Poor implementation by contractors, inadequate coordination by relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the dearth of funds are some of the reasons Kwara Central Senator, Bukola Saraki, gave for poorly implemented projects in his constituency.
Mr Saraki was reacting to the first part of a PREMIUM TIMES’ report titled; “SPECIAL REPORT: Kwara residents groan as projects nominated by Saraki abandoned, poorly implemented.”
The report, published on December 1, captured how residents of Kwara Central still suffer as multi-million naira projects initiated by Mr Saraki either lie abandoned, poorly implemented or less than half done.
The second part of the report was published on December 22.
In a statement by Olayinka Ibrahim, the Director of Projects, ABS Constituency Office, the lawmaker absolved himself of any wrongdoing, claiming the report was misleading.
Not less than three of Mr Saraki’s media aides were contacted by PREMIUM TIMES in the course of the report. Meanwhile, only Mr Ibrahim, the fourth contacted, offered explanations on why the projects are in their current state.
Mr Ibrahim also condemned the poor execution of the projects especially the road project at Ero Omo Kilanko rural road and the Sheik Agbarigidoma Road.
In the Sunday statement, Mr Saraki blamed the contractor and the Ministry of Agriculture for poor implementation of the N50 million Ero Omo Kilanko Road.
“Regarding the Ero Omo Kilanko community road: Neither the contractor for the project nor the Ministry of Agriculture —the coordinating MDA — informed the ABS Constituency Office about the commencement of the road project in the area.
“Over the years, the standing practice for such issues has been for the MDA that is implementing the project to communicate with the Constituency Office. This practice allows the Constituency Office to monitor the project’s implementation from commencement to when the project is finally handed over to the community.”
In September, PREMIUM TIMES found the road, said to be constructed in March, laced with potholes and without a drainage system.
At the entrance of the road lies two signages, erected by two companies both laying claim to the project. RKK Inspire Limited and Royal Value Int’l Limited raised their signage almost side by side. It is not clear which contractor Mr Saraki is referring to.
Reacting to the report on the Agbarigidoma Road, Mr Saraki confirmed that the ‘newly constructed road’ is in a bad state but blamed the contractor.
“Regarding the Agbari Gidoma Road in Ilorin West Local Government: The contractor handling the project communicated that the project had been awarded to the ABS Constituency Office. Thereafter, the Director of Projects in the Constituency Office visited the site, alongside the contractor, to inform the community about the project.
“At the meeting with the community, the Director of Projects advised the community to constitute a project committee that will relate with the contractor. Additionally, in order to ensure that the community was apprised of the project specifications (i.e. the road length, etc.) the Director of Projects specifically requested that copies of the project documents be given to community leaders.
“After the project was completed — according to the approved scope in the project award letter by the authorising Ministry — the community wrote to the ABS Constituency Office thanking it for facilitating the project and expressing satisfaction with the project.
“It is entirely valid that subsequently, potholes developed on the road. However, it is important to state that when the ABS Constituency Office became apprised of the potholes, the Director of Projects wrote to the Ministry of Agriculture (within the project liability period) asking the Ministry to immediately ensure that the potholes were worked on and other issues were corrected.
“The contractor was duly informed by the Ministry, and since then, Engineers have been sent to address the defects. Additionally, there is also a standing resolution by the Ministry that the interlocking tiles should be used for this particular project as it is situated in a water-logged area.
“The steps taken by the ABS Constituency Office to address the issue have since been communicated to leaders of the affected community.”
Again, the statement failed to state why the N50 million 5-kilometre project stopped at one kilometre.
Another project captured in the report is a N100 million Sapati Road in Afon Local Government which was found less than half-done by PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr Saraki, however, blames the dearth of funds for the 2017 project.
“Regarding the Sapati Road: This is a project under the Ministry of Environment. Some lengths of the concrete drainage system have been constructed since the project commenced, however, these systems have not been filled and asphalted.
“According to the Resident Engineer, the project is currently undergoing funding issues at the Ministry.”
However, Mr Saraki’s explanation contradicts documents obtained from the official government agencies.
According to an FOI response from the Federal Ministry of Environment, N70 million out N100 million has been released for the Sapati Road project.
The document captured the project, undertaken by M/S Bukas Engineering LTD, as 96 per cent complete.
This was corroborated by FOI response from the Office of the Accountant-General which quoted 2017 Zonal Intervention Projects as 70 per cent funded.
None of these three projects was half done.
OUR ROLE IN IMPLEMENTATION- SARAKI
The statement went further to ‘educate’ on the role of parties in constituency projects’ execution
The statement reads, “Apart from facilitating the inclusion of constituency projects in the budget, the legislators have limited input during the execution.
“The Ministries are in-charge of all the processes, which include: the procurements for projects and the award of projects to contractors. However, it is necessary to state that as the Ministries embark on such projects, it is incumbent on the Ministry Engineers to visit the project sites to prepare the bill of engineering measurements and evaluations prior to the bidding and the contract awards.
“It is also important to state that it is the project engineers from the MDAs who raise the Certificates of Valuations (CV) on projects executed by the contractors. This CV generated by officials of the Ministry is the document that certifies that contractors have executed the projects as designed and that the contractors are due for payments. Constituency offices have no input in this process — and are not consulted by the MDAs — despite the fact that they are closer to the community.
“It is also the MDAs that raise the Certificate of Completion to contractors on every project assumed to have been completed. When a Ministry raises this completion certificate, it explicitly endorses the work of the contractor as being satisfactory. Again, many Ministries do not do their due diligence on this by consulting the Constituency Office.”
The statement notes that the ABS Constituency Office has compelled contractors to implement constituency projects to the highest standards. It also notes that contractors have been re-mobilised to Agbari Gidoma Road.