Tony Osauzo, Benin
Nigerians have different views and perceptions about constituency projects. While many believe they are beneficial and contribute to the development of rural communities, others think such projects are designed by elected representatives to line their pockets at the expense of the people they represent.
Not withstanding the arguments, there are living testimonies of developmental impact of constituency projects across communities in Owan Federal Constituency in Edo State. In Otuo-Afuze and Otuo-Ikhin, 13 roads have been rehabilitated and constructed under the constituency projects, while five health facilities including a Comprehensive Health Centre with doctor’s residence and Solar Powered Borehole at Ihievbe, Comprehensive Health Centre at Ikpeyan-Okpujie and Women and Children Hospital at Otuo, have been executed.
Indeed, over N200 million is said to have been expended in procuring a new Ambulance, construction of Radiology building housing X-ray Machines; Supply and installation of Incubators, Incinerator; hospital beds, mattresses, trolleys, refrigerators and provision of 24-hour off grid Solar energy at the Otuo Hospital.
But sadly, the hospital has remained shut, as the State Government is yet to provide manpower to make it functional.
Meanwhile, Ozalla, Uhunmora-Ora, Okpujie, Ukhuse, Eruere, Ugbubezi, Sobe, Otuo, Ake, Ikhin, Igue-Sale, Ikao, Ihievbe, Ogben, Afuze and Errah communities, have been provided with Solar Powered Boreholes, just as the Michael Imodu College of Physical Education (now a campus of Tayo Akpata University) and Edeki Grammar School, Afuze, have had installed in their schools 110 and 41 Desktop Computers to aid ICT-E learning, while Blocks of 3 Classrooms have been constructed at Olegama Primary
School, Uzebba and Usuobua Primary School, Otuo, respectively.
Besides eight electricity projects, including installations of Transformers, the Police Divisions in Otuo and Sabongida-Ora have been aided with Hilux Patrol Vans while hundreds of Youths and Women have been trained in skill acquisition and empowered with starters packs across communities in the two local governments areas that constitute Owan Federal Constituency.
Commenting on the borehole at Ozalla, Owan West Local Government Area, Mr. Akhigbe Kennedy, 33, commended Pally Iriase, former deputy chief whip of the House of Representatives for facilitating the project.
Sunday Oboh expressed joy over the construction of Ukhianvbe/Ugbo/Ekhare street road and provision of street light in Uhonmora-Ora and called for the construction of more street roads in the community.
Health Officer in charge of Ikpeyan Comprehensive Health Centre, Okpujie, Mrs Gloria Nosakhare, said the facility has been of great help to the community.
She explained that the Centre offers anti-natal care to pregnant women as well treat out-patients for minor ailments, while other ailments the Centre could not handle are referred to Sabongida-Ora General Hospital.
At Otuo, Mrs Ifijieh Ayekemi praised the effort of Hon. Pally Iriase in facilitating the installation of 10,000 litres Solar Powered Borehole in the community, adding that it has eased the water problem of the people in the area.
John Aigbokhan, captured the general mood of the people of the communities when he said: “we are grateful that in our time, we are experiencing the dividends of democracy through these projects. It can only get better”.
Iriase, the brain behind the projects, explained that the project sites were picked based on their benefits to the people.
“It is based on seeking the greatest good for the greatest number because many communities have their priorities even amongst the community people.
“I used my constituency projects as seed projects to bait Federal Government to start key projects which the Government later took over”, Iriase explained.
“I feel very fulfilled to God for making me a tool,” Iriase said.