To nip the spate of abandoned projects in the country, especially the Southeast nigeria in the bud, Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have urged the National Assembly and State Houses of Assemblies to come up with working bills seeking legislation against project abandonment in the country.
It would be recalled that Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) since 2014 during the Strengthening Advocacy for Civic Engagement, SACE project which is funded by USAID has continued to advocate for completion of projects in the country, especially in Imo State, where CCIDESOR worked. The survey gathered that across Nigeria, over 12,000 abandoned projects, capable of providing jobs for teeming youths were scattered uncompleted.
As at 2014 about 121 capital projects mapped by 129 partners across six local governments of Obowo, Ahiazu Mbaise, Isiala Mbano, Ohaji/Egbema, Oguta and Ngor Okpala spanning through the three senatorial zones of Imo State around Health and Education, out of the 121 capital projects, 32 were completed without quality, 51 projects were ongoing/uncompleted, while 34 projects were abandoned. He hinted that about 4 projects were not identified nor started as at 2014.
Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) has been sustaining the advocacy and engagements to Imo State House of Assembly, Government House and relevant stakeholders towards ensuring that workable laws against the abandonment of projects are put in place. The call by EFCC has again added voice to the advocacy of CCIDESOR on spate of abandonment of projects by successive governments.
According to https://leadership.ng, the Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, noted that once there is a law, it will serve as a deterrent to successive governments which abandon projects into which state funds have been invested. Magu expressed regret that Nigeria is littered with abandoned projects. The EFCC Boss noted that the commission was ready to wrestle the challenges of poorly conceived and politically motivated projects, lack of continuity in the execution of projects by successive governments and non-adherence to procurement and contractual agreements by parties.
It is unfortunate that many projects into which huge sums of the country’s scare resources had been invested are abandoned in various stages of execution with most of them rotting away and over grown with weeds. Some of the root causes of project abandonment in Nigeria are lack of well articulated visions and objectives, lack of adequate planning for the project at inception, inadequate budgetary allocation before projects are embarked upon, ineffective legal system poor, contract documentation, corruption and collusion
Indeed, if the National Assembly acts precipitously on the bill, it may come up with an additional legislation to provide for fines and sanctions against contractors and ensure that issues of contract abandonment become history in Nigeria. The amendment to the Public Procurement Act by the National Assembly will also help to a great extent in addressing issues of abandoned projects. An effective procurement process is very important because the procedure for awarding contracts hinge on the basic principles of procurement as well as tendering and selection of capable hands to execute the projects.
In line with ensuring good governance, accountability and deepening democracy in the Southeast Nigeria, CCIDESOR under National Endowment For Democracy (NED) has through its Democracy Clinic urged elected representatives to be accountability to the citizens who elected them, especially that documentation of campaign promises as the elections draws near will help in holding the leaders accountable.
Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights, CCIDESOR has been charged to heighten campaign around Open Government Partnership, OGP in Imo state towards ensuring that the state signs up.
This was the decision of the one day Southeast Citizens Constituents Interaction/Experience Sharing on OGP Process Engagement, held in Awka, Anambra state where experiences and learning from one another on the progress of the OGP processes in the different states were shared.
It was observed that Imo is the only state that is yet to sign on to OGP. The current position of Imo is that the governor is yet to apply to the OGP secretariat to sign on. It was observed that the former Chief of Staff had written the letter of intent for governors signature, but it is yet to be signed by the Governor.
Uchenna Arisiukwu from Center LSD took participants through the processes of developing the State Action Plan (SAP) and how to put same in operation.
Mr Sundayson Chidi, a staff of PERL worked the participants through an action plan for further engagement. The different states presented an action plan going forward with actual activities, lead persons and time line.
However, the Imo State Plan in going forward centered on continued advocacy to obtain the Governors signature for the letter of intent to sign on to the OGP, engage in extensive Public Awareness Campaign to highlight the need for Imo to sign on to OGP and to work to build capacity of members to be able to engage and participate actively in developing the State Action Plan.
Executive Director of CCIDESOR, Obidi Mgbemena was at the meeting to relate the outcome to other CSOs and NGOs in Imo State.
Rising from its 2018 Annual Learning Summit (ALS), the Strengthening Advocacy for Civic Engagement, SACE project which is funded by USAID has given certificate of participation to Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights, CCIDESOR for its effort on Open Budget and Good Governance in Imo State.
The presentation of certificate was given to the Executive Director of Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights, CCIDESOR, Obidi Mgbemena at Transcorp Hotel Abuja during their 2018 Annual Learning Summit.
It would be recalled that the SACE/USAID project started with Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights, CCIDESOR in 2014 with mapping of abandoned projects with its partners and then moved into the second phase with Open Budget, Good Governance andCitizens Participation in the budget process.
Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights, CCIDESOR has remained the only CSO in Imo State and Southeast that has continued to raise serious campaign against abandonment of projects in the state. Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights, CCIDESOR has however pledged its determination to continue its advocacy for development in line with ensuring that budget is open and that the spate of abandoned projects are stopped in Imo state and Nigeria at large.
In a bid to deepen development across the Niger Delta and to ensure that Civil Society Organizations working in the area are encouraged to do their developmental work, the Partnership Initiative for Niger Delta (PIND) has awarded CCIDESOR with high performance Laptop and Canon Still/Motion Camera.
CCIDESOR also received through its Program Officer, Anita Udeh DXO Photo Editing Software for effective story telling and Quickbooks Accounting software for easy accounts reporting. PIND under the Capable Challenge Fund project alongside CCIDESOR, also empowered about 11 other CSOs/NGOs in Niger Delta.
In her speech, the PIND Field Operative Manager, Florence Agbejune called on the CSOs/NGOs to make good use of the materials effectively. She said PIND will be visiting the organizations to know the state of the materials.
The Board, Management and Staff of CCIDESOR have thanked PIND Foundation for the donation and assured it that CCIDESOR will use the equipment effectively and contribute to the development and good governance in Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.