Constituency Projects: Ndudi Elumelu's Integrity, Sincerity Questioned Again
ASABA, Nov 01, (THEWILL) - Still battling a catalogue of corrupt charges in the hands of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Honourable Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, a federal lawmaker representing Aniocha North/Aniocha South/Oshimili North/Oshimili South Federal Constituency of Delta State in the House of Representatives is alleged to have pocketed hundreds of millions meant for constituency projects in his federal constituency.
THEWILL recalls that four themes featured prominently in Elumelu’s electioneering campaign prior to his election into the House of Representatives in April 2007. The themes according to Elumelu’s manifesto listed Economic Empowerment of Underprivileged Women, Youths and Farmers; Moral Probity Through Respect For Traditional Institutions; Determination to Improve Living of the People; as well as Infrastructural Transformation of Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency.
Amongst all these, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) projects spread across some parts of his constituency gulped a large chunk of the constituency project funds while some of the projects were contracted to the present embattled Chairman of Delta State PDP, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi.
Elumelu in his free stewardship publication tagged: ‘The Elumelu Stewardship’ (see attachment tab to download copy of stewardship), claimed to have influenced the following constituency projects in the federal budget. These claims have however become a subject of controversy as 90 percent of the projects are non-existent whereas funds were provided for them in full by the federal government.
The projects as listed include: “Water irrigation and distribution schemes at Onu-boh, Obior, Adonie and Ogbole-Ogume at the cost of N30, 000, 000.00; Irrigation project at Ewulu at the cost of N5, 700,000.00; Irrigation project at Illah/Ebu at N50, 000,000.00; Rehabilitation of underground water schemes at Onitcha-Olona, Alisime, Ogwashi-Ukwu, Ilah, Ibusa, etc at N25, 000,000.00; Erosion control project at Idumuje-Unor at N45, 100,436.00; Solar-base Rural Electrification project at Nsukwa clan at N91,584,886.00; Solar-PV power supply and Rural Energy pilot projects at N400, 000,000.00; Unnamed education Project at Federal Government Girls College (FGGC), Ibusa at N263,026,374.00; Construction of 33KV ITC and 1 NO 2.5MVA injection sub-station at Utagba-Uno/Itua/Nsukwa junction at N42,000,000.00; Rehabilitation of 35KM, 33KV at Asaba/Obior line at N84,000,000.00; Injection of 2.15MVA, 33/11KV at Industrial Estate Asaba at N84,000,000.00; Asaba main transmission 2.15MVA at N84,000,000.00; and 33KVA/ITC, 1 NO.2.5MVA injection sub-station, 11KVA ITC Network at N44, 100,000.00."
Others listed include the "construction of a Town Hall at Onicha-Uku at N20 million; and a bore hole project at Idumuje-Unor at N20 million all in Aniocha North Local Government Area."
In Aniocha South local government area, Elumelu listed the "construction of a Town Hall at Ogwashi-Uku at a cost N20 million; and bore hole at Aba-Unor for N5 million."
In Oshimili North council area there is a "Town Hall in Akukwu-Igbo for N20 million while a bore hole at Ibusa cost N5 million; Town Hall and bore hole at Oko cost N20 million and N5 million respectively."
Photo: Honourable Ndudi Godwin Elumelu, member Federal House of Representatives.The publication also listed "one block of computer laboratory with accessories at Issele-Uku (Aniocha North), Ogwashi-Uku (Aniocha South), Akukwu-Igbo (Oshimili North) and Oko (Oshimili North) at N4, 320,000.00 each while Primary Health Care Clinics at Idumuje-Unor (Aniocha North), Aba-Unor (Aniocha South), Illah, Oko (Oshimili North) cost N3, 000,000.00 each and Motorised bore hole with overhead tank at Onicha-Uku (Aniocha North) cost N11, 000,000.00 and sub-total cost is N40, 280,000.00."
In all about N2.5 billion naira was earmarked for these projects by the federal government according to the publication. Honourable Elumelu also disclosed in his stewardship that he collaborated with the NDDC in the implementation of the following projects: “Renovation of some secondary schools in the federal constituency, fencing of some secondary schools in the federal constituency, construction of Ohordua/Ugbodu/Onicha-Uku/issele-Uku road, construction of Oko-Ogbele/Oko-Anala road and construction of Egbudu-Akah/Ubulu-Uku road.” However, based on all the information extracted from Honourable Elumelu’s 2008 stewardship account and following our resolve to hold elected officers accountable, THEWILL decided to keep the honourable lawmaker honest by taking him up on his claims.
THEWILL Delta correspondent visited all the communities where Elumelu claims to have cited several constituency projects but was shocked to discover that most of the projects mentioned in the stewardship publication were non-existent in most of the constituencies while a couple have since been abandoned by their contractors after substantial fees have been paid.
For instance, in Ogwashi-Uku where few solar powered streetlights were installed and a Town Hall project was abandoned, Sir Patrick Ajuduah, President General of Ogwashi-Uku Development Union (ODU) expressed shock at Elumelu’s claims which he described as ‘unfortunate and fraudulent.’
