OrderPaperToday – Former deputy Senate president, Ike Ekweremadu, has responded to an allegation that he received funds for constituency projects and abandoned them, describing it as an “organised smear campaign.”

In a press statement issued by his special assistant on Projects, Jonathan Ivoke, Ekweremadu said the accusation made by Lauretta Onochie, a special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari, is a “display of ignorance, mischief, and malice”.

According to him, “It is observed that while Tracka.ng tweeted that ‘N30 million was allocated for the 2018 budget for Abia-Orie Agu-Amokwe-Udi Erosion Control Project’, Lauretta mischievously misquoted the source as stating that ‘N30 million was allocated in the 2018 budget to Senator Ekweremadu for the completion of Abia-Orie Agu-Udi erosion control project’.

“For the records, nobody gave a kobo to Senator Ekweremadu or any other lawmaker for that matter for the execution of any projects.
“A cursory look at the signpost at this project as contained in her tweet, clearly lists Senator Ekweremadu as the proponent (nominator) of the project, while the federal government, through the Federal Ministry of Environment, is boldly shown as the client, which procured the project and is responsible for its funding and supervision.

“Therefore, to say that a dime was allocated to any lawmaker is the height of irresponsibility, display of ignorance, mischief, malice, and in fact, an organised smear campaign taken too far”.

Speaking further, Ekweremadu’s aide called on development agencies and NGOs to focus on the provision of rural infrastructures if they cannot carry out thorough project tracking, stressing that constituency projects are funded by the executive which should be held responsible for the abandonment of such projects.

“Lauretta should tell the government, which she is part of, to release funds so that not only constituency projects, but also more critical FG projects can be implemented. She should ask questions about the Kano-Katsina Road, Minna-Suleja Road, Enugu-Onitsha Road, East-West Road, and a plethora of others, which have equally suffered delayed completion despite yearly budgetary allocations, not because they were abandoned or funds embezzled by the implementing Ministry, but due to lack of funds.

“As a presidential aide, the onus is on her to get her facts right and from the appropriate executive authorities before going public or recycling them”, he added.

“Enugu West stands out as one of the best success stories in constituency projects and power of representation, hence the people have overwhelming elected Ekweremadu as their senator five consecutive times,” Ivoke concluded.

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Damilola Zebulun Adeniran
Damilola is a multiple award-winning Writer, Researcher, and Community/Sustainable Development Practitioner. His interests and experience span across media, academics, human capital development, and strategic planning. Damilola is a Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellow. He is the first Nigerian in history to win the blog4dev writing contest organised by the World Bank Group. Also, Damilola's written work on violent extremism and sustainable peace in Nigeria won a PeaceWriteNow prize, presented by the Embassy of Ireland in June, 2018. His works have been published in Nigeria and the United States of America, in English and in French. Damilola has also attended important meetings within and outside the African continent including the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C, USA and the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA) Marketplace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He was also a special guest on a panel discussion titled “How creative industry can help to stem fragility,” which was held at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, D.C, USA. Furthermore, Damilola was selected as a Champion of Advocacy against extreme poverty and preventable diseases by ONE Campaign in May, 2019. An alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School and Federal University of Technology Akure, Damilola Adeniran represents Nigeria in the Youth Transforming Africa Program.

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