I really will want to go straight to the point and tell you what our team found out in Abuochiche. But let me quickly address additional concerns raised by the Hon. Member in his response.
1. That I am being used by politicians under the guise of journalism to fight him. But you see ehn, anytime anyone throws accusations of this kind at me, I actually consider it as “see finish” and I will tell you why. I cannot fathom, even in my wildest imagination, that at 43 years of age and with all that life has taught me, I am not supposed to have a mind of my own to make decisions or ask questions until someone somewhere bank rolls me? Anyone still holed up in that conundrum about me, is patently oblivious of my activities in the past two decades. I am not available for any politician in Cross River or else where to use. If anyone, including the person making the allegation, has ever used me, they should say so or keep shut and answer the questions I am raising.
2. That why did I start to ask questions under him? I should begin to ask my questions from the past. I don’t know how to even characterize this kind of question from a public officer. So because our people did not ask questions yesterday, we should also remain silent today? That is what you, our leaders want. That is what we, your followers, are resisting. There is no better time to ask questions than now.
3. That I am transferring my hatred for Governor Ayade to him. Me and Governor Ayade are not quarrelling. I talk with the governor at least once a week. I must call him to ask him questions. It’s my job and it must be done. I think by now, the governor must have come to the conclusion that he can’t change me or do anything about my crirical nature. He has tried and has given up. Someone is just using Ayade to take cover. Face the issues, I repeat!
4. That no member of NASS handles any constituency contracts and concerns should be addressed to the companies that handled the jobs. I know this is true. But it is also true that the Rep is supposed to give the company an all clear and satisfactory report before the contractor can be paid. What did you write for them Hon? Like Emmanuel Ushie asked: “If they had approved a university for you in your Constituency and the contractor builds a primary school, will you not complain?
Now back to the Youth Center in Abuochiche. The contract was awarded to Ayioludo Nigeria Limited based in Igbeku-Yala LGA, for the completion and upgrade of the main building at the Youth Resource Center, Abuochiche, Bekwara LGA at the cost of N245,443,410.48k and to be completed 12 months from the date of award of contract.
Our team visited the project site and observed that:
i. Though they weren’t workers on site, but work appears to be ongoing. New coaches of blocks were piled on the existing building.
ii. Our findings revealed that the building is an existing one that Hon. Legor began while he was Chairman of Bekwara LGA. He couldn’t complete it. It was supposed to be a Youth Resource Center too. Sources say the initial project was awarded for N83million by Bekwara LGA under Legor when he was Chairman. This information has not been confirmed independently. I reached out to officials of Bekwara Council for confirmation but the officials are not willing to talk. They just don’t want to comment on the matter.
iii. Building materials like sand, iron rods, gravel etc were seen packed outside the building.
iv. Despite remaining uncompleted, one wing of the building was completed and was commissioned by former governor Imoke.
v. That part is painted and has a few plastic chairs inside and we were told the place was been utilized by CUSO International, a Canadian charity working globally to end poverty and inequality. It wasn’t immediately clear whether CUSO is renting the small space or it was donated.
A. I am just curious; why was the initial building project by the LGA abandoned, before Hon. Legor became MP?
B. Since the project still has till November 2021 to be completed, I think iT will be hasty to conclude anything yet. We will just keep monitoring progress of work.
C. Constituents will require additional documents or annexures to the contract award letter to ascertain the scope of work to be done and facilities to expect. This way, monitoring and evaluation will be enhanced.
Citizen Agba Jalingo is the publisher of CrossRiverWatch and writes from Lagos State.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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