BUDGETS, PROJECTS & LOBBYING: How these things Work.
When we see a project signage like this, what exactly does it mean?
In a country where there is so much distrust and apathy for politicians, it is generally common to see misrepresentations and falsehood spread about activities of government, particularly as it concerns the legislature.
We remain very convinced that one of the most critical arms of government is the legislature, for several reasons that are not limited to the fact that they make the laws and they have an ultimate oversight power over the operations of the executive arm of government. It is therefore important that we understand how the legislature works so we can make better choices of who we send to represent us, how to correctively assess their performance, to know when to appreciate the work they do and when to criticize as well.
Back to the above picture.
As shown in most project signage, the ‘CLIENT’ refers to who awards the contract. The ‘CONTRACTOR’ refers to who executes the project, and the FACILITATOR refers to who influences the work to a location for general benefit of the people.
For better clarity, what this means is, the Rural Electrification Agency in preparing its budget, states that it intends to provide solar streetlights to various communities across the country. It includes the cost in its budget sent by the Ministry of Power to the National Assembly. When the budget is approved, the agency through its in-house procurement processes selects its preferred contractors for various projects and handles all financial issues with them under the contractual terms.
So what role does Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama play in this regard?
Having interacted with his people at home (NEEDS ASSESMENT) who in the above case had asked that streetlights be provided for them in their markets to help give them security, trade longer into the night, and keep transportation till much later, he approaches the government agency responsible for provision of those lights and requests (this entails a lot of efforts and influence) for some units to be allocated to his Constituency out of those approved.
See Video https://youtu.be/VioZFbxZpSo
From the above description, the following are evident:
- The project is initiated and executed by the executive through the relevant agency, NOT the Honourable member.
- The details of the project- costs, specifications, timings, funding etc. are handled strictly between the contractors and the executive through the agency. The Honorable member plays no part in that.
- The Honourable member’s responsibility is to ensure that his people feel strong FEDERAL PRESENCE through fair citing of projects they propose by attracting them to his constituency in line with his electioneering promise – a tussle for benefits from the centre amongst 360 Constituencies in Nigeria.
In the specific case of Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, he has a functional Works and Maintenance department in his constituency office, that interfaces with contractors sent to execute government projects in Oredo constituency to ensure what they do adheres strictly to specifications approved so his people are not short changed.
See Video https://youtu.be/61Ks8DU4hnU
- The Honourable member also ensures that during budget defence in the House, he relates closely with his fellow colleagues who head various committees as well to ensure projects he has lobbied for his people remain in the budget.
- These projects ARE NOT CONSTITUENCY PROJECTS. They are projects lobbied for by the Honourable member for his people, from the executive and her agencies.
To his very strong credit, Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, has leveraged very strongly on a key skill that a legislator must have if he truly will “make his people feel federal presence”- the ability, zeal and strength to LOBBY.
The only project allowed by law for the legislator to propose himself, is his constituency project. Considering the fact that it is only one per year and the value is often tied to the ranking status of a member (senior members get more than first-timers). Oredo wouldn’t have gotten as much as it has in TWO YEARS if the constituency project was all Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama had waited and focused on.
However, through his strong ability to Lobby and the immense goodwill and influence he has amassed in the house, he has been able to ensure that some projects initiated by the Executive find their way to Oredo Constituency.
A major example and achievement is the Ultra-Modern Girls Model Secondary School completed and waiting commissioning in Okhuoromi Community, Iyekogba (8 adjoining communities with no Secondary School). Having heard that the Federal Government through the Universal basic Education Commission (UBEC) was planning on setting up 13 of such major schools across the country, he immediately began the strong and tedious lobbying process to ensure that one is cited in Oredo Federal Constituency. Thankfully it paid off and today that project is completed on a 45 plots of land with boarding facilities, staff quarters etc which will surely change the face of commerce, education and development in that axis of the constituency.
Other NON-CONSTITUENCY PROJECTS also attracted through lobbying by Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama include;
- Construction of Ezomo Pry. School –WARD 3
- Renovation of Ezoti Pry School- WARD 1
- Renovation of Arinze Primary schools- WARD 2
See Video https://youtu.be/nYwG9Gq6nas
- Streetlights in Uwa Market and adjoining street- WARD 5
- Streetlights in Ekiosa Market and adjoining streets- WARD 11
- Streetlights in New Benin Market and adjoining streets – WARD 7
- Provision of ICT Centre in George Idah Pry School, Oredo- WARD 2
- Primary Health Centre, Ulemon Community in Iyekogba- WARD 2
See Video https://youtu.be/bZiJ4Uu3ADA
- The Art Exhibition organized by the National Gallery of Arts as part of the Omo ‘n’ Oba’s Coronation.(It was unthinkable to him that the Federal Government’s presence won’t be evident in the line-up of activities.
- Cultural Revival and Orientation for Oredo Children
See Video https://youtu.be/eBPynRvUDVg
In the 2017 budget, he has deployed the same tool of lobbying to secure transformers to each of the 12 wards in Oredo, more schools renovation, more ICT centers in secondary schools, rural electrification to Iyekogba etc.
Most importantly, he has also leveraged heavily on lobbying to push across most of his bills and motions knowing that his primary assignment is to MAKE LAWS.
When we consider that he has been able to do all these as a first-time legislator from the minority party, I believe Oredo can safely conclude that our gamble on the young, exposed, intelligent and charismatic OMOREGIE OGBEIDE-IHAMA was a wise and right one.
As we call our representatives to account, we should do so with accurate information, be more informed about the areas we really expect them to have performed, and in the future we also should know the traits, qualities and presentations to look out for in choosing our representatives.
#FollowYourRepActivitiesOREDO is an accountability group assessing the activities of Representatives and Senator whose area of representation impact on the constituents of Oredo.
The Opinion or View expressed in this article do not reflect the opinions of TSLNIGERIA TV or any employee thereof.