Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
The Member representing Arochukwu/Ohafia federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Ibe Okwara Osonwa, has insisted that constituents should be given the opportunity to determine projects relevant to them.
Rep Osonwa who spoke at Ohafia during a townhall meeting with his constituents, faulted the old practice where elected leaders on their own, decide and impose projects on their constituents.
He said his tenure would mark a paradigm shift from the errors of the past, promising to carry the people along.
The Labour Party lawmaker said he came on board to make good changes and enthrone participatory governance.
Speaking further, he said that under his watch, each political ward would decide which project to be captured for them in the federal budget.
According to him, every political ward in the federal constituency, will be the one to decide federal projects to be sited in it.
“I won’t decide for you what you want in your communities. You have to agree and tell me what you want in your ward, and I will fight to ensure it is captured in the federal budget and also executed. That’s my job and how it should be,” he said
The lawmaker went ahead to group the 24 political wards in the constituency into four groups, explaining that six wards will be captured every year.
Meanwhile, lots were cast for the wards and picked accordingly.
He told each ward to go home and agree on any project of their choice and report back to him.
The lawmaker gave one week to those that picked the first year so they could furnish him with information about their choice.
He however, promised that apart from such a consensus project per political ward, communities in the federal constituency would still benefit from his annual constituency projects and other interventions.
Rep Osonwa further promised even and equitable distribution of his constituency projects for the benefit of all.
He thanked his constituents for their continued support and pledged to give them quality representation.
Earlier in an interview with newsmen, the lawmaker expressed rage over the slow pace of work on the Arochukwu- Ohafia federal road.
Rep Osonwa who said the road was getting more dilapidated, called on the contractor to mobilise back to site or the contract would be revoked.
He warned that no contractor would be allowed to hold the people to ransom.
“On my way to Arochukwu, I drove through this road and discovered it has gone so bad. Our people like coming home during Christmas, and this road cannot continue to be like this.
“No contractor will hold us to ransom. I have engaged my predecessor, and I shall meet with the contractor also. If nothing is done soon, I will engage the Minister of Works. The contract can be revoked and given to another firm that can fix the road.”
Meanwhile the various stakeholders who spoke at the town-hall meeting, said it was the first time any lawmaker would bother to consult with the constituents on what they needed.
They described the move as a sign of good beginning and departure from the old order.
The stakeholders commended the lawmaker for showing regard for the people, and urged him to sustain the tempo.
They pledged their unalloyed support for him and tasked him to ensure that he fulfilled his promises.
Some of those who spoke at the town-hall meeting were the traditional ruler of Etitiama Nkporo, HRH Eze Innocent Mba; Eze Ndinyom of Amaekpu Ohafia, Chief Mrs May Nwosu; and the President of Mbem Political Association (MPA) comprising the entire Ohafia clan, Chief Lucas Eme Uche.