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HomeNewsUnease Over Silence Since The Groundbreaking Of College-Juji Road Project In Chikun,...

Unease Over Silence Since The Groundbreaking Of College-Juji Road Project In Chikun, Kaduna State

After suffering from a dilapidated road infrastructure that has led to the death of several individuals especially at the peak of rains for over a decade, members of Juji, Ungwan Matari and Ungwan Barde are getting worried over the promise made recently by the Kaduna State Government to construct the road stretching six kilometres. Ahead of the February 3 elections for the Chikun’s state constituency office, Governor Uba Sani had visited the community in the same week, Monday 29th January for a groundbreaking of the road project.

“Our government is determined to facilitate commerce and opportunities through the provision of good road networks. Igabi and Chikun LGAS have huge agricultural potential hence we are committed to giving our local farmers the necessary support required to boost their yields and market their produce.” Mr Sani had said during a ceremony that was greeted by praise singers branded in political party attires and flags in what was widely perceived as a political campaign visit in the area ahead of the Saturday polls that held within the same week.

The groundbreaking of the six kilometre road is coming as a relief to the members of the community who have suffered neglect and exclusion from government public service delivery in the past 8 years. This, according to community members, had a huge impact on their health, welfare and security as a people.

However two weeks after groundbreaking, community members are worried over the sincerity of purpose of government who have provided little or no detail about the project and the scope of work members of the community are expecting the project to cover in improving access, reducing risks to loss of lives to both a flooded culvert and terrorists activities that had made Juji and surrounding areas unsafe over the years.

“No signpost concerning the project is in place at the moment to inform the people on where they can visit to ask questions about the project. It is also disturbing that we have not seen any activity on site and do not know how long the project is going to take and if there are emerging issues we need to be prepared for in the community.” says Joseph Ose, a veteran resident in the area.

“The implementation of public sector interventions in this area outside education and healthcare is very low. The improvement we have today around education is coming after over seven years of neglect by the government in the state who had gone missing until during elections or when they are desperately collecting taxes from the people.”

The same faith ticket which was introduced by the Nasir el-Rufai administration in 2019 and reiterated now in the current administration may just be the right recipe to deepen inequality and exclusion. “Our expectations of democracy are that the governor and every other public servant will serve the people everywhere across the state irrespective of religion, ethnicity and creed. This has not been the case in the last 8 years in Kaduna State since the exclusion at Sir Kashim Ibrahim House in the office of the Governor.” he says.

Since this groundbreaking, