Governor Peter Obi Must Hear This

By Jon Chikadibie Okafo
I have an exceptional interest in the affairs of Anambra State; it is my home State and as a critic and advocate for good and responsible governance, I am very much interested in how the State is being governed. For good measures, we have a Governor who has never left anyone in doubt that he is all for financial prudence. That man is Mr Peter Obi whom I have been actively involved in holding accountable for all his actions as the Governor of Anambra State.

Just like the country Nigeria, Anambra State is furiously grasping with the monster of under-development, lack of basic amenities, gully-filled “roads”, etc. in a bid to be seen to be tackling some of these ills militating against the attainment of a just and humane society, the government through the Ministry of Works maps out a great chunk of resources to provide the basic amenities to her citizens. Billions of Naira has been spent by the Government of Anambra State through her Ministry of Works-a great deal of money!

Governor Peter Obi’s propaganda machinery has been agog with claims of Anambra State clinching the “Gold Cup” for having the best roads network in Nigeria-a brilliant claim if you ask me.  The Governor too has never missed an opportunity to say it loud and clear that “Anambra is working”. As an objective die-hard critic, I started looking closely- arming myself with Dele Shobowale’s clincher that, “all politicians are liars”. It did not take me long to discover that the Honourable Commissioner for Works, Anambra State in the person of Mr Calistus Ilozumba appears to be running a very dodgy Ministry. The level of alleged fraud going on under this man’s nose is staggering, mind-bending and puerile!

Is His Excellency, Governor Peter Obi aware of all the horse trading that is going on in the Ministry of Works under Mr Ilozumba? Well, the purpose of this essay is to bring some ugly truths to the attention of the gentleman Governor and to challenge him to take positive actions immediately. It will be unwise to allow certain people to rubbish whatever is left of Mr Obi’s good intention in Anambra State.

In December, 2006, several road projects were flagged off (in principle) by the Anambra State Government. We all cheered and heaped praises on the person of Governor Obi for striving to bring the “dividends of democracy” closer to the people. My home town, Amawbia which is where the Governor’s Lodge sits featured prominently in the list of towns to benefit from the road projects.

The following roads were designed for my community- St Peters and Ugwu Tank By-pass, Obi Avenue down to the Burial Ground, and Burial Ground to Nise link road. The Consultants for the project was Bossman and Bossman, the contractor was Master Holdings Nigeria ltd, an indigenous firm. The roads fell under “Lot 9, Awka Township Roads”.

As I write, the contractor, Master Holdings has sinfully abandoned the projects- this is after the government of Anambra has paid up. About two billion Naira was allegedly paid to a contractor who never mobilised to site! To add salt to injury, a dubious front for the State Government that wickedly calls itself “Anambra State Committee on Good Governance” published a booklet which contained the non-existent roads listed above as having been brilliantly completed by the run-away contractor.

I challenged the Secretary of the wayo group on  phone (08037035265) to swear on his honour that the roads listed in his booklet were actually in existence, he tarried for a while and suggested I speak to the then Commissioner for Works.

Is Governor Peter Obi aware?

It is true that Mr Peter Obi’s government has made good efforts to link most of the communities in the State through a well thought-out roads network; it is equally true that for now, some of those roads are “motorable”. As I always posit, it is a perpetration of a wicked moral evil when those in positions of trust continue to shamelessly do that which they know best-lying to the people whose interest they ought to be protecting. A drive around Anambra State will only reveal one thing; the glaring fact that those roads that cost us billions are of the poorest quality and were constructed by charlatans, impostors and mean characters who compromised quality for lucre.

We really hate good things in this part of the world. This is the truth when one continues to ponder on the rationale behind reprimanding a responsible Supervisory Engineer (by the Commissioner for Works), a man mandated by the State Ministry of Works to supervise road projects in the State. Mr Calistus Ilozumba who many of his staff  continue to describe as a “raving sadist” felt it wise to reprimand, chastise, humiliate and transfer an Engineer out of his Ministry for daring to raise alarm when he discovered that Inter Bau, the contractor handling the Nibo-Umuawulu-Awgbu road project was actually short-changing the government and people of Anambra State.

Is Governor Peter Obi aware?

This is the height of immorality and a shameful recourse to the podium of evil. From information available to me, this Supervisory Engineer refused to append his signature to a document which would have caused for Messrs Inter Bau Nigeria Ltd to be paid in excess of N2 billion for work it allegedly, deliberately failed to carry out. In his report to the Honourable Commissioner for Works, the Engineer queried the contractors Interim Payment Certificate No.10 which also would allow the same contractor to pocket about seventy one million Naira of OUR money for either work not properly done, or double invoicing.  Well, the contractor was paid in FULL, and the eagle-eyed Supervisory Engineer sanctioned and transferred to a ministry where he has remained redundant.

Is Governor Peter Obi aware?

The lust for lucre remains a terrible affliction that will continue to bring shame to those that shamelessly subscribe to it. I have continued to wonder why Governor Peter Obi will continue to patronize Messrs Inter Bau and Master Holdings even though it is glaring that they give us rubbish roads in exchange for our billions. Why retain a Commissioner for Works who is apparently incompetent, and is alleged to be pathologically corrupt? For starters, the much celebrated Odor Bridge (Amaokpala axis) is another case in point. Again, the name of Inter Bau pops up-for all the wrong reasons.

For Pete’s sake, bridge construction is not something to be toyed with; neither should such a sensitive job be awarded to a firm who appears to be more interested in pocketing money made dubiously. Is it true as is being alleged that the contractor is compromising heavily on specifications? Is it true that instead of the stipulated stone-pitching to a thickness of 150mm for the said bridge, the contractor used a measurement of 75mm?

Is Governor Peter Obi aware?

In every road project awarded by the State, the relevant ministry is expected to play a supervisory role; the purpose of this is to ensure that the contractor does not churn our poor quality jobs while smiling to the bank with public money. On this note, I wonder why the Government of Anambra State paid Master Holdings Nigeria Ltd the full contract sum for the purported roads constructed in Amawbia, Capital Territory of Anambra. What exactly is the nature of affinity between Masters Holdings, Inter Bau and the Government of Anambra State?

As a responsible citizen, I humbly pray that Governor Peter Obi will make swift to checkmate the excesses of charlatan contractors operating in the State. Anambra has suffered so much in the past and it will be unwise for the Government of Peter Obi to allow those whose only interest in the State is to accumulate so much public funds at the detriment of the masses to continue their evil actions, unchecked. Who commissioned the ghost roads in Amawbia whose only existence is in Utopia? Who?

Do you think that Governor Peter Obi is aware?


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