Contract Abandonment: The need to borrow a leaf from Prince Tonye Princewill
The democratic history of Nigeria especially from 1999 till now, is replete with cases of contract abandonment. It is no longer rare to see road, ecological, building of hospital and school blocks contracts, etc abandoned by contractors in Nigeria. But if one may ask, what is responsible for this unprogressive development?
Greed, an extension of bribery and corruption is a suspect factor that has brought us where we are today, in terms of unimpressive infrastructural facilities in the country. Can a contractor with uncontrollable, unquenchable and avid greed for money offer any good thing to Nigerians in relation to execution of duly signed road contracts? No doubt contractors with this ignoble trait (greed) hardly execute federal, state or local government road contracts entered into, instead they desert them and disappear into the thin air with tax payer's money.
Another is the vendetta attitude or disposition of powerful contractors and politicians who are members of the ruling party, to whom such contracts are given and who believe that a particular constituency or local government voted the ruling party out in election. If the party in question manages to rig itself back into power, what do you think will be the fate of such local government or constituency if road contract is sited there and given to the above powerful politicians or contractors? Definitely, they will abandon it and divert the fund into their bottomless vaults. How reprehensible you may say, but that is the truth.
Needless, criminal, illegal and outrageous demands of money from contractors who are mandated to execute road projects by youths who have constituted themselves into nuisance, social misfits and anti-development forces, has in no mean measure contributed to the abandonment of contracts, especially when threat to life is stressed by the youths. Related to the aforesaid, is the activities of criminal elements parading under the cloak of freedom fighters, who abduct, harass and threaten both local and foreign contractors and subsequently ask for awe-inspiring ransom. It is based on this background that the Executive governor in Rivers State, Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi proposing a bill to be known as “Ikwere Law” when passed into law, to the state house of assembly. The aim of which is to deter youths from demanding “marching ground” from contractors or risk spending three years in prison without an option of fine.
It was also based on the issue of contract abandonment that Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, the governor of Rivers State, at the 80th birth of King (Prof.) TJT Princewill, Amachree the XI, the Amanyanabo of Kalabari Kingdom accused some of his (King TJT Princewill's) subjects for the desertion of road projects sited there in the past. When the Executive governor of the state demanded for land where development projects such as Model Primary Schools and Hospital which accrue to the Kingdom would be sited, the inhabitants of Kalabari land present at the occasion chorused “sand fill, sand fill”. By sand fill, sand fill, they were referring to “Buguma Shore Protection Project” commendably executed by Prince Tonye Princewill who is the Chief Executive Officer of River Drill Group of Company, the company the contract was awarded to. My question now is, if the above mentioned project was abandoned just like the Trans-kalabari Road Project by past administration and politicians of Kalabari extraction, will the Kalabaris say, sand fill, sand fill? The answer is capital “No”.
It is therefore, sine qua non for individuals, politicians and contractors to whom any form of contract is given, to emulate the example of Prince Tonye Princewill, in order to either leave their footprints in the sand of time or write their names in gold by executing such project to its logical end for the benefit of all.
Nwaorgu Faustinus, a Socio-Political Commentator writes from Igboetche, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.