THE ongoing disagreement between the National Assembly, particularly, the Senate and the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, has been received with mixed feelings by some professionals in the construction industry and legal practitioners, who viewed the development as unfavourable.
To these commentators, the ongoing skirmishes, if not brought to an end, may likely stall the projects in question, the completion of Lagos-Ibadan-Ilorin Expressway and 2nd Niger Bridge, and that Nigerians will suffer for it.
In his reaction, Omotayo Omosehin, of Newton and Partners, Lagos-based law firm, said: “It’s in the constitution for the executive to seek for supplementary allocation if the need arises, which the legislature is duty-bound to look into, either it may be approved or rejected. Similarly, the Legislature may also pick a hole in a budget that has been approved.
“However, it’s constitutionally wrong for the National Assembly to cut a budget allocated for a certain project and substitute it with another project emanated from them. This is not only constitutionally wrong, but also morally reprehensible!”
A similar position had earlier stressed by Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria.
But looking at the issue different from legal or constitutional angle, Lai Omotola, the Group Managing Director, CFL Groups, an infrastructure development company, based in Lagos, was of the view that with the situation of things, the entire projects may have already failed abinitio.
According to Omotola, the two projects in question, the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and Second Niger Bridge, have been suffering from all manners of shenanigans for a long time, and with funds laways appropriated, yet, the projects failed to get to completion.
“The questions one would want to ask the legislatures are; One, who and when are the projects they want to substitute conceived? Who are the consultants? Where is the environmental impact assessments (EIA’s)?
“Why projects failed in Nigeria is manifested on the above questions. Even, where EIA, consultancy works and others things are followed, how reliable are those that carry out those functions? Are they professionals or those that are appointed on the basis of ‘paddy paddy relationship?
“In the case of the projects that the Senators want to be included in the budget, who will award the contract? Where are those projects be sited and who did the valuation and who carry out the EiAs?
“So without these issues made opened, it shows that the projects are dead on arrival,” said Omotola.
Another commentator, Eyitayo Ogunmola, a Carrington fellow of the United States Consulate, and also a Project Management Training Consultant to Chartered Institute of Project Management, Ghana, in one of his work on why do projects fail in Nigerian, noted that in project management context, a project fails not only when the project delivery refuses to meet the use or the needs of the project or when the project’s product refuses to satisfy the end user, but when the project is not accomplished within the allowed time frame, project budget, scope defined for the project and even when the outcome of the project is rejected by the stakeholder.
“The Project Management Conference of Nigeria (PROMACON), has advocated several times for the adoption of internationally proven best practices on Nigerian projects, with the organization having committed huge resources to running troubleshoots on the major causes of failure of Nigerian Projects and has agreed that top on the list of factors is institutional framework error.
“The Nigerian agencies and ministries are void of departments focused on ensuring projects success. The first insight that comes to play is acknowledging that the essence of a government is to achieve community projects reflecting the needs of the people. What the average Nigerian cares for is the dividends of democracy and the outcomes of the government efforts expressed in tangibles,” he said.
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