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Abandoned projects in Nigeria

19 May 2015, 18:58 Hussain Obaro

As the May 29th handing over date gradually draws nearer, during which a new President, state Governors, Federal and state lawmakers would take Oaths of office and assume the mantle of leadership of their respective offices. A hydra-headed monster has been bleeding this country since independence and has prevented the masses from enjoying maximum benefit of their taxes and the infrastructures established with the National resources and this needs to be critically looked at. Whenever a new Government or Administration comes into power, virtually all ongoing projects and programs of the proceeding Government, no matter how laudable and people-oriented are often stopped and abandon by the new Administration.

The level of abandoned projects in Nigeria today is alarming and scary and it affects the National economy in disastrous ways. Every new government considers the projects and programs of his predecessors more as the legacies and ideas of the past administrations rather than as programs meant to benefit and add value to the wellbeing of the masses. Some people have argued that the need to discontinue an ongoing project or program of a proceeding administration usually arise from the fact that majority of contracts for those projects were either awarded to party men, political associates, friends and family of the past Administrations who might not posses any technical knowledge whatsoever on the projects. Much as it is necessary to compensate people for whatever reasons, the issue of project design to specifications and, monitoring and evaluation is a must for the business needs of the projects to be realized and the deliverable benefits are delivered and the citizen reaps the salutary benefits of the project if the project achieves value-for-money.

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If the harsh economic reality of this country is put under consideration, incoming political office holders like the President and state Governors cannot afford to follow the trend of abandoning the projects of their predecessors, in the interest of the masses. In Kwara state for instance, the administration of former (late) Governor Muhammed Lawal during his regime brought experts, technocrats and engineers together to brainstorm on how best to put a permanent end to the problem of lack of portable-drinking water in the city of Ilorin, the state capital and its environs. A water reticulation project was then approved following the outcome of that brainstorming session by experts. Even though that water project would have permanently solved the problem of water scarcity in the metropolis and beyond, it was discontinued and abandoned by the administration of Bukola Saraki, when Muhammed Lawal failed to secure a second term in office.

The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) of the Obasanjo administration was abandoned by the Yar’adua administration not because the NEEDS program wasn’t good enough or people oriented, but because it was seen as a legacy of chief Olusegun Obasanjo. The Seven-Point Agenda of the Yar’adua administration which replaces the NEEDS was also abandoned by the Jonathan’s government and replaced with the Transformation Agenda, Even though he was part of the Yar’adua’s government. We cannot continue this legacy of wastefully abandoning projects and programs merely on the basis of prejudice, selfish desire, inferiority complex and extravagance.

Although some people have called for the creation of the project management office in all government establishments to develop and maintain projects standards and methods to manage historic projects and document; to provide project administrative support; to provide management advice and guidance and; to provide and arrange management training for projects. There is a need for laudable projects, programs and policies of government to be backed and protected by legislations of the National or state Assemblies as the case may be, as this are the only ways a new administration would not be able to abandon them because they are backed by law.

Some people have also opined that the government should stop citing and establishing projects based on discretion and unjustly. If a people or a community is allowed to make demands for choice projects and programs based on their needs then it would be difficult for the incoming administration to abandon such people oriented projects because the people would hold such government to account. Abandon projects have remained a conduit-pipe through which the resources of this country are allowed to waste away without benefiting the masses. It is no longer acceptable for any government to discontinue or abandon the projects, policies and programs of a proceeding administration after millions and billions of naira might have been spent on such projects and programs. Enough of these legacies of waste, in the interest of the poor masses.

- MyBroadBand

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