The President of the Vanguard For Transparent Leadership And Democracy (VATLAD), Engr Emmanuel Igbini, has disagreed with the Delta State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) over its allegation that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori inflated the cost of construction of three flyovers in Effurun near Warri to the tune of N50 billion.
In a statement made available to the press, Igbini described the allegations by the APC as “misplaced and politics taken too far”.
Igbini, an Engineer and erstwhile Director-General of the Delta State Direct Labour Agency DLA, said the APC had no cogent reason to accused Governor Oborevwori of fraud in the award of the laudable projects meant to bring back life to the twin cities of Effurun and Warri.
The statement read: “I have just carefully read in some leading media publications, the content of a Press Statement reportedly issued yesterday by the Delta State Chapter of the All Progressive Congress, (APC) in which the Delta State Chapter of APC accused or alleged that Governor Sheriff Oborevwori inflated the cost of construction of three flyovers in Effurun near Warri, to the tune of fifty billion naira (N50 billion), claiming that yet, the project would not be completed in 8 years. It further alleged that these three flyover projects awarded to Julius Berger Construction Company are not only a ruse but a conduit pipe to fleece Deltans of over N78 billion.
“I also carefully read the comparison made by the Delta State APC, between these projects by Governor Oborovweri and some Projects embarked upon by governors Zulum, Wike, Sanwo-Olu and Ben Ayade, with which Delta State APC tried to reinforced its claim that the about seventy-eight billion naira (N78b) approved for these projects by governor Oborovweri is to defraud Deltans of fifty billion naira (N50b) through Julius Berger Construction Company.
“While I commend the Delta State APC for reacting to the amount approved for these projects in order to ensure that there is accountability and justification for money spent by Governor Oborovweri, I am however unable to see any cogent and verifiable proof from the Delta State APC to buttress these serious allegations of fraud it made against Governor Oborovweri.
“From my knowledge as an Engineer and with my experience in construction of roads, flyovers, bridges and other related road projects, only detailed and careful analysis of the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Evaluation (BEME) approved for such Projects marched with the actual Site evaluation for the projects, can tell whether or not there is any element of inflation of cost or attempt to defraud citizens. Sadly, the APC did not make any reference to the approved BEME for these projects.
“Secondly, all projects are not exactly the same and therefore not expected to cost the same amount. There are variations even though within similar environment like Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States of the South-South Geopolitical Zone, there should not be wide variations among these States particularly if the projects are handled by the same company, in this case, Julius Berger. Here again, the Delta State APC did not tell Deltans what it cost former Governor Wike and Governors of Akwa-Ibom to construct exactly or similar Projects by the same Julius Berger Company.
“Thirdly, the Delta State APC did not show any evidence of how Governor Sheriff Oborovweri had planned to use an internationally reputable company like Julius Berger Company to defraud Deltans of a huge sum of money to the tune of fifty billion naira. This is a very serious allegation with very serious implication not only for Governor Oborovweri but for the corporate image and integrity of Julius Berger Company that Delta State APC is under strict obligation to prove beyond reasonable doubt otherwise it stands to lose it credibility before the people of Delta State.
“Fourthly, the Delta State APC did not make any attempt to first commend Governor Oborovweri for breaking what had appeared to be a jinx in Delta State Government where no previous Delta State Governor ever contracted Julius Berger to construct roads, drainages, bridges and flyovers in Delta State. It is a fact known to Delta State APC that even when majority of its leaders were still Chieftains and top government Appointees of Delta State under PDP, Deltans were consistently demanding that Julius Berger Company be awarded Contracts to construct major and critical roads, bridges, drains and flyovers rather than awarding contracts for such mega projects to some very incompetent and ill-equipped local contractors who end up executing shoddy jobs that lead to collapse of such projects few months or few years after their claimed completion or in some case, are left uncompleted and abandoned.”
Igbini, a former Governorship candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) said, “it is an inconvertible fact known to Delta State APC that the dual carriage road from PTI Junction to NPA, Warri, being a trunk A Road under an APC-led Federal Government has been a death trap to Deltans and Nigerians using it daily because of many failed sections on this stretch of about few kilometers. I would have expected that the Delta State APC exploits its access to President Buhari and now President Tinubu and the former and current Minister of Works, to demand as matter urgent public importance, that this very critical road be rehabilitated and regularly maintained.
“I hold so honestly as a major stakeholder in affairs and governance of Delta State, that the only intention of the Delta State Chapter of APC to issuing its Press Statement and making the serious allegations that it made with no cogent and variable proof, against governor Oborovweri is to discredit the laudable effort by the governor which vast majority of people of Delta State have been celebrating and thanking the governor for.
“This condemnation and allegations are also misplaced and politics taken too far in the retrogressive direction. Our good people of Delta State particularly those from the Delta Central and Delta South Senatorial Districts that produce the oil wealth of Delta State have suffered for decades because of lack of mega projects of these international standard to be constructed by Julius Berger. I had expected the Leaders of Delta State APC to be physically present at the venue of the flag-off ceremony yesterday to encourage and support governor Oborevwori to do much more for the overriding interest of all Deltans irrespective of our political affiliations.
“I must remind us all, that political campaigns are over and election is also over. It is now time for Good Governance for the benefit of our good people of Delta State. We all therefore have moral and constitutional duties under section 24 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution, as amended, to make positive and useful contribution to the advancement, progress and well-being of our beloved Delta State,” Igbini stated.