Photo: Elumelu's abandoned town hall project in Ogwashi-Uku. Sir Ajuduah said the purported N20 million Town Hall project constructed in the city by the lawmaker was nothing but a ‘hut’ when compared to what the city already has.
“The problems with our lawmakers is that they don’t ask the people what they need before embarking on any project. Can you image he came building for us a 40-person capacity town hall for a city like Ogwashi-Uku when our present town hall is over 500-person capacity. We got angry and had to stop the contractor.
“About twenty solar power lights were installed in a few areas in the town and they are nothing to write home about because as we talk they have fallen and have been abandoned. Ndudi must be questioned on what he has used the peoples’ funds to do,” the respected town leader said. The Ogwashi-Uku Development union added that most of the lawmaker’s claim in the publication concerning constituency projects were fabricated and misleading saying the River Ubu Dam was abandoned since 2006 when an attempt was made by some indigenes of the town to revive it.
“Hon. Elumelu should come and show Ogwashi-Uku people where he built one block of computer lab with accessories worth N4, 320,000.00 as he has claimed”, stressing that the town has not benefited significantly from the state or federal government since the inception of the current democratic process.
Photo: Elumelu's abandoned/uncompleted streetlight project in Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South LGA.
In Nsukwa, another town under Elumelu’s constituency, a community leader who simply gave his name as Mr. Okoro said the N91, 584, 886 solar-based rural electrification project claimed to have been executed by Honourable Elumelu in the clan ‘is a mirage’ adding that apart from the abandoned solar light poles on the streets there is virtually nothing on ground. The community leader while calling on anti-graft agencies to probe the lawmaker deeply however challenged Elumelu to come out boldly and tell the people where else in the clan he executed the solar-based rural electrification project as claimed. Also reacting to what he called ‘so many lies of a deceptive lawmaker’, an Oko community leader who identified himself as Elder Chris Ugbe, lambasted Hon. Elumelu over the projects claimed to have been executed for the Oko people which included a N5 million borehole, N20 million Town Hall, a one block of computer lab and accessories worth N4, 320,000.00 and Primary Health Care Clinic worth N3, 000,000. The visibly angry leader said: “Elumelu should stop deceiving the populace, mostly the peace loving people of Oko community, he should come out to show us where all these projects were cited. Or is he talking of that bedroom town hall which he has claimed cost N20 million? We are waiting for him come 2011, let him come and contest again in fact we are already collaborating with other communities which he has deceived too to campaign against him.”
At Ibusa, the story was the same as some town leaders who opted to remain anonymous rained curses on the federal lawmaker whom most accused of enriching himself at the expense of the masses he claims to be representing in the National Assembly.
In our visit to Onicha-Uku, home town of Hon. Elumelu; Illah, Onicha-Ugbo, Obior, Issele-Uku and Akwukwu-Igbo all in Aniocha North Local Government Area, indigenes however commended the lawmaker for executing solar powered street lights and water project in the communities visited which they said has improved their lifestyles to a considerably extent. But some of the indigenes queried the exorbitant costs of the projects and challenged Elumelu to name other projects due to their constituency that were not executed.
THEWILL correspondent reports that aside the solar powered streetlights in several communities in Aniocha North Local Government Area, which is also the lawmaker’s home local government area as well as a N20 million naira town hall project in his village, Onicha-Uku, all other projects listed for the area in his stewardship report were non-existent.
Photo: Elumelu's N20 million Town Hall in hometown, Onitcha-Uku.
Our checks further revealed that most of the fully executed constituency projects were located in his LGA, while the three other Local government areas which make up the federal constituency were not as lucky. Recall that last week, an EFCC advisory list of corrupt politicians facing prosecution for various criminal offences listed Honourable Godwin Ndudi Elumelu alongside former Senate Committee Chairman on Power, Senator Nicholas Ugbane, Jibo Mohammed and nine others for allegedly stealing about N5.6 billion from the coffers of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) using 65 phoney companies that were purportedly awarded contracts for Grid Extension and Solar Electricity project. The anti graft agency re-arraigned them at a Federal High Court in Abuja just a few days ago.
Photo: Some fully executed solar powered streetlight projects executed by Elumelu in Onitcha-Uku.
This is even as it emerged that the often outspoken lawmaker shortchanged the Nigeria Customs Service of about N23 million naira following the importation of two LB 6 bullet proof cars in January, this year, which he procured and allegedly distributed as gifts to Delta State Chairman of the PDP, Chief Peter Nwaoboshi and Mrs. Dorothy Nwodo, wife of the National Chairman of his party to help influence his reelection.
Photo: The only borehole project executed in Onitcha-Uku and neighbouring villages by Elumelu and located inside his country home.
Several phone calls to Honourable Elumelu’s mobile phones were not acknowledged.
In fairness, THEWILL continues to extend an open invitation to the lawmaker to defend the allegations against his person and stewardship.