***Parents, Guardians, Concerned Deltans Plot Protest Against Okowa, Onwusanya
A Delta state legislator turned contractor representing Oshimili South Constituency at the Delta state House of Assembly, Hon. Peter Onwusanya may have got his fingers burnt out, following a grand exposure of his incompetence in contract execution by the state government.
The former Speaker of the Delta legislature, who is currently touting for the Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency electorate’s confidence and votes to represent them at the National Assembly, allegedly failed to execute a contract of over N100 million at West End Mixed Secondary School, Asaba, awarded to him by the state government, as part of his constituency project since 2016.
Sources disclosed to Blank NEWS Online that the former Speaker, instead of executing the project to acceptable standard ended up subletting the job to an incompetent contractor at less than 40 percent of the actual contract cost.
The project, according to Blank NEWS Online findings, was awarded to Onwusanya’s Sants Nig. Ltd but the legislator sold the job to one Mr. Osas, who is neither a building contractor nor owns a recognized firm. Mr. Osas however, in a bid to make some profit from the meager sum the contract was sold out, used substandard building materials and engaged non professional artisans to execute the job.
Another source from the legislator’s Oshimili South constituency who pleaded anonymity said that Onwusanya may have used the funds for his re-election since the contract was awarded ahead of his second term bid.
Irked by the continued delay in ensuring that students of the West End Secondary School, Asaba are given their proper place of learning, parents and guardians of students have concluded plans to protest and petition to the appropriate authorities.
The ugly development, according to insider sources had angered the Delta state First Lady and wife of the state governor, Dame Edith Okowa, who was a former Principal of the school. Despite her efforts to ensure that the best was given to the school, the unrepentant legislator, has allegedly in desperation, confronted government officials and appointees with claims of “political witch hunt”.
“The unrepentant legislator and one time Speaker has been alleging witch hunting by members of the state executive council, even after walloping a huge sum of N100 million for the failed project”, an aggrieved parent once said.
The unwholesome development, has however led the school authority to introduce morning and afternoon sections for students of West End Mixed Secondary School, Asaba and bringing untold hardship for the students, teachers, parents and guardians.
Some teachers who prefered anonimy have reserved their angst against the state government and the contractor, hence they have been made to close school in the evenings, against academic norms of closing school in the afternoon.
Parents and guardians have also cried out over the risk their children and wards go through by attending classes at odd hours of the day.
“We are going through pains over and over again. Our children are no longer safe with the introduction of new sessions. They have been forced to be at school when students in other schools may have closed for the day. We will protest until government gives reasonable attention to this lingering matter”, an embittered parent told Blank NEWS online.
Meanwhile, some staff in the Ministry of Housing have been sanctioned for certifying the defective job okay, even as the Commissioner for Housing, Arch. Joseph Ogeh, has allegedly been fingered in a cover-up in the shoddy and fraudulent deal.
The State Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Chiedu Ebie, disclosed this when he took his turn at the ongoing ministerial press briefing to present the activities and achievements of his Ministry, held at the Conference Hall of the Ministry of Information, Asaba.
Mr Ebie, who was responding to a question raised on the integrity test carried out on a building project at West End Mixed Secondary School, Asaba, said that the officers were sanctioned to act as deterrent against others okaying shoddy execution of jobs.
Just as parents have continued to express worries over the delay in either correcting the defects on the school building or executing a new project, the Education Commissioner said that efforts were being made by government to correct the defect in the building based on findings by the consultant that carried out the integrity test on the building, adding that “no extra amount would be spent by government but would be that of the contracting firm concerned.”
He clarified that even though the construction of the building was a constituency project attracted by a former speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, it does not make him the contractor of the project.
Although, Hon. Peter Onwusanya has appeared unperturbed by the ugly development and failure to fulfill his electoral mandate to his Oshimili South constituents, he had owned up to his faults when he was confronted by Blank NEWS Online through a text message on November 09, 2016, 07:20AM urging him to respond to claims of his involvement in a shoddy contract execution of classroom blocks at West End Mixed Secondary School, Asaba.
In his response on November 09, 2016, 10:08AM, Onwusanya claimed that “the project is my constutuency project handled by a contractor called Osas, but the preliminary reports is suggesting over loading of students far and above capacity of 45 per class to 120. I am still awaiting final report before the intervention by the contractor.”
In his desire to fulfill all righteousness and free himself from the entanglement, Onwusanya had quickly embarked on the renovation of an abandoned school block near the ever busy and noisy Ogbeogonogo Modern Market to accommodate the stranded students who were admitted to occupy the new blocks of classrooms being built by Sants Big. Limited.
Unfortunately for him, the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education rebuffed his tactical moves, just as parents resented the plan because the makeshift arrangements was too distant for the students.
The integrity allegedly carried out by experts to certify if the building is fit to accomodate students or should be pulled down, has however been kept as top secret document by Mr Chiedu Ebie, Commissioners for Basic and Secondary Education and Arch. Ugeh Commissioner for Housing, as both Commissioners refused to disclose the contents of the report.
Ogeh, when contacted by Blank NEWS Online through a text message on November 30, 2016 07:46PM, seeking his urgent response to the alleged cover-up of a shoddy contract execution of classroom blocks by Sants Nig. Ltd, refused to reply or return the calls.
Also, when Blank NEWS Online contacted on March 01, 2017, 09:58AM, the Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr Chiedu Ebie to oblige it with
the integrity report on classroom block at the school, Mr. Ebie replied on March 01, 2017, 10:04AM thus: “No Sir. We have only just received it and have not even met to consider it. Once we consider it and come up with a position/next line of action, then we can inform you accordingly. Do bear with me.”
Meanwhile, Engr. Osas who allegedly executed the shoddy project with office located at Rain Oil plaza on Okpanam road has become dodgy, as efforts to severally contact him has proved abortive.
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-Reports by Albert OGRAKA (Editor)