The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has accused the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Enugu West Senatorial District and Special Assistant to the President on Justice Reform, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu, of sabotaging Federal Government’s (FG) effort to complete the Oji-Achi-Mmaku-Awgu federal road project in Enugu State.
Ekweremadu said contrary to Ibekaku-Nwagwu’s’s claims, the Federal Ministry of Works, acting on the outcomes of several oversight visits to the project site by National Assembly Committees on Works, terminated the initial contract awarded to Master Holdings for evident non-performance.
He made the clarification during an interactive radio programme on Urban 94.5 FM, Enugu, at the weekend.
“The lady in question, our sister, comfortably married to an Air Force Officer from Imo State, suddenly came up with the idea of running for a Senate seat, which should be okay. Unfortunately, she doesn’t know what happens in Enugu West or anything about the projects”, he said.
Ekweremadu went on: “Although Section B (Awgu-Akeze) of the road in question passes through my place, the first major project I attracted when I became Deputy President of the Senate in 2007 was the Section A (Oji-Achi-Mmaku-Awgu road). It was awarded to a company called Master Holdings promoted by Anayo Nwandu. The job started, but wasn’t making progress.
“When the Ministry of Works advertised the Section B, he also applied. In fact, he moved his machines and started work ahead of the application. He didn’t get it. It was given to a company promoted by Isaac Chuks, who is from my place. In fact, I was his lawyer for many years. Nevertheless, because I knew the challenges around that road, I went to him and appealed that he should decline the offer. The Ministry of Works then awarded it to SETRACO, which completed that work in two years.
“Meanwhile, five years down the line, nothing happened along the Oji-Awgu road awarded two years before Section B. Some people around the area were abusing me, thinking I was able to see to the completion of the one that passes through my area faster. But God knows it is not true. That job was taken from Master Holdings and given to SETRACO after a protracted process”.
Ekweremadu, however, accused Ibekaku-Nwangwu of working with the former contractor to stop the work.
“She wrote a petition against the award of that contract to SETRACO. Conspiring with Anayo Nwandu of Master Holdings, who lives and earns his living in Enugu and the Chairman of the Special Investigative for the Recovery of Public Property, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla. They wrote a petition to the Obla Panel to stop the work. Obla ‘dutifully’ wrote to the FG to stop paying SETRACO. We are still battling that.
“To complicate the matter, they now also wrote a petition that I colluded with the Ministry of Works to take the job from Master Holdings and gave it to SETRACO. As I speak, SETRACO are not being paid. But graciously, they have continued the work. If you go there now, you will marvel at the work going on.
“As for me, I am not the Minister for Works. I am not a procurement officer. So, if you have a contract with the FG and you don’t do the work for about 10 years and government revoked it, how do you blame Ekweremadu?
“But, the real concern is that this is somebody, who wants to represent the people, who wants their vote, yet she wants to stop work on their road.
“Again, somebody wants to keep collecting money without doing any work for many years, yet somebody from Enugu West is colluding with him”, he added.
Ekweremadu, however, said it was not the first time Ibekaku-Nwagwu was involved in fallacious petitions against him.