Thursday, 1 February 2018

John Gaul's 2nd term educational projects scorecard and the need to do more

|31st January, 2018 |Victor Adaha

I detest arm chair journalism, therefore, I cannot be found culpable of arm chair reporting. In recent times I have beamed my search light on legislators beginning from my state, Cross River State, because they are one arm of government which is supposed to be closest to the people and speak for the interest of their constituents.

Recently, I visited Cross river state to carry out investigative reporting on the state house legislators. I started with the speaker of the house in the person of Rt Hon John Gaul Lebo, who also represents the good people of Abi Local Government Area, and in a bid to ensuring all stones are turned, I and my team of photographers and location assistants swung into action.

We visited Abi Local Government Area, which is made up of ten (10) political council wards, we focused our investigative reporting on only projects the member representing the local government has embarked on in his second term in office, which spans from 2015 to date only, and basically on educational projects for efficiency and comprehensive scrutiny, as he is a returning member. The team started from Adadama where coincidentally the member hails from, it was evident he had projects like. (Our focus is only on education, for the purpose of this reporting)

1.    Police post construction (2 locations)
2.    Construction of six (6) classroom blocks, St Bernard’s Primary School. Adadama
3.    Facilitation of motorized borehole installation of solar panel
4.    Facilitation of the Songhai farm PPP initiative to Cross river Basin Authority (85% process completed)

1.    Creation of Itigidi urban development authority
2.    Furnishing of UBEC junior Secondary School.  Itigidi
3.    Supply of book shelves and sporting facilities to UBEC Junior Secondary School. Itigidi

1.    Construction of six (6) classroom blocks plus office/ store / toilet
2.    Construction of motorized borehole /installation of solar panel

1.    Construction of a six (6) rooms block classroom

1.    Rehabilitation of four (4) rooms block classroom

1.    Rehabilitation of four (4) classroom block

a.     Facilitation of recruitment of indigenes at different agencies within the state and outside across board of the different council wards.

b.    Supply of seventy- seven (77) white maker board to different schools in the LGA.

c.     Supply of thirty-six (36) table tennis standard boards to designated schools in the LGA.

d.    Distribution of two thousand one hundred and seventy-two (2, 172) sets of furniture (plastic chairs and tables) to all primary schools in the LGA.
e.     Out of forty (40) original Primary school rehabilitation request submitted thirteen (13) have been awarded.
From my investigative reporting, it is obvious the house member has done much as regarding the educational sector, as our subsequent phase of enquiry would focus on health and other infrastructural projects such as water, road etc.
Notwithstanding the member who doubles as the speaker should still do more as the level of educational deficit evident in the local government which in some communities is as a result of communal clash still keeps the local government at a disadvantage state and condition. Hence, much is still expected from him as some communities like Anong Ekureku, Ebom/Ebijakara ward etc are in dire need of rehabilitation of schools. 

This report became essential as in recent time our search light has been on legislators and their justification of constituency allowances being allocated to them and the constituency projects in the budget.

·       The speaker should also intervene in health care delivery at primary health care centers.

·       And he should also facilitate the Ayade care to Abi, that should be the benefit of the local government having the number three man in the state.
·       Not forgetting uncompleted college of nursing at Itigidi. This is one way he can affect a vast majority of his constituents.

·       Mr. Speaker should endeavor to ensure before his tenure elapses, which the Songhai farm PPP initiative is a complete story, and he should also ensure that the host communities have quota in its employment scheme in tune of percentage, as it would be the benefit of having such an organization in their land. Anything short of this, to be is depriving the people of their right and privileges.

·       It is important to also note that training youths is not just enough but also equipping them with capitals or soft loans, at least helping them access this loans, on this note I call on the speaker to also equip the youths from the local government who were trained at the EDC programme which was a partnership with the central bank.

·       Water is life, its importance can never be over emphasized. Hence I urge Mr. Speaker to look into the water project which although has been kick started but not withstanding is a far cry from been completed as many communities are yet to begin drinking from it. 


Among the list of others, the following have been identified from my team’s interaction with members of the host Local Government to be a pressing need that requires outright attention this year, they include the following critical issues and sector of their economy.

It is also worthy of mention that other schools request ranging to about twenty-seven (27) which were not covered in the budget of the last fiscal year, should be carried over to this year 2018 fiscal budget for execution, not forgetting the six (6) Secondary Schools as well.

There is no doubt that Abi is a farming community, and as such good road network remains a vital asset to the communities, hence the Speaker should as a matter of urgency look into the abandoned RUDA roads in Itigidi and Bahumuno, not forgetting Ediba to Usumutong and down to Ebom, Afafanyi among others.

The writer is an apolitical columnist, socio-political analyst and a public affairs commentator void of any form of sentiments. This is not a sponsored article, but a necessitated investigative reporting to X-Ray and analyse the activities of our voted representatives for onward assessment, and well informed, evidence guided verdict.

Victor Adaha (Mr apolitical)
Public Affairs Analyst