The attention of Honourable Adesegun Adekoya Abdel-Majid, Member, House of Representatives, Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency has been drawn to a news report with the above headline in an online news medium and which is now being circulated all over by some politically interested persons and parties.
His initial reaction was to ignore the report since it was clear it was sponsored by some political interests, and especially because similar thing had been done by the same perpetrators who forged the signature of our revered monarch sometime in 2016. However, some other reasons prevailed that records must be set straight so that innocent citizens of Ogun State, and particularly, constituent members will not be misled to believe in the tincture of lies carefully weaved together by Hon. Adekoya’s political detractors.
1. One of the issues raised in the report suggested that the Information and Communication Techmology Centre Project was sited in Hon. Adekoya’s constituency office in Ago Iwoye. It needs to be emphasized that Constituency office is a public place and property that is accessible to all citizens and where they could reach, send and receive messages from their elected representative. The requirements of a project of such nature is that they must be located where in the wisdom of the government agency consider safe enough from theft and vandalization. There was no provision for the building to house the project as part of the components, only supply of equipment. Several appeals were made to citizens while scouting for location, but none yielded result, hence the resolve to situate this in one of the most conspicuous and easily accessible location within the Ago Iwoye town. One would have thought those behind such report, if indeed they were genuine, would have done their due diligence, especially among various interest lines, including among well placed citizens in the Ago Iwoye Central Development Council (ACDC) to ascertain the level of appeals that were made before the final consideration of the constituency office as the location of choice.
On this particular project, it must be stated that Hon. Adekoya only facilitated that such be approved for his constituency, but did not award nor execute the contract, rather the relevant federal government agency, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) under the Ministry of Communication Technology, did the procurement (in line with best practices and in compliance with the Publuc Procurement Act, a law of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) and awarded the contract for the supply of all the computer equipment, including all accessories, furniture and fittings, Power back up systems, printers etc. (Kindly find attached). The writers, and their sponsors, also need to be educated on Executive and legislative functions.
The job of Hon. Adekoya, in this instance stops at initiating and lobbying for the project to be sited in his constituency, questions on the award of contracts, the specific components involved are to be directed to the relevant government agency which is in charge of the direct procurement. We repeat, there is no way that Hon. Adekoya could or should know the components of the Computer workstations to be supplied on the contract.
Also, the question of appropriating a “community project as a private project” does not arise; that can only exist in the wild imagination of miscihief makers. A popularly elected lawmaker is a representative of the entire community. And just as a democratically elected office holder is a communal or public property, so is the access to his constituency office which is meant to serve as a link between him and the people he represents. All citizens, irrespective of creed, religion and or political affiliation must have equal and unfettered access to their lawmaker and through his constituency offices.
2. The report also mischieviously referred to “only 15 computer sets and accessories” and repeatedly made reference to some phantom “N24 million ICT project meant for Ago Iwoye”. This is another falsehood being peddled from the pit of hell to malign the hard won reputation of Hon. Adekoya. For the records, the total contract size of the Constituency project as it relates to the particular ICT centre in particular is N21,580,000 which is inclusive of all taxes, VAT and charges. How and where the online medium and its mischievous sponsors arrived at their own figure leaves much to answer? Kindly find attached pictures. It is gratuitous that the writers, either by Providence or sheer oversight, also referred to “accessories” in their reports, but failed to point out that “accessories” will refer to a whole lot of components to make a complete workstations, including furniture and fittings, Power back up terminals, Surge protectors, printers etc.
3. The report further went ahead to claim that “Poor constituents” are being asked to pay for ID cards.
“Residents are required to pay N500 for identification cards, N1000 for desktop publishing and N300 per hour for internet browsing. “The question is: who receives this money and why are citizens paying for a FG funded project?”
The deliberate mischief laced report, ostensibly based on some investigation did not however inform the reading public or its audience that the commitment of the Federal Government on the projects stopped at the provision and installation of those items and ICT facilities, and not beyond that especially in terms of maintenance, repairs and Operations. One would have thought a thorough investigation would have been done to provide answers to how will the ICT centre run effectively and efficiently? What about administration and operational staff? Electricity? power generators? Contingency and stationery? Did the writer take time to investigate if all these were part of the components of the ICT centre?
4. It is gratifying to note that the report recognised the invaluable contributions of Hon. Adesegun to his constituency in bringing very lofty, useful and relevant projects to his community, especially where its said: “Project located in Ago Iwoye with a population of not less than 20,000 people: area harbours youths, mostly students in the secondary and tertiary institutions in the Ago Iwoye, and this provision is crucial to the community.”
5. The report equally stated “That Hon. Adesegun visited the Olabisi Onabanjo University offering to supply computers to the existing ICT department.” This appears more like hearsay and there is no correlation between a promise to a University in Hon. Adesegun’s constituecy (another sign of good, responsive and responsible leadership and representation for which Hon. Adesegun is noted and widely recognised for) and a direct Constituency project aimed at promoting general access to the knowledge of Information and Communication technology. It was true that Honourable Adekoya made case with the sane NITDA for the supply of computers and ICT equipment to the Olabisi Onabanjo University, and the Vice Chancellor as well as other senior staff of the University are not oblivious of the efforts being made in this regard. The best a lawmaker can do to affect his community with respect to attracting Federal Government projects is to ensure it gets into the appropriation and afterwards to lobby for same to be executed because of the competing needs of government in relation to limited resources. As it is, the 2017 budget proposal already captured the supply of computers to the OOU ICT department after series of letters to the NITDA by Hon. Adekoya.
6. “Citizens in the rural areas are underserved. “The residents are extremely unsatisfied with the location of the ‘ICT Centre’ as it is undoubtedly unable to offer much succour to the hundreds of youth in the community.” This is most uncharitable and it represents the parochial, subjective and narrow personal view of the writer, the sponsors and promoter of the said mischief. The reality on ground is that the people of Ijebu North/Ijebu North East/Ogun Waterside Federal constituency have never had it so good in terms of quality representation which Hon. Adesegun has provided. Hon. Adesegun recognises the challenges and the needs of the rural communities which he represents because he lives among them and he has always risen to the occasion all the time, one example of course is the ICT centre in question which he solely facilitated for the community as a way of encouraging education and promoting access and exposure to new technologies in the information and communication world. He has single handedly provided means if empowerment; tricycles, motorcycles, deep freezers, grinding machines etc: he has and still unilaterally sponsoring the tuition of several indigent students from his constituency in all the tertiary institutions within and outside the state. He has always been there for his people.
Apart from that, Hon. Adekoya has personally procurred two (2) Passenger canoes with 30HP Yamaha Outboard engine for Makun-Omi and Ode-Omi communities of Ogun Waterside LG, as well as installed Solar Powered Street Lights for Mamu, Obada, Imusin and other 3 night markets all within his constituency. So, with Hon. Adekoya, the question of under serving or under representing the people of rural areas do not even arise.
‘Titi Banjoko Esq.
Senior Legislative Aide to Hon. Adekoya Adesegun Abdel-Majid (MHR)