Another major issue that has continued to stare the South East governors in the face like a conundrum, is the spate of abandoned projects by successive governments and even present administrations.
Each administration continues to add to the huge number of abandoned projects. At the last report, the country has over 12,000 abandoned projects with the highest number in the south east.
When I did an abandoned projects monitoring under an international agencies’ project, I discovered to my chagrin that the number of abandoned projects across the states of Imo, Enugu, Abia, Ebonyi and Anambra was unprecedented.
If the South East governors decide not to start another project and concentrate on completing the abandoned ones, the states will become haven of sort and destination for tourism besides the huge attraction of investment.
Sometimes, the amount used in starting new projects can complete two to three abandoned projects and make them still achieve the same development results.
If large sums of funds are expended on a project, without completing them, it defeats the essence of the original intention. The citizens are denied both the services and benefits for which the projects are meant to achieve.
Governments of the day can change the narrative of governance if they exert and expedite effort in ensuring that uncompleted projects are completed irrespective of who the original initiator is.
Making our democracy viable for people is at the moment the only solution to motley and avalanche of lacuna created by the non-completion of projects. These challenges have continued unabated since the journey into democracy. There is need to address them.
The only approach to solving this development gap widened by abandoned projects is for elected representatives to take concerted efforts to arresting the ugly situation by taking sincere decisions to begin now to talk about completing abandoned projects right from the beginning.
The present Governors, Senators, House of Representatives members and even House of Assembly members can score political goals if they convoke to resolve in the affirmative to restart the engine that brings to completion abandoned projects, especially those that have direct bearing on the welfare and livelihood of the citizens.
The political capital of the leaders, if they change the narrative from the past stories of abandoned projects to present action of completion of those would surely endure and endear them to the citizenry.
There’s need to ensure that resources of the south east zone are effectively and efficiently managed especially that the zone do not receive much as allocation compared to other zones whose allocations supersede the whole of south east, so that, it becomes economically wise for those who have little to be prudent in the use of their resources and give no room for wastefulness.
Since, at the centre of dividends of democracy is the effective and timely implementation of capital projects which help to improve the standard of living of citizens, using the little the zone has to maximize for greater impact will not be wrongly summarised.
If projects are not completed, the citizens are denied the necessary infrastructural development that the projects would have provided.
The other side of the abandonment is the citizens themselves. Today, the citizens have been neglected in the course of governance. Any government that does not address the concerns of citizens is representing self not the citizens. The citizens are the fulcrum upon which any government should revolve. Anything short of that, deviate from democratic principles and tenets.
When a new government comes, the leader should continue almost immediately the projects started by the previous administration but that’s far from being done here in our clime, no wonder it takes another year or two for the new administration to initiate its own projects. By the time the project starts in second year, the third year becomes campaign year and the project is left for political parties’ structures to win second term.
I feel that the completion of projects should not revolve around the coming and going of governments. A system should be put in place to complete projects even when the initiator is gone.
Governor of Ekiti state, Kayode Fayemi, once said that Nigeria needs a transition law to encourage the completion of outstanding projects. He said governments should imbibe a sense of duty that will motivate them to complete projects that will serve the people. He insisted that the continuous transformation and commercial boom are only possible if the leaders’ commit to continuity.
He said “it is not for Fayemi, it is not an ego massaging vehicle, it is about service delivery. It is about the development of the states. He hinted that the magic of Lagos that many people talk about is continuity. The new governor will not come and abandon what the last government has done. He would strive”.
Until the pre-occupation of the governors of South East empty into the decision to complete all abandoned projects, the zone will continue to suffer dearth of development created by itself.