America is Rich not because, her people are rich but because of her rich roads…… John F. Kennedy
The idea of representative democracy is to ensure the process, where by the electorates will have the right to chose Representatives, who will protect their interests. The 1999 Constitution as amended of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, empowered the legislature to conduct or direct investigation into any matter relating to corruption, inefficiency, waste, administration of appropriation that affects government Ministries, Agencies, Department and even individuals. The essence of such investigation is to foster good governance and enhance democratic accountability on the basis in which the people elected their Representatives.
The quality and nature of Roads, is an indices of categorising a settlement into Township or a Suburb. It has the capacity to attracts or mars other essentialities of good living. In Apa/Agatu, the deplorable nature of road network particularly the rural feeder roads has being impeding the smooth transversing between/among towns and villages. This has greatly affected their social and economic activities and has also reduce the people of Apa/Agatu to second class citizens in the state despite having ‘representatives’ at both National and State level.
Furtherance to the above, is the importance of the Judgment of Justice Abdu Kafarati of the Federal High Court Abuja, on the 16th June, 2015 against the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Adesina Akinwumi. The Judgment is in respect to the 18 Rural Access Mobility Projects in Idoma land. Amongst the rural access mobility project is the; Oshigbudu-Obagaji-Okokolo road (24km) at the cost of #100 million, Ugbokpo-‘Edikwu’-Opaha road (21.1km) cost #125 million, Ugbokpo-Ojantele-Ikobi road (15km) cost #85.616 million etc. These projects were budgeted for, the funds were disbursed, but none of the project was executed ( J. Akioyamen, IPN).
The legislature is charged to check, raise question and where necessary directs the executive through the political heads of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies to appear before it in the floor of the house to defend allegations levelled against the MDAs especially as it has to do with non-performance. The question that comes to mind is, where are the Legislators from Apa/Agatu in the roads saga that is affecting their constiquency.
At times one wonders, the use of the Oversight mechanism in the discourse of legislative representatives and the Apa/Agatu road saga. The legislatives failed to understand the powers of their position of supervision and monitoring of projects embarked upon by the executive branch of government. These legislative instruments are effective measure to ensure prudent management of public funds, efficient and effective implementation of programmes, projects and increase service delivery to the people.
The legislators both at the National and State level has not only failed and disappointed the Apa/Agatu people, but has created vacuum of non-representation at both National and State Politics. However, the bane of legislative inefficiency cut across the entire State as evidence in the last sixteen years but more prominent in Apa/Agatu in view of our challenges, placing us among the most under developed local government areas in the state. The actions and inaction of the legislator both at the state and national is either conspiracy of silence or grave incompetency in representation.
Further more, a peep into the expenditure capital budget records on roads in the state between 2007-2015, complicated the worries of the writer, a situation where particular roads were repeated every subsequent year and funds allocated and yet not executed. During the rainy season the anguish of the people is immeasurable and their representatives pretend to be oblivion of their predicament.
This is to draw the attention of the Executive Governor of Benue State Samuel Ortom, as he embarks on the implementation of his Strategic Programmes of investing on critical infrastructure, Apa/Agatu should be considered, cause we have suffered neglect for a very long time.
Apa/Agatu are considered to be poor not because the people are the poorest in the state but because of their deplorable nature of road network.