From Linus Effiong, Umuahia
The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) constituency projects tracking team which was on verification of 2018 constituency projects in Abia North, has scored Senator Mao Ohuabunwa who represented the zone in the 8th Senate high on diligent execution of constituency projects and empowerment of constituents.
The team which also had some civil society organisations including the Foundation for Environmental , Advocacy and Development (FENRAD); and Action Aid Abuja, as members expressed satisfaction over the even spread of the projects among the council areas in the zone.
A joint statement issued in Umuahia by the team after an assessment tour of the affected projects said the essence of the visit was to ensure that lawmakers did not divert funds meant for constituency projects captured in the budget.
The statement said the team embarked on constituency projects monitoring in Abia North Senatorial zone under the Constituency Projects Tracking Phase II of the ICPC, FENRAD, and Action Aid.
According to the statement, the essence of the monitoring was to evaluate the projects and track the impacts on the constituents in the five Local Government Areas in Abia North senatorial zone.
In the statement jointly signed by Mr Steven Obi of the Owerri Zonal Office of ICPC; Mr. Ukeme Jacob of Action Aid Abuja; and Comrade Nelson Nwafor, Executive Director of FENRAD, the team observed that Senator Ohuabunwa’s constituency projects and empowerment programmes in the period under review had tremendous positive impacts on his constituents.
The team noted with delight that some of the beneficiaries of some of the empowerment programmes had become self reliant according to their testimonies during interactions with them.
The Monitoring team commended Ohuabunwa for “carrying his constituents along during his stay at the National Assembly,” and for making them beneficiaries of different federal government schemes aimed at alleviating poverty.
“This tracking and monitoring exercise is in tandem with ICPC’s requirements, and represent our position on open governance and accountability with principles of Open Government Partnership and Participatory Governance “, the statement said.
The statement said the monitoring team also interacted with a number of the beneficiaries of the empowerment programmes whose oral testimonies corroborated their findings in the field.
They enumerated some of the empowerment programmes which were in partnership with SMEDAN to include skill acquisition training, distribution of empowerment equipment and cash incentives.
According to the statement, some of the empowerment items were 17 vehicles, 15 motorcycles, 15 tricycles , 310 sewing machines, and 357 generating sets.
Others include : 285 grinding machines, 285, hair drying machines, 5000 day -old chicks, 5000 gas cylinders, among others.
The CSOs, therefore, tasked political office holders especially lawmakers to ensure equitable distribution and execution of their constituency projects for accountability in governance.