Member representing Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa, has said under his watch, each political ward would decide which project to be captured in the federal budget for them depending on their needs.
According to the lawmaker, it is erroneous and undemocratic for elected leaders to impose projects on their constituents without seeking their consent to know if such a project would be of any relevance to them.
The Labour Party lawmaker who made the assertion weekend during a town hall meeting with his constituents at Ohafia, said his emergence had marked the end of such an era in the constituency.
”I won’t decide for you what you want in your communities. You have to agree and tell me what you want in your ward, and I will fight to ensure it is captured in the federal budget and also executed. That’s my job and how it should be”, he said.
Meanwhile, all 24 political wards in the federal constituency were grouped into four, and each ward picked lots to choose which year its project would be captured in the budget.
He said that one project from six wards would be captured in the budget every year, and gave the six political wards that chose the first year, a week to consult with their relevant stakeholders including traditional rulers, women and youth leader to agree on any project of their choice, and revert in writing.
The lawmaker further promised that apart from such a consensus project per political ward, communities in the federal constituency would still benefit from his annual constituency projects and other interventions.
He said that apart from making good laws and oversight functions, he would ensure the constituency gets its share of federal projects and other dividends of democracy including job vacancies.
The Rep member thanked his constituents for their massive support for him at the poll, and continued support at the election petition tribunal until the Court of Appeal where his victory was affirmed penultimate week.
He promised not to disappoint the people nor renege in any of his campaign promises, promising to synergise with other lawmakers from the zone for the good of the people.
The lawmaker expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of work on the Arochukwu- Ohafia federal road.
He noted with regret that the deplorable condition of the road was getting worse, and urged the contractor handling the project to mobilize to the site or risk revocation of the contract.
”On my way to Arochukwu, I drove through this road and discovered it has gone so bad. Our people like coming home during Christmas, and this road cannot continue to be like this.
”No contractor will hold us to ransom. I have engaged my predecessor, and I shall meet with the contractor also. If nothing is done soon, I will engage the Minister of Works. The contract can be revoked and given to another firm that can fix the road”
Responding, various stakeholders who spoke at the townhall meeting, said it was the first time any lawmaker would seek their opinion on the type of project to be sited for them.
Some of the speakers including HRH Eze Innocent Mba of Etitiama Nkporo; the Mayor of Ohafia Local Government, Chief Bourdex Onuoha Ogba; a lawyer, Benjamin Emerie; and the Eze Ndinyom (women chief) of Amaekpu Ohafia, Chief Mrs May Nwosu, commended the lawmaker for the wisdom in coming up with the format.
Others were the President of Mbem Political Association (MPA) comprising the entire Ohafia clan, Chief Lucas Eme Uche; Hon. Mba Nwoke, representing Ohafia state constituency at the Abia House of Assembly; Prince Kalu Nnanna, Chief Eze Eke, among others.
They described the idea as novel and legendary, expressing delight over the thoughtfulness of the lawmaker to carry the people along.
According to them, it will eradicate unnecessary bickering among the people and enthrone justice, equity, and transparency in governance.
They said it was a positive departure from the old order where white elephant projects without any bearing on the people were sited for them and later abandoned.
The speakers who also advocated investment in agriculture and rural roads, urged the lawmaker to ensure he keeps his promise, pledging their continued support for him.
Speaking at the event also, the Chairman of Labour Party, Abia State, Hon. Ceekay Igara, commended the lawmaker for the wisdom to consult with his constituents to decide on what they want.
He said that the emergence of the Labour Party in the state marked the end of the era of impunity, and the beginning of a new dawn in the governance of Abia State.
The LP Chairman hinted that very soon, construction of 800-kilometer rural roads would commence across the state, as part of plans of the Alex Otti-led administration to re-invent the state.
He said that funding for the project had been received from the World Bank, assuring that work on the affected roads would soon begin.
Igara solicited the patience and continued support of Abians for the LP-led Government which he said, had come to change the narrative in the state.