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(Revealed) How party politics killed N300m Trade Fair ring-road contract
Fresh details have emerged on why the reconstruction of Lagos International trade Fair complex ring-road seemed apparently abandoned. From earlier notice written on the contract signboard at the entrance gate of the complex, the job was planned to be completed in three months, but more than seven months down the lane, construction work has stopped after delivery of the front view of the complex. The abandoned project was awarded by the Trade Fair Management Board (TFMB) in the beginning of this year.
Whereas further investigations by Markets Business Hilights revealed that why the contract awarded by the TFMB, under the leadership of Chief Mrs Lucy Ajayi was suffering funding issues, it was discovered that an earlier N300m contract awarded under the Constituency Projects of the Federal House of Representative Member, representing Amuwo Federal Constituency at National Assembly, Abuja, Hon Chief Oghene Egoh, was frustrated on grounds of party differences.
Recall that Hon Oghene Egoh won the Federal seat under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), while the Executive Director, Mrs Ajayi was appointed by the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
As such, further findings revealed that the issue of who, or which party will take the glory if the N300m contract is executed has been hanging the contract captured in the 2018 Federal Constituency Projects.
In a telephone interview with the House Member on why the 2018 project had remained undone, he said “We have a clear N300m contracted awarded for that ring-road to support ease of doing business at the complex under my constituency project since 2018, but in her wisdom, the ED, Madam Ajayi drove away the contractor for reasons best known to her and kept saying that she has already awarded similar contract for the same road.”
Asked what would be the fate of the N300m contract, he answered clearly saying “I don’t know. You should go and ask Madam”.
Continuing, the aggrieved lawmaker argued that “If the Federal Government through the Ministry of Works awards a contract and a Department of another Ministry claims that it had already awarded the same contract, the government would have to withdraw that.
Asked from his own point of view whether the Federal Government has withdrawn the N300m contract or not, Hon Oghene Egoh simply answered: “Go and ask Madam. Interview her on this to hear from her”.
“I want the contractor to start work. The contractor went to Madam severally and she told him that no; he cannot work because TFMB already has an ongoing contract on the same road.
“Let me further explain the contract very well. It is not really constituency project but Capital project from the Federal Government which I influenced as a federal lawmaker to come to the trade fair which is part of my constituency in 2018,” Hon Egoh disclosed.
On the chances of influencing the redirection of the contract to another area of need within his constituency, the lawmaker explained that “It is not possible because it was a Capital Project. Besides, the process of changing the direction of a project is too cumbersome as it will follow the part of virement.
Asked if the Trade Fair Stakeholders Forum (TFSF) members are happy on the turnout of events considering that they are the ones suffering the entire confusion, he noted that “I don’t know what to say. You know that they are traders doing business on Federal Government land under the leadership of a Federal Government appointee as ED. May be they don’t want to offend her.
Continuing, the House Member added that “Besides, I don’t want to create a scenario that will jam their heads with their Madam at the complex because of the project.
“I noticed that they (stakeholders) respect her a lot. The stakeholders wanted the road to be done, but Madam’s position on the contract overwhelmed them that they cannot do much to see Madam allow the contract even through it will be most gainful for them.
“I didn’t want to come and create any kind of problem between them. So I leave them to their fate.
“However, one thing they should always bear in mind that I, Hon Oghene Ego, representing Amuwo Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives, brought a road contract of N300m for the benefit since 2018 and nothing is being done which is not a fault of mine.
“Simply put, the Executive Director of TFMB did not allow the project to go on.
Hon Egoh made a reference to an invitation he has received from ASPMDA for an event either on 14th or 15th, saying if he comes, he will use the occasion to tell them how the TFMB succeeded in killing the N300m road project I secured for them.
“I will tell them what I have done for them, but they rejected it. I have done my best for them. Let everybody hear it very clearly that Oghene brought a Capital project to Lagos Trade complex, but it was rejected. I am pained that up till now, Trade Fair ring-road is still bad, but there is nothing I can do other than what I have done since 2018 which they rejected.
However, though efforts to reach the ED of TFMB, Mrs Ajayi failed at press time, a lot of political pundits and observers, who spoke to our correspondents on the failed N300m contract, linked the entire brouhaha to party differences and politics.
According to them, it will be very hard for an APC appointee, who is interested in retaining her job to allow the delivery of a contract powered by a PDP man. They argued that such scenario may swing unprecedented support for PDP in an APC controlled State and Local Government Area in Lagos State.
Further investigations showed that as the crisis of party politics continues to rock the road project, areas that are still abandoned and bad include the ring-road sections from Mandilas main gate, BBA main gate, APT main gate (which is now worst), UASPDA main gate, ASPMDA main gate and the stretch leading to the complex main gate from ASPMDA.