Unity Road: The People As Victims On The Governor’s Chessboard With His Ally (Part Two)

For personal reasons and in line with a self-imposed policy, I have maintained my stoic stance in refraining from making comments on the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unit Road until now. But I think it is time to bring the many aspects of that road project, especially the naira and kobo of it to public knowledge, as much as one can.

STATUS OF ON-GOING PROJECTS  AS AT MAY 29, 2015

COLUMN 1

COLUMN 2

COLUMN 3

COLUMN 4

COLUMN 4

COLUMN 6

COLUMN 7

COLUMN 8

COLUMN 9

COLUMN 10

COLUMN 11

COLUMN 12

COLUMN 13

NAME OF PROJECT

NAME OF CONTRACTOR

CONTRACT SUM

DATE OF AWARD/REVALIDATION

COMMENCEMENT DATE

DURATION

EXPECTED COMPLETION DATE

EXTENDED COMPLETION DATE

LENGTH (KM)

AMOUNT PAID TO DATE

BALANCE OF PAYMENT

% OF WORK DONE

REMARKS

Construction of Unity Road: Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Road.

Rivigo J.V. Nig. Ltd.

31,000,000,000.00

Revalidated Dec. 2007

Jan. 2008

24 Months

1st Qtr. 2010

1st Qtr. 2013

43 km & 10 Bridges

25,795,821,244.00

5,204,178,756.00

Old Contract – 70%, New Contract – 30%

Work is ongoing.

From the above table, it is stated that Construction of the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road had a contract value of the sum of N31bn as revalidated in 2007 as the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi administration came on board in Rivers State. After the revalidation of projects inherited from the departed Odili administration, the contract originally awarded to Rivigo Nig Ltd by the Odili administration was allowed to continue work from 2008 in earnest.

The project was billed to be completed in 24 months but due to the stiff contention for the dwindling resources that had started impacting on the available resources of the State at some point, a bit of delicate allocation of funds for the numerous projects such as the dualization of all arterial roads in Port Harcourt, hundreds of health centres and schools across the State, amongst others that were running simultaneously all over the State, started impacting on the speed of work but work continued apace. The extremely challenging environment through which the road stretches through did not also help matters. The substantial modification on the original plan of the road such as design for a spur into Opobo through Nkoro and modifications to the road span all contributed to making the set completion date unrealisable. Again, from the table above, it is clear that the total length of the road went up to 43 kilometres and 10 bridges in all.

Why an additional N9.8bn by Gov Wike on a project without any changes to content of the project?

By the time the Amaechi administration left office on May 29, 2015 out of the total contract sum of N31bn for the project, N25.7Bn had been paid to the contractor in line with agreed milestones, leaving a balance of N5.2Bn to complete the project. 70% of work was assessed to have been completed. However, shortly after coming into office on May 29, 2015 Gov. Wike cancelled the project contract with Rivigo Ltd. and re-awarded it to Raffoul at 15bn. Many to this day are still wondering how any variation was carried out to raise the figure from the balance of N5.2Bn to N15Bn, an increase of N9.8bn. I am challenging the government to make public the justification for such an increase in contract sum without any changes to the content of the project. This challenge is against the background that all modifications and changes on the project were concluded by the last administration. Can the ubiquitous and oft-blamed inflation alone account for why such percentage increase is surreptitiously made to the settled value of the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road? The people must get an explanation on this from the governor and his chess game partner contractor.

Senibo Chris Finebone writes from Port Harcourt

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