As part of its budget implementation monitoring objectives, Tracka set out to Kadna community in Bosso LGA of Niger state. The indigenes of the community primarily engage in farming, animal husbandry and hunting. Endowed with a young, vibrant workforce and vast land mass, it is unfortunate to observe the failure of government to provide infrastructure in the community, resulting in substandard living.
The core purpose of Tracka’s visit to Kadna was to inspect the construction of three blocks of classroom with furniture for N9million provided as a line item in the federal budget. The visiting team observed that the indigenes were unaware of the budgetary provision. However, we were informed by the people that their representative, Salihu Adamu, approached the community and requested for a plot of land to execute the construction of a junior secondary school; the land was provided as requested. We note that he did not inform the residents about the Federal Government Provision on Zonal Intervention Project for the community in 2016 budget line item.
During the sensitisation programme with the indigenes, residents were informed of the budgetary provision for the construction of three classroom blocks for Kadna. Despite this budgetary allocation, we observed that only two blocks of classroom were constructed as of the time of visit. Speaking with Adamu on phone, we were made to understand that the budgeted sum of N9million was insufficient for the construction of the three classroom blocks. He explained that an additional N3million was required to complete the construction, but he failed to provide details of how he reached this conclusion.
It is disheartening to see the short-changing of the educational aspirations of Kadna people by those who promised to serve them. The existing junior secondary school classrooms were borrowed from the community primary school and in many cases, pupils are made to sit on the floor to learn. As these existing schools are run by the community itself, and are not provided as part of a dedicated state or federal initiative, we see that the teachers employed are mere secondary school graduates and not graduates from a teaching, training college or other higher education institutions. While some teachers are National Diploma holders, this is rare occurrence, as they often happen to be indigenes who had the opportunity to school outside Kadna and are back to serve their hometown. Meagre fees paid to these teachers are paid termly (i.e. every three months) from Parents Teachers Association (PTA) collections.
Beyond the provision of educational facilities, lack of basic infrastructure — electricity, good road network and potable water — inhibits Kadna’s development.
The residents greatly appreciated the sensitisation engagement and resolved to periodically engage with their elected representatives in the delivery of public service.
The Tracka team has several questions for Hon. Adamu and other members of the upper chamber: (i) What were the considerations for the award of N9million for the construction of three classroom blocks? (ii) Why did Adamu fail to inform the ministry of the increased amount? (iii) Who should be held responsible for reducing the number of classroom blocks? (iv) Was there an intention to maximise profit by trimming the cost of implementation? (v) With no sanctions from the government, how do we curtail the use of inferior products in the execution of public projects?
This developmental setback should be a wake-up call on the devastating effects of poor governance, and citizens must exert their rights to demand excellence in the execution of public projects around them.