PDP to FG: Stop suggested use of concrete, direct labor for road construction

Ebonyi State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Friday summoned the Federal Government and contractors to stop the proposed use of concrete technology and direct labor by the Minister of Works, David Umahi, for the construction of federal highways in the country.

It said the direct labor approach to road construction deployed by the former Governor in Ebonyi State was a mere conduit for personal enrichment.

The Publicity Secretary of the party, Comrade Chika Nwoba who stated this in a statement maintained that the Works Minister’s claim that the concrete roads he did in Ebonyi State will last for 50 years, was a ruse.

Recall the new Minister of Works, had last week directed all contractors handling Federal Government highways across the country to immediately dump the use of asphalt and adopt concrete technology, claiming roads executed on concretes last for over 50 years.

But the main opposition party, in the statement, noted, “A few days ago, the APC-led Federal Government of Nigeria swore into office a new league of Ministers with the immediate past Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr David Umahi becoming the Minister of Works. Such a powerful ministry is second only to the Petroleum ministry or sector.

“There’s no doubt that Engr David Umahi is some sort of experienced construction engineering personality, but some qualities are lacking in the ways he administers any office he finds himself in at every material point in time. We are from Ebonyi State; and are direct witnesses to how he ran the works sector as Governor of the state of Ebonyi for eight years.

“During his inglorious reign as Governor of Ebonyi State, hunger reigned supreme in the state. His projects still suffer dilapidation just a few months to, and after leaving office. One of the shocking failures recorded on his self-supervised projects was the collapse of some buildings inside the Abakaliki International Market construction which he supervised. When the buildings fell completely, the Ebonyi people and residents were shocked. Their shock came from the fact that the Governor as he bragged allowed that his direct labor projects would stand the test of longevity for as long as fifty years.

“Umahi runs a one-man’s show. We read that the contractors handling ongoing federal projects under the Federal Ministry of Works have issued warning notes against the minister whom they accused of trying to revoke and re-award already contracted projects that are currently being executed and refusing to sign documents that could see to the release of funds to shoulder the costs of the ongoing projects.

“We read also from the news that his handlers were planning to enforce his decision of appointing 37 Special Assistants, one for each state who would assist him in carrying out his sole administrative running of the lofty ministry. We who know Mr. Umahi can explain how he’s going to run the ministry without mincing words. He’s a despot, dictator, and everything unsuitable for a leader with approval power.

“He has already begun to marshal out ways of executing projects using direct labor means. How he does it is that after contractors have bid for such projects, attaching cost effects on them, he now bypasses the due process and begins to deliver them using direct labor. That’s how he executed all the now stuttering projects he carried out as Governor.”

It added, “It’s without doubts that he has reached a pact with some cement manufacturers from whom he buys at a wholesale rate. In fact, he uses his immediate younger brother, Austin Umahi to carry out the nefarious contract execution who he mandates to manage the cement and iron supplies. Delivering the shabby projects, he converts the Works ministry’s civil servants into mere site labourers. He harvests sand and chippings free from the many mines around using his executive fiat to commandeer handlers into granting free excavation to the different project sites.

“A greater portion of his projects in Ebonyi have begun suffering depletion as can be seen in the pictures below. If anyone was, or is thinking that Umahi would deliver quality projects to Nigeria as Works Minister, such a person is daydreaming. Umahi has come to pursue selfish agenda. Once he has settled the powers that be inside the presidency, everyone else working at the Ministry is on their own.

“The singular agenda of Mr Umahi is to amass more wealth. His choice of concrete pavement technology over asphalt is to have a faster means of amassing money as such is way too cheaper than asphalt technology. It’ll take the National Assembly or the President himself to dissuade him from applying direct labour and concrete pavement technology on all the construction projects his ministry is going to undertake.

“While the projects are ongoing, depletion on the other hand is taking place on them. The threat from the contractors won’t dissuade him either. The contractors have got to take the campaign seriously by reporting him to the superior authorities. He’s for sure going to render the administrative and field staff of the ministry redundant as he shall be importing his own team who’ll help him in amassing wealth through direct labour. Umahi is slow in knowing that he’s handling a federal office, not state one for which he acts as a soul administrator.”

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