by Ajadi Daniel
Abandoned projects are not new to us in this clime, they dot our landscape and are part of the sceneries that we see around us while growing up as kids and even now as young people.
It has become a part of the scenery; some of these structures have become abode of criminal elements to perpetuate criminal activities. Some of them have become shadows of themselves constituting threat to lives and properties because of the number of years they have been abandoned.
One of our followers on social media responded to our call for people to send information about abandoned projects around them across the country by saying that he is not sure we are ready or prepared for the deluge that we would be getting if people start sending in data. That response explains the extent to which it has become a tradition in this part of the world to begin a project and then stop halfway without explanation and most times without returning to the project again.
Most of these projects are meant to better the live of the people or communities that house them.
Yet the critical questions we should ask ourselves are, if the government knows it would be constrained in one way or the other to complete the project, why start it? What happened to the budgetary allocation to such projects? Why would the government begin a project it would not finish? At what point does government decides to abandon a project? Why is there always no plan to return to the project after been abandoned? Are these projects totally off the record books, apart from being abandoned, are they forgotten? These are the many questions begging for answers.
We are also not wrong to say that some of these projects have probably fall out of favour with the present or current administration; that also explains the fact that some or most of these projects are politically determined, hence when a government is interested in a project, they make sure it is concluded and vice versa
Many of these projects are not different from those that were completed; they are mere symbols of a culture of non accountability and absence of transparency.
From the point of the people, It is the duty of a community and its people to take ownership of whatever project is being situated in their area, it behooves on them to find out the details of such project, how much was budgeted for such project, the contractor and ministry involved, the site engineer and so on. But most of the times, the people or communities housing such project take a docile approach. They sit back thus leaving their destinies in the hands of those in charge of their project. Imagine a community that engages the government on a project from the start of such project, tracking and monitoring the project, demanding accountability and transparency in the course of the work; it would be very difficult to abandon such project. Even when the project is abandoned in such community, there is nothing bad in community leaders rising with the youths to demand that the project be continued and finished.
On the path of the government, it is nothing but a failure of government. Because every abandoned project shows that something either went wrong at one point or the other, or there is a deliberate sabotage on the part of government officials to truncate the project for selfish pecuniary or political reasons.
These projects most times read on the books of government that they have been carried out contrary to the reality of their status. Funds allocated for such projects are then diverted or siphoned by government officials. Some of these projects were started with funds from other sources such as international donors or organizations, but these donors or international funds require what is known as counterpart fund which is a small percentage financial commitment from the government to complement the funds they were given in other to put up the projects. But most of the times, the government get these funds without making available their own part of the financial agreement, they must have started the project with the external funds, but would be unable to finish the projects because they did not make available their own part of the commitment.
In spite of all these, the general reason for abandoned projects is nothing but blatant corruption, that type that is carried out with impunity.
Abandoned projects are structures of failure, and they are indicative of our unseriousness as a people, not only that but the insensitivity of our government, one-sidedness of our media, and the poverty of mind that plague our leaders.
Hence if we must fight this scourge, we as a people must begin to take the question of accountability and transparency seriously, we must begin to ask questions and demand answers, we must learn how to engage the government on every project they embark on from its inception on paper to the point when it is taking to the field, because eventually the people are the worse hit.