That N156billion waste
On August 8, Nigerians were again greeted with shock following disclosure by the Chairman, House Committee on Power in the House of Representatives, Magaji Da’u Aliyu, that power projects worth over N156 billion were abandoned or are yet to be completed by the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN).
Aliyu said: “We have over N156 billion uncompleted projects lying for over 10 years.”
He made the shocking revelation when he led some Committee members to visit two of such uncompleted power projects: a 240 MVA sub-station in Walalambe Community of Nasarawa Local Government Area and a 330 KVA station in Rimin Zakara, Ungogo Local Government Area in Kano State. He claimed that the projects were awarded about ten to sixteen years ago but had not reached the level of completion.
The discoveries add to the heap of several other reports generated and needing intervention in as many years. The most recent revelations, therefore, represent just a tip of the iceberg of how the collective wealth of the nation earmarked for development is frittered away to the detriment of the people.
Claims that the Walalambe and Zakara power projects had been abandoned for more than ten years raise fundamental questions on the workings of government.
1, Could this be the first time oversight duties are being conducted by lawmakers on the said projects?
2, If no, how many of such investigations had been conducted previously?
3, If there had been several other visitations with accompanying reports, how did the executive handle recommendations arising therefrom?
Without appropriate action effected over the years, it would seem that the country is simply being led on the path of wasteful ventures by its leaders. Further questions that should agitate the mind include:
1, Why award fresh contracts when older but similar projects are yet to be fully executed?
2, Are oversight functions designed to be mere jamborees and avenues to fritter scarce resources?
3, What sanctions have been served on defaulting contractors who swindle Nigerian people of their resources?
4, Is there a chance that a more proactive approach would serve the interest of the country better than combing the records when the damage is already done?
Perhaps, the stumbling block to finding credible answers or lasting solutions lie in the very strong insinuations that majority of lawmakers have compromised the oath they made to place the country’s interest before any other.
And, for the executives, there’s no better better time to demand transparency, accountability and commensurate sanctions for thieving individuals in both high and low places.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“Jonathan is the promoter of corruption. I am telling you that the Government of Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is the most corrupt in Nigerian history but (who) we have as president-elect of this country today (Muhammadu Buhari); the man I see as the nemesis of corruption?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
Omo-Agege on anti-graft laws
On August 7, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, while receiving representatives of the Good Leadership Advocacy for Africa (GLAFA) said the 9th Assembly was working to strengthen the nation’s anti-graft laws.
“Our jobs at the National Assembly is to assist President Buhari in strengthening these institutions, knowing full well that he will not be here forever. The National Assembly is strengthening the anti-corruption laws including the EFCC, ICPC enabling acts among others,” Omo-Agege was quoted to have said in a statement released by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yomi Odunga.
It is understood that one of the major tasks of any responsible government is to build strong institutions, and the Deputy-Senate President’s remarks were simply restating the obvious.
Indeed, the call to build enduring institutions strikes at the heart of recent challenges facing the government as it contends with the several mind-boggling corruption cases, prominent among which are those involving the helmsmen at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Omo-Agege and his fellow Senators have their jobs cut out for them in terms of convincing Nigerians that the legislature has not made itself a willing tool in the hands of the executive. For instance, the independence of EFCC and ICPC has been severally queried as both institutions have sometimes acted in manner clearly suggesting that they were on a mission to witch-hunt perceived enemies of the state.
Will Omo-Agege lead the charge to truly strengthen the nation’s anti-graft bodies? We wait to see him and his team match words with action. At the moment, the signs do not engender strong confidence that the executive is not manipulating certain institutions of state for selfish pursuit, and that includes the legislature!
Enabling the economy
Spokesman of the House, Benjamin Kalu, on August 8 stated that the House was poised to give considerable attention to legislations aimed to fast track the nation’s economy.
He was quoted to have said: “The Nigerian economy remains a priority for the 9th House and in the same manner with which it swiftly and diligently passed the Finance Act, the Deep Offshore Sharing Formula Act, and the revised Appropriation Act 2020, the House will continue to deploy strategic legislative interventions to improve governance and make the business environment more accommodating.”
These are definitely hard times for homes and industries as the COVID-19 pandemic has kept the economy on its knees. A promise by the House to discharge on one of its major mandates of making laws for the smooth running of the economy is in line with basic expectations.
With the signing of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (amendment) Bill (CAMA), into law by President Buhari on August 7, the National Assembly already made a bold statement of its resolve.
Business leaders have always advocated that the government should expedite effort to make laws and policies that would see that Nigerian business environment is conducive for all. The debilitating demands of setting up and doing business in the country have seen most budding entrepreneurs gasping for breath. This is where the legislative arm of government must acquit itself diligently.
Answer: Dino Melaye
Former Senator Dino Melaye made the statement on May 14, 2015 during an interview with an online platform. He was a former House of Representative and senator-elect of Kogi West Senatorial District when he made the statement.
By John Chukwu…
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