The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba and the Etsako Federal Constituency lawmaker in the House of Representatives, Johnson Oghuma, have disagreed over the construction of some rural roads in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo State.
The Rep member had yesterday raised the alarm that rural roads which the Minister claimed were being constructed under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) of the Federal Government, were his Constituency projects.
Oghuma listed the rural roads in contention to include roads linking five communities of Iviukhua, Iviebua, Iviegbepui, Ivianokpodi and Ivoghe.
He listed other roads where construction work are ongoing as Ogbona-Ekperi road in Etsako Central, Okugbe-Imiekuri road in Etsako East through NDDC, Aviele-Iyakpi rural access road and rehabilitation of Iviakpi to Aviele Ekhie Girls road popularly known as campus 2 road in Etsako West, adding that the projects were those he influenced into the 2020 budget.
He said the roads were particularly chosen for construction because of the years of abandonment the communities had suffered.
But the Minister in statement by his Special Assistant (Media), Sufuyan Ojeifo, debunked Oghuma’ s claim, saying that there are no Consttituency projects in Economic Sustainability Plan.
“In an inexplicable plot, a member of the Federal House of Representatives, representing Etsako Federal Constituency, Hon. Johnson Oghuma, seeks to alter the narrative of the Federal Government’s allocated N34 billion for the construction of rural roads under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).
“The ESP is a direct and proactive response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the plan has been designed to check post-harvest losses, among other negative impacts.
“At the instance of Mr President, the Federal Government had, in the light of the ravaging pandemic, approved the construction of 377 rural roads in 266 communities nationwide, along the agro-corridors, which the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, is inspecting in line with the requirements of the National Monitoring and Evaluation (NM&E) mandate of his ministry.
“This inspection and evaluation process is not exclusive to Edo State.
“The Iviukhua, Iviebua, Iviegbepui, Ivianokpodi and Ivoghe rural road networks, which Oghuma mentioned in his skewed narrative, are not constituency projects.
“The minister had already inspected the construction works on the affected roads in Edo State to assess progress achieved.
“He also inspected the progress of construction works on a number of other roads in Imo State (3.5km asphaltic rural road project in Umucheke, Okwe in Onuimo Local Government Area) and Enugu State (7.5km Nsukka-Lejja-Igbo-Etiti road).
“Claims by Oghuma that Agba is appropriating his projects are therefore disingenuous as there are no constituency projects in the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP), which is an exclusive initiative of Mr President.
“It is important that as leaders, we endeavour to do our homework before making public statements; otherwise we run the risk of self contradictions and also making statements that are both false and misleading”, the statement said.