Allow Rep Onuigbo to be, those casting aspersions have no good record of service – Abia office  

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By Chijindu Emeruwa

The office of the Member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/ Umuahia South federal Constituency of Abia state, at the House of Representatives, Hon , has frowned at uncovered clandestine activities of disgruntled elements to cast aspersion on the person of cerebral lawmaker.

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The Office was reacting to a media report linking him to the use of substandard materials on the construction of a block of two classrooms in Umutowe Primary School, Olokoro in Umuahia South Local government area of the state, at the cost of N20 million.

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In a worded statement by Abraham Osondu, the Liaison Officer to the Federal lawmaker, issued to journalist on Thursday in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, disclosed that the project specification provided for construction and furnishing of a three-classroom block, and not a block of two classrooms as falsely reported.

 

It confirmed that he attracted the project and was awarded to Impex Agro-Allied Nigeria Limited for the construction and furnishing of a block of three classrooms at the cost of N20 million, through the Universal Basic Education, under the Federal Ministry of Education’s UBEC) constituency projects.

 

The Office regretted that unknown to the lawmaker, the contractor deviated from the approved project specification, rather than a furnished block of three classrooms as specified in the contract, a block of two classrooms was poorly constructed, painted, and in already fading paint.

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It also revealed that the said cost of N20 million was not given to him for the project as he hinted that the state office UBEC was responsible for the disbursement of funds for any contract awarded in its name in the state, described as mischievous the evil activities of unscrupulous elements whom the office said, were serially defeated in 2015 and 2019 general elections, to malign him, and equally to creating a negative impression that the federal legislator has failed as representative of the people.

 

According to ,  many capital projects were approved to be sited in different parts of the country in 2017, the five southeastern states got several projects. In Abia State, some of the projects were spread across

 

But investigation showed that the contractor deviated from the projects’ specification.

 

A non-Governmental Organisation, Women Aid Collective (WACOL), had in June 2018, presented its independent budget monitoring report, which focused on three states of Enugu, Imo and Abia. In its reports, WACOL indicated that some of those projects were either abandoned or poorly executed.

 

One of such projects stood out in Abia State. One of them was the Umutowe Primary School, Olokoro, in Umuahia South Local Government Area, which is in Ikwuano/Umuahia federal constituency.

 

But, continuing, the Office of the Representative Member, partly narrated in the statement, “over the past few days, there has been a press conference by Ifeanyi Umere and then a commentary by a self-appointed ‘Ethical Dzar’ regarding a Constituency Project attracted by Rep. Sam I. Onuigbo to Umutowe Primary School in Olokoro, Umuahia South L.G.A. in 2017. The press conference and commentary were in response to an investigative report triggered by an earlier report in 2018 published by an NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) Women Aid Collective – alleging that projects in Enugu, Imo and the Abia States were either abandoned or poorly executed.

 

“Three projects were investigated: The Umutowe Primary School in Olokoro in Umuahia South L.G.A. and the construction of two halls in Ohanso Ndoki in Ukwa East and Ukwa West Federal Constituency. In the Umutowe case, the Reporter found everyone he visited and interviewed very cooperative – the Headmistress, Community Leaders and the Traditional Ruler. He concluded that the contractor deviated from the project specification (a block of three classrooms becoming a block of two classrooms) and that the building had become dilapidated – leaking roofs, broken furniture and peeling walls. Conversely, the same reporter was not granted access to the other two projects in Ohanso, Ukwa East LGA, apart from what he could glean from afar through his camera lenses – match point, setpoint and game over!

 

“Unfortunately, a clique of people, whose sole focus recently has been to find a way(albeit always unsuccessfully) to indict Rep. Onuigbo has found a way to turn an indictment on the contractor to discussions about Rep. Onuigbo.

 

“Permit me to intimate you with two similar cases that Rep. Sam I. Onuigbo has already redressed. He attracted a block of six classrooms (with executive toilets) to Community Primary School, Ekebedi Oboro in Ikwuano L.G.A— a school that had not received any form of assistance either from Local, State or Federal Government for 72 (seventy-two) years before Rep Onuigbo’s intervention. The contractor (appointed by the Federal Government through the Universal Basic Education Commission) quickly sneaked into Ekebedi to erect a block of two classrooms, instead of six classrooms with two executive toilets as proposed by Rep Onuigbo and advertised. When Rep Onuigbo heard this, he intervened and stopped the recalcitrant contractor. Following Rep Onuigbo’s petition to UBEC, the number of classrooms was increased to four. However, this dishonest contractor abandoned the project half way and ran away. The people of Ekebedi cried to Onuigbo for help. He responded by completing the project with his personal money to a sigh of relief by the Community in question. The Ekebedi school project was commissioned a few months ago. The same tragedy fell on Oloko Health Center in Ikwuano L.G.A. His efforts to use his private funds to complete the project was not enough until he sought and successfully secured additional funding for the project. This Health Center is now back on track and is about 90% complete at this point.

 

“The concept of ‘abandoned and shoddy projects’ in Nigeria is unfortunate, and the sad experience of shoddy work at Umutowe Primary School has nothing to do with Rep. Onuigbo. Rep Onuigbo does not know the contractor and did not appoint him. Neither did the report of the investigation indict him. Those seeking a linkage and or a ‘Causal-Effect’ relationship out of such woes are meddlesome interlopers. Incidentally, Rep. Sam I. Onuigbo attracted and commissioned a block of three classrooms at Umuajata Olokoro, a block of classrooms at Central School, Nsirimo both are in Umuahia South L.G.A. He also attracted and commissioned a block of classrooms at Model Girls’ Secondary School (Adanma Girls), Afugiri, Umuahia North LGA and many others. The ‘Mischief Makers’ will also not tell you about his successful Gully Erosion Projects at Ezeleke-Amachara in Umauhia South L.G.A (a project of about half a billion naira) and Okwe-Obuohia Road in Ikwuano L.G.A. The Skills Acquisition Centre at Apumiri, Ubakala, Umuahia South LGA. Neither will they tell you about his other numerous and successful electrification projects at Obuohia Ibere, Ndọrọ Oboro, Oboni Upa, Usaka, in Ikwuano LGA; Agbama, Olokoro Umuahia South, Umuagunglori – Afugiri, Umuahia North; Maryrose Umudike, Ikwuano; Amaeke Junction, Nkata Ibeku and many more across his entire Constituency.

 

“They also conveniently forgot the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Cottage Hospital, Obuohia Obi Ibere. They also forgot that right from June 2016, Rep Sam Onuigbo has been working with the Minister of Works and Housing on the urgent need for the total rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Umuahia-Ikwuano-Ịkọt Ekpene Federal Road. An effort that earned him a letter of commendation and commitment from the same ministry. Today, the sustained effort has yielded a good fruit of the Federal Government handing over the funding of the road which was awarded in 2019 at the cost of N13.2B to the NNPC.

 

“The Umutowe Primary School Report reminds me of ‘A Tale of Two Cities (a book by Charles Dickens). It tells a story of a family that was consumed and or haunted by the frightening events of the past. Essentially, it is about revolution, revenge and sacrifice – bringing freedom at the end. The said Report mirrors this tale of two cities – the Umutowe Primary School unfortunate outcome being amplified and weaponised against Rep. Sam I. Onuigbo, and its corresponding and or contemporary projects in Ukwa East as a passive comment. It is very clear to me that some people have entrenched themselves as political and ethical pariahs, not prepared to remove the plank in their eyes first, but can easily point to the speck in other people’s eyes. It is pathetic that political capital is being made out of genuine human misery. This is utterly repugnant. If this was an attempt to sniff out failed projects, we know that Rep Onuigbo has a solid record of verifiable performance and not tales of deceit and fraud with a stench to the high heavens. Rep Sam Onuigbo’s service is founded on the acronym of EAR – Effectiveness, Accessibility and Responsiveness.

 

“Rep. Sam I. Onuigbo is an effective and responsible representative of his Constituents, and will not be distracted by dastardly pirates and hawks. He is setting the standards that many are craving to emulate nationally and internationally. We, therefore, advise those who have no good record of service to please allow the people’s representative, Rep. Sam Onuigbo to continue to render service to his constituents which comprise the good people of great Ikwuano/Umuahia North and Umuahia South and other residents within this federal constituency”.

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