ICPC organises Town Hall Meeting in partnership with NOA tagged ” My Constituency , My Project 2″


National Orientation Agency ( NOA )has called on the citizens to take ownership of Constituency Projects sponsored by Members of the National Assembly during the budget circle to drive the Constituents needs as part of developmental programmes of the Federal government to the grassroots and not as largees from their Representatives.
The Director ,Lady Ngozi Okechukwu Ph.d stated this when she attended a Town Hall Meeting “My Constituency, My Project organized by the ICPC in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency, NOA , Abia State at Addrex Hotels, Aba, thereby called on beneficiaries of Constituency Projects to own the entire process beginning from conception to execution.
The Director ably represented by the Deputy Director, Research, Monitoring and Evaluation,Mrs Chibuogu Edede called for active participation of beneficiaries of the constituency projects, adding, “It is our view that when communities take ownership of their projects, there will be genuine interest to preserve and protect them.
She said “It will also ensure that contractors, ever eager to maximize profits, execute the projects to the highest standards required. Such community ownership will ensure that legislators and other officials of government are alerted when there is poor execution of these contracts and that they also are held accountable. The public perception of these constituency projects is that it is a largese disbursed by government to legislators as part of the prerequisites of office. In fact, in the past, many of these projects were sited in communities requiring no such facilities”.
Lady Okechukwu said it is imperative that a new template for implementing the Constituency Projects be adopted, adding, “the new template we advocate under the new partnership between NOA and ICPC is for the people to own the entire process inorder that the aims of bringing government to the grassroots will be achieved”
She said NOA and ICPC partnership is to change the perception so that citizens will begin to see the projects as theirs and therefore, continue to make the needed contribution that will help to popularize democratic model of government in the country.
In a keynote address, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC Commissioner for Abia and Imo States, Mr. Udonsi Arua said that its Constituency Projects Tracking Group, CPTG initiative has led to the discovery of equipment and machinery meant for the benefit of ordinary people which were kept away and were not distributed.
Arua announced that the Commission will launch in the second phase of CPTG (the first phase focused on the legislative arm) with wider scope to include projects which are specifically developed and implemented by the Executive arm of government.
He said, the first phase of the exercise, which was carried out in twelve states across the six geopolitical zones of the country, revealed a lot of wrongdoings on how the projects were implemented resulting in the people not benefitting or partially benefitting from these projects; adding that “this exercise, popularly known as CPTG was a huge success with the communities in the pilot states, on account of the fact that a lot of abandoned projects were completed or now being completed because of the intervention by ICPC”.
He pointed out that the policy of Constituency and other government projects for communities is valid evidence that government means well for the people and it is through these projects that government touches the lives of people.
He called on the beneficiaries of the projects to always show interest in the selection, execution and use of the projects, adding, “we are gathered here today to talk about how you, the community people, can be involved in the process of selecting, implementing and monitoring these projects for the purpose of transparency and accountability”.
He advised the beneficiaries that while they get involved in projects monitoring, they should not be combative towards contractors and other government officials involved in the process, or see them from the onset as trying to shortchange their community.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Obingwa Traditional Rulers Advisory Council and Chairman of the occasion, HRM Eze O.J Ananaba pointed out that the issue of My Constituency, My Project should be taken seriously by every concerned Nigerian.
He, however ,opined that there woud be need to get back to the drawing board to refashion the enabling Law that empowered the National Assembly as it cannot be properly driven without inclusion of the Traditional institution from conception as such a project for the masses should not be left for the Politicians.
The Participants comprising of the Representatives of National Youth Council of Nigeria, National Anti corruption Volunteer Corps of ICPC, Civil Societies, Action Aid, the Disabled group, National Council of Women Society (NCWS ), the Political, Religious, Traditional institution among others said it is through active participation of the beneficiaries that the dividends of democracy will be evenly distributed.
Reteirating, Participants in their respective speeches during the Programme particularly, the NAVC/ICPC Abia State Coordinator, Rev. Blessed Amalambu pointed out that there is obscurity in the processes of constituency projects, as beneficiaries sometimes do not know and cannot define what actually is the project, let alone differentiating between state government projects and constituency projects attracted by the legislators.
Amalambu who called for a clear definition of the project to enable beneficiaries to be properly guided to monitor its processes and also called on those in attendance to go home and work with the knowledge gained and be free from corruption in order to be resolute while monitoring the projects.