By Prince Idris Afegbua
The tour of the North-Central zone of the country by the Senate Committee on Works was a mandate of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to deliver quality job for sustainability and alleviation of the masses. The chairman of the Committee, Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya (APC Kano South) and vice president Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Africa, told journalists in Kogi State during the tour of federal projects that the federal government has committed substantial part of the 2017 appropriation to ensure the realisation of the feat.
According to him, President Buhari is very passionate about the plight of the masses and therefore, shoddy job on federal roads will not be tolerated by the committee in any part of the country. The many years of suffering by the electorate should be numbered in line with the change mantra of the Buhari-led administration.
The tour of federal projects in the North-Central states of the country by the Senate committee on Works reveals that it is possible, despite all insinuations about corruption in the country that public officers could stand out. This was the case as the interactions between the lawmakers and contractors handling federal projects in the zone attest to the fact as there were no inducements of honorarium noticed but if they were, the senators were on business and the zeal to better the lot of the electorates were their target.
As governor of Nassarawa State, Alhaji Umar Tanko Almakura observed, “Nigerians have the Senate president, Senator (Dr) Abubakar Bukola Saraki to thank for appointing a seasoned politician cum architect in Senator Kabiru Gaya to be the chairman of the Senate Committee on Works”. The vision of the committee to deliver democracy dividends to the electorates burns from the doggedness and relentless effort of the committee to ensure that quality of works are executed for durability and sustainability in all parts of the country particularly road projects which has remained jinxed and have death traps for travellers across the country.
Upon inauguration, the Senate committee by their action prioritised road projects in the country and that is exhibited by their actions. As it is, ensuring that road projects are effectively done is one of the paramount achievements of the eightieth Senate under Senator Saraki and the APC led central government. The hymn of “change” of the administration could only be visibly seen as being championed by the Senate and in particular the Works Committee even if nothing is seen positively of APC administration. For instance, the committee despite the task of sitting at plenary always ensures that federal projects are monitored with eagle eyes around the country for the overall interest of Nigerians.
In 2017 alone, the committee has visited almost all the geo-political zones of the country on oversight function and in each zone visited the testimony of successes record replete media headlines. In North-Central zone which is the area of focus, Senator Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya told contractors that all contracts are expected to be executed according to specification and if any contractor is discovered to be cutting corners, the contract will be terminated if possible the contractor sanctioned which is a departure from status quo of Ghana–must-go exchanging hands for approval of shoddy jobs done in the past.
Many federal roads across the country that deteriorated soon after handover, has been the result of elected officers’ unwillingness to live above board, but the Senate Committee on Works under Senator Gaya has demonstrated that public servants can hold their heads high despite inducement and temptation.
In Kogi State, the Senate Committee on Works inspected Obajana-Kabba road on cement concrete being handled by AG/Dangote. The contractors promised the federal lawmakers that when work is completed, it is expected to last for at least 42 years because of the quality of materials used.
In Nassarawa State, the committee expressed satisfaction in the quality of job done by the contractor in the 82 kilometre road at Loko, as well as Oju-Loko-Owetor road. While in Benue State, the Gboko-Makurdi and Otukpo-Aliade-Makudi road was visited by the committee.
The governors of the states, Umar Tanko Almakura, Abdulfatahi Ahmed as well their Kogi State counterpart, Yahaya Bello implored Nigerians to extol the virtues and foresightedness of Senator Bukola Saraki for the appointment of Kabiru Ibrahim Gaya as chairman of the committee and of course the cream of tested politicians in the committee.
The governors also agreed that the contribution to development of projects in the North-Central zone by the Senate president is un-quantified as the zone has begun to attract federal presence in projects under Saraki as Senate president. They said that quality and style of leadership of Saraki will remain nostalgic for a time to come after he leaves office. One glaring achievement of the tour is that the committee has given the zone the hope that there is light at end of the tunnel for the zone and indeed all Nigerians.
– Afegbua is senior legislative assistant to the Senate President.