Stakeholders in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, including the senator representing the capital city, Senator Philip Aduda, have identified sustainability as the major challenge of the various constituency projects around Nigeria.
They also expressed concerns over accountability and protection for the projects cited in communities to improve their living standards.
The worries were expressed at a Radio Town Hall Meeting (RTHM) organized on Friday by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG).
The event brought together community leaders in the FCT and FCT Senator to discuss the challenges of accountability and sustainability of constituency projects in the capital city.
The radio program was organized against the backdrop of criticisms and allegations of corruption trailing the execution of Constituency projects in the country.
Senator Aduda tasked his constituents and residents of the nation’s capital with protecting and sustaining constituency projects sited in their communities.
The Senator also identified the late release of budgeted funds as a major challenge in the timely execution of the constituency projects
He was represented by his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Danjuma Samuel Shekwolo.
The lawmaker revealed that without the introduction of the Zonal Intervention Programme (ZIP), popularly called constituency projects, several communities in Nigeria would never feel the presence of the Federal Government.
According to Shekwolo, FCT communities are reminded during their periodic constituency visitation that it’s their responsibility to sustain and protect projects sited in their locality.
His words: “We have this team that normally goes back to the communities to visit all the projects from the starting point to the finishing level, and when we are handing over projects, we tell the community and the leaders that these projects are your projects from government, the best you can do is to make sure you sustain them.”
On challenges of late release of funds, he said, “look now the budget of 2022 was signed into law, but implementation is a bit slow, so instead of having the project completed maybe in the time frame of 2022, the project will start towards the end of 2022, like November or December, towards January 2023. So before you know it, adequate funds are not released to either the agency, then the agency too will start their implementation, they will tell you they don’t have enough funds, the contractor will go back to the site to start their work, and it takes a long time,” Shekwolo stressed.
He assured residents of the Pegi community in the Kuje Area Council of his readiness to intervene in the abandoned construction of the 14km Kuje-Dafara road.
The Chairman, Pegi Community Development Association (PECDA), Taiwo Aderibigbe, had called into the programme and Pleaded with Senator Aduda to use his influence and ensure work returned on the Kuje-Dafara road to alleviate the suffering of residents of Pegi.
Aderibigbe also called on the lawmaker to interface more with the community to ensure projects initiated by him are truly what the community wants.
“I see two projects that have been initiated in two villages within the Pegi community. They are sinking two boreholes as if the borehole is the only problem confronting the residents. The children cannot go to a good school because of poor facilities.
“What about the health centers that we said we needed? I don’t think Senator Aduda has had any public interface with Pegi residents, his constituency in Kuje. I beg him to use his influence as a senator to fast-track the completion of these projects,” Aderibigbe stated.
Other participants at the meeting include the District Head Of Pigba-Sama Community, Apo, Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Chief Emmanuel Gade, Pioneer Principal, Junior Secondary Kaida Sabo, Gwagwalada, Dance Ubwai Peter, and; Youth Leader, Ajina Community, Abaji, Umar Sandatu.
They lauded the impact of the constituency projects in their communities and called on the government to address other infrastructural needs of their communities.
The PRIMORG’s Radio Town Hall Meeting on Constituency Projects seeks to encourage citizens to take ownership of Zonal Intervention Projects (ZIP) and promote accountability and sustainability in their execution and usage.
The radio program runs with support from the MacArthur Foundation.