Palmer Ogheneyole Nathaniel
Since gaining her independence from a suppressive British rule, Nigeria have remained a country reputed for some of the soundest political philosophies ever. From democracy through Parliamentary system of government, and to Federalism and total decentralization of power, Nigeria has copied all of the functional political and governmental concepts known to mankind but failed abysmally to optimally utilize their dictates and contents.
Until the appointment of Olorogun (Hon.) Evance Ivwurie, an alumnus of the renowned Harvard University, an Abraka and Agbon son with the gentility of a dove and the heart of a lion; a fierce defender of the Ethiope Nation, as Chairman House of Assembly Committee on Works, nobody knew the extent of powers conferred on the Legislative Arm by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, to checkmate, oversee and censor the executive in multi-dimensional ramifications. Until the emergence of a man who is not moved by the scent of filthy lucre as the Chairman of the House Committee on Works, many thought some contractors were bigger than the State. Today, Ivwurie has demystified the mighty and returned power to where it rightly belonged. Today, Legislative Oversight is no longer a mere political vocabulary but a practice that accentuates the principle of checks and balances in a truly functional democracy.
The Asaba “International” airport is one project that is capable of making Deltans weep if specifics of its transactions are let loose. A supposed developmental project turned extortionist venture by a super contractor who was obviously a bedmate of the initiating government. From an initial amount of 6 billion, the contract was reviewed to an astonishing 27.7 billon. Total sums paid to the contracting firm, yet the airport is nothing other than a glorified warehouse. At some point, while justifying the need for more upward review of the project, the State Government then, allegedly cited the need to demolish “Ant Hills” (whatever that means) around the airport for hitch-free landing of massive planes. This exercise cost the state a whopping 7 billon, an amount far higher than the initial cost of the airport. These sums have been fully paid according to documents from the Accountant-General’s Office, yet the airport remained a sorry shadow of itself.
The Asaba-Ughelli road dualization (section B) is also one of the projects where our common patrimony were looted with unheard impunity. For this project alone, Ivwurie’s committee has alleged that ULO Construction, received a total of N7.4 billion. A drive round the area mentioned will confirm that there is absolutely nothing to show for the paid amount. The road as strategic as it is, still remains a sad commentary on the brazen failure of government to be alive to its responsibility.
The Mariam Babangida Way is another road awarded to ULO Construction by the former Administration. The road is one of the most important and strategic roads in Asaba. From the Benin-Onitsha Expressway, one could connect the heart of Asaba through the said road without necessarily passing through the Summit road. The road contract which was awarded many years ago, has since been abandoned after ULO and his manfriday, allegedly collected over 200million. The story goes on and on. However, what endlessly agitate the minds of many is that the more ULO messes up flagship projects, the more the former government continued to patronize it.
In all of these, the good news for Deltans today is that the awkward days of ULO is gone. Successfully, the Ivwurie committee has kicked ULO out of the three key projects it has endlessly fleeced the State for. The contracts had been revoked and a more competent contractor in Setraco Nig has been given the mandate to do justice to these jobs. Work is in progress in Asaba Airport and it is expected to be commissioned any time soon. Ivwurie has stated clearly that as long as his Committee continue to oversight the Works Ministry in the State, never again will our common wealth be sacrificed in the alter of political patronage. Never again will our common patrimony be used as kolanuts for political contractors and godfathers. For Ivwurie and his team of ever-proactive lawmakers, it is either the job is done or you get booted-out through the instrumentality of the law.
Let it be known that since Olorogun Evance Ivwurie, turned down the rogue contractor’s bribe, there has been series of threat to his life. Sometimes, in the vainglory of stupendous wealth, these set of people believes they are untouchable. They are in possession of huge sums of money that they vacuously beleive no one can stand up to them. The Lawmaker has formally written to the Inspector-General of Police, intimating him of the development. A formal investigation is ongoing, and Ivwurie is appealing to Deltans particularly his Constituents to remain calm as he is fighting a just cause.