs) NOA Delta State Assistant Director (AD) human resources and Administration recommended the creation of an independent committee that would query political dealings at the local government level.

  1. N. Umunna noted that Corruption in constituency project is not just criminal but wicked. “this is no different from a father raping his daughter”. She lamented

Other stakeholders at the event such as media practitioners and non-governmental organisations also recommended that detail of constituency projects should be made accessible to the public online,

Participants at the colourful town hall meeting includes the Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), media practitioners, clergymen, community leaders and their representatives from the 25 local government areas of the state among others.

…..ICPC begins compilation of abandoned constituency projects in Delta

 

ICPC/NOA logo

Meanwhile, the ICPC has begun compilation of abandoned constituency projects in Delta State.

This was disclosed by the Edo/Delta Commissioner of the ICPC, Mr Yusuf Olatunji while addressing stakeholders at the Town Hall Meeting on ‘My Constituency, My Project’ on Tuesday in Asaba.

Olatunji noted that the commission’s drive to stop corruption in project executed by government led to the launch of its Constituency Project Tracking Group (CPTG) initiative in 2019.

The Commission had commenced its first phase of tracking with 12 states.

He said that the tracking has yielded lots of results, adding that many projects which were abandoned came to life as concerned contractors returned to site to complete the projects.

Olatunji called on the people to support the ICPC by reporting any abandoned projects in their communities to the commission for onward investigation, adding that fight against corruption was a collective one.

According to him, the meeting is to bring to the knowledge of the public that constituency projects are for the communities and not a donation by their political representatives.

“In our pilot phase, we have tracked constituency projects in 12 states and now we are set to move to other states, including Delta.

“The commission has the mandate to investigate reports of corruption and to prosecute offenders.

“To examine the ways government organisations carry out their work and correct those practices that allow corruption to take place.

“We are also to carry out public enlightenment and education to gain the public support for the anti-corruption fight.

“Today’s town hall meeting centers on constituency and government project in this community and the roles citizens have to play to make everyone benefit from the projects.

“The CPTG was a huge success with the communities in all the states, a lot of abandoned projects were completed, while others are being completed.

“We have started compiling abandoned projects in Delta among other states as we are about to commence the second phase of the CPTG to cover other states,” Olatunji said.

Dr Garba Abari, Director -General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), represented by Mr John Emah, Delta Director, of the agency, said constituency projects were meant to improve the well being of the people.

He called on the people to adopt a new template for implementing constituency projects by owning the entire process from conception to execution.

“It is through this that the aims of bringing government to the grassroots will be achieved.

“Constituency projects help to give tangible meaning to the people representation at the National Assembly.

“It also gives the representatives of the people the required opportunity to identify infrastructural lapses in their domain for government intervention.

“This is two decades of uninterrupted democracy in our country; our concern should be how this vehicle of development can be made to deliver the desired gains to the people.

“This is the basis for the new partnership between NOA and the ICPC,” Abari said.

The meeting was well attended by various stakeholders, including public servants and paramilitary agencies, who sought to know how to confront situations of poor execution of constituency projects.