The National Assembly has acknowledged the need to scale up engagements
and broad-based participation of citizens in the design and implementation
of constituency projects in the country through the use of mobile
The position of the legislature tallies with a firm position canvassed by
other critical stakeholders from the media, civil society organizations,
community-based organizations and representatives of the executive branch
of government, among others, concerned with the constituency projects
This emerged at the end of a one-day interactive stakeholders’ roundtable
on the constituency projects scheme (ConsTrack) organized by OrderPaper
Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday. The event was organized with support from
USAID’s Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) project.
The acknowledgement by the National Assembly was expressed by the
deputy chairman of the House of Representatives committee on constituency
outreach, Hon. Bede Eke.
Speaking at the roundtable, Hon. Eke, who commended OrderPaper Nigeria for
the ConsTrack initiative, said it has become necessary to seize the
opportunity of the proposed mobile application to scale up sensitization,
engagements and appropriate exchange of information and ideas about the
controversial constituency projects scheme.
The lawmaker expressed delight at the timely intervention of such
initiatives as ConsTrack at a time the issue of constituency projects is
generating controversies as a result of lack of sensitization and informed
understanding by all stakeholders.
Describing OrderPaper Nigeria as the emergent liaison between the people
and legislators, Hon. Eke said: “First, let me thank OrderPaper; the other
day it was a colloquium on the budget; today it is on the constituency
projects. If I have the power, I think the National Assembly should engage
the organization, because you are now like a liaison between we the
lawmakers and the people.
“First there is a need for sensitization of the people to know the role
and the limits of the legislators, so as to remove this constant pressure
on physical projects. Two years into Buhari’s administration, people asked
for what he has done, ministers pointed at roads and other projects. What
about lawmakers, they are also asked to give account of their
stewardships, so there is nothing wrong if we attract constituency
“Take my constituency for example, if not for my efforts in attracting
projects, the Minister for Works, Power and Housing has no single
knowledge about the needs of my people. I am not speaking for the National
Assembly, but I am speaking as someone who has experience in both state
House of Assembly and currently in the House of Representatives, and I can
tell you we don’t award projects.
“I am not disputing certain lapses or abuse by some lawmakers, but should
we be responsible for them? In fact, what we need is sensitization on the
roles of the lawmaker. We need to educate the people on our primary role,
let the people know it is not the role of the lawmaker to build roads and
The round table which was an interactive session had in attendance members
from civil society organizations, government agencies such as the Bureau
of Public Procurement (BPP), community-based organizations, IT experts,
and members of the fourth estate of the realm.
Similar views were expressed by different speakers during the roundtable.
Mr. Ayodeji Ajayeoba (Jaye Gaskia) of the Praxis Centre, on his part
called for citizens’ audit of the scheme after some good understanding and
sensitization has been undertaken in the course of the ConsTrack project.
In a brief introduction of the project, the Executive Director of
OrderPaper Nigeria, Mr. Oke Epia gave an overview of the objectives of
ConsTrack, stating that “we intend to take the conversation further, to be
able to have appropriate interface between lawmakers and their
constituents, and citizens in general. We need to have a template on
conversation around constituency projects that is based on facts, not just
hearsay; a conversation that is informed, so that we can minimize if not
eliminate the controversies around constituency projects; ultimately we
intend to have a platform of consensus among all stakeholders.”