EKITI HOUSE'S QUESTIONS ON THE PAVILION
The Ekiti State House of Assembly, during its plenary of 16 July, raised some pertinent questions on the state of the Pavilion constructed by the immediate-past government in the state. Those questions showed the direction the Assembly is prepared to go in safeguarding the commonwealth of the state, the investment of the people and the future of its children.
It was the chairman of the House Committee on Information, Honourable Gboyega Aribisogan, who raised a motion while speaking under matter of public importance. Aribisogan who represents Ikole Constituency 1, said he observed, during a visit to the project site, that barely months after the supposed handing over of the project, several parts of the structure had cracked. He called on the House to urgently carry out investigation to ascertain whether or not the billions of funds expended on the project were judiciously utilised.
It is instructive that members of the House unanimously condemned what they called the shoddy implementation of the project by the contractor that handled it. They also expressed wonder at what they termed hasty manner in which the immediate past Dr. Kayode Fayemi-led administration inaugurated the pavilion project, “despite its incomplete status”. The lawmaker called for immediate cordoning off of the site so as to avert any incident of collapse and disaster.
In the end, the House gave a two-week ultimatum to the contractor to remobilise to site, complete the works and effect corrections where there are defects. The motion, which was seconded by Honourable Animasahun Adesina from Ekiti West II, was unanimously approved by the legislators.
The pertinent questions that were raised that showed that the House would not lag in pursuing the goal of making Ekiti people's money work for them included, but not limited to, of what financial benefit will the pavilion be to the largely agrarian and civil service-driven state? Was the work done commensurate with the huge amount purportedly spent on the project? Will the shoddy job allegedly done on the project not result in future demands on the state and possible loss of lives and property? Part of the issues the lawmakers expressed reservations about was whether or not it would be better for the state to have spent far less money to upgrade the Oluyemi Kayode Stadium to a level that it could be additionally used for important state functions without necessarily affecting its primary role of developing sporting events. It was noted that it was doubtful, with the array of private event centres scattered across the state capital, Ado-Ekiti, if the pavilion would be patronised for private functions. It was also observed that since the last administration had embarked on the project, shouldn't the contractor, not only deliver a perfect job, but also ensure that the project is completed to the last grain of sand? That parts of the pavilion remained unpainted, the security buildings uncompleted and the premises flooring undone before its hasty inauguration are some of the issues that miffed the legislators, a development that made them to give the ultimatum, failure which they said the Hose would have to summon the contractor.
Now, it is incumbent on the contactor to show up and do the needful or/and liaise with the lawmakers to see the way forward on the subject matter.
With the avowed readiness of the Assembly to beam its searchlight on the details and circumstances surrounding the award and execution of the project, it is incumbent on relevant state agencies to come forward with facts and figures to assist the House in getting to the roots of the matter.
The role of the legislature, as all know, is not limited to making laws for good governance of state. The House must have a robust mechanism for oversight functions. This is what will ensure that the people, who elected their lawmakers, have put their money where their mouth is. This is the direction that the new Ekiti State House of Assembly has shown that it is facing. For a state that earns barely N2 billion as monthly federal allocation, it would be suicidal to sink billions of naira in a project that would be of no economic benefit to the state, worse still, one that is shoddily done and could constitute hazard to the people it was meant to serve. Permitting such lethargy would only compound the poverty starring the state in the face. And that was what the House, at that plenary, showed it wouldn't condone. It appeared to be the belief of the House that there were 1001 other uses to which such huge amount spent on the pavilion could be put that would have direct bearing on the lives of the common Ekiti folks, especially as such money was sourced from sources that could have adverse effect on the state in the future. The burden of the bond obtained by the last administration in the state is already telling on the current one. The loans are being deducted at source from the meagre allocation coming to the state. It will take the new administration rigorous thinking out of the box to be able to squeeze itself out of the situation, to deliver on its promises to the people. That alone is germane enough to spur the House into action and ensure that expenses made by the executive are judicious and in the best interest of the people.
Gbam! The gravel has landed. The contractor, one should think, should cooperate with the House and revisit the actions and inactions on the pavilion.
***Stephen Gbadamosi, is Special Assistant (Media) to the Speaker, Ekiti State House of Assembly.