Federal lawmakers from Osun State at the National Assembly are collaborating with the State government to fund some developmental projects in the state. Reports show that they are pooling funds from their constituency projects together to build schools, dams and other projects as part of the dividends of democracy to their constituents.
The lawmakers from Osun State in the National Assembly are giving a new meaning to constituency projects often embarked upon by legislators to help develop their area and give the much needed dividend of democracy to their people.
Instead of each of them spending the funds meant for constituency projects in his/her area on any project of his/her choice, the three senators and nine members of the House of Representatives from the state are pooling resources from such funds together to jointly fund common projects in close collaboration with the state government. And the result has been multi billion naira projects which one legislator couldn’t have been able to afford.
The lawmakers are leveraging on their membership of the same political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) together with the state government, to support the vision of rapid development of all parts of Osun state by Governor Rauf Aregbesola.
It is a creative approach that has made it possible for the Aregbesola administration to achieve unprecedented success in education, agriculture and food security, water and sanitation among others since the inauguration of the administration in November 2010.
The ‘cooperative’ and collaborative approach of the lawmakers towards the development of the area has been made possible through their resolve to work with the governor as a formidable team, with the aim of taking Osun state out of the woods within a short time.
According to Senator Babajide Omoworare, representing Osun East senatorial district, otherwise known as Ife/Ijesa: “We the lawmakers met with the governor and asked him in what areas of development projects can we come in, to the rescue the state. We believe both the lawmakers and the governor have responsibilities to the people in our various constituencies and we must be ready to ensure we don’t fail in doing what are expected of us by the people.”
No doubt, the lawmakers’ intervention by pooling resources from their constituency project allowances is already helping the 23-year old state. For example, in Osun East senatorial district comprising 10 of the 30 local government areas in the state and one area office, Senator Omoworare and the three members of the House of Representatives from the area are using their constituency project allowances to fund a number of projects in the district.
Some of the projects include the water dam located at Umar Olanrewaju Street, Ipetu-Ijesa (under construction), building of Hope Elementary School, Ilesa, building of Community Middle School, Ita-Osa, Ile-Ife, renovation of Atakumosa Middle School, Osu, renovation of Ansar-udeen Elementary School, Ogbo Agbara Ile-Ife.
Senator Omoworare, who led other lawmakers on inspection tour of the projects, put the cost of the Ipetu-Ijesa water dam at N750 million, with a capacity to supply water to Oriade, Atakumosa East, Atakumosa West and Ilesa-West local governments.
He disclosed that the water project was funded with the N550 million 2012 constituency project funds of the lawmakers, adding that they had to source for additional N200m to make the total cost of N750m for the completion of the project.
The project included running of pipes and provision of reservoirs to some of the communities in the benefiting local governments.
Omoworare disclosed that the lawmakers would spend about N4 billion on water provision for the Osun East Senatorial District, including the counterpart funding from the federal government.
The Senator urged the federal government to put its N2.4billion counterpart fund for the water project in the 2015 fiscal year budget.
Speaking during the inspection of the Hope Elementary School, Ilesa, Hon. Ajibola Famurewa, representing Ijesa-South Federal Constituency at the House of Representatives, stated that the school was constructed in line with the quality of the state government’s model schools. Famurewa stated that the Ife/Ijesa lawmakers had consulted Governor Aregbesola before embarking on the construction of the school, saying that the National Assembly members were trying to share the Aregbesola administration’s burden of building ultra modern schools for the development of public education in the state.
According to Famurewa, the cost of the building of the Hope Middle School which is still under construction would be up to N168 million, including the furnishing of the classrooms and offices in the school, when completed.
The Hope Middle school has 31 classrooms, laboratories, offices and toilets, among other facilities. Famurewa stated that the lawmakers, in their 2013 constituency project are building two new schools and renovating two other schools in the senatorial district to meet up with the modern standard. He stressed that the Ife/Ijesa lawmakers at the National Assembly would also build new schools and renovate some others in their 2014 project.
The lawmaker representing Oriade/Obokun federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Nathaniel Agunbiade, stated that the funds for the constituency projects were not released to the lawmakers, saying that they only chose the type of project they wanted. ý Agunbiade maintained that the projects were executed after discussion with Governor Aregbesola and consultation with the people of their constituencies on the type of project they wanted in their areas. He explained that there would not be enough funds should they embark on different and individual project in their constituencies, hence their resolve to pull their constituency fund together and execute tangible projects that will benefit their people.
Speaking during the inspection of the Community Middle School, Ita-Osa, Ile-Ife, Hon. Rotimi Makinde representing Ife Central, East and North federal constituency, said: “We could have diverted these funds to personal use, but we could not do that because we want the development of our state.
“The Omoluabi caucus at the National Assembly has leaders; we have vision and we are committed to the development of our state. We cannot leave the burden of developing this state to our governor alone. We know he so much put priority on education and that is why we are building and renovating schools to assist him in our various constituencies and senatorial district at large. Things we have done so far are those of 2012 and 2013 constituency projects. Our 2014 constituency project fund would also be expended on education. We will move to health sector very soon.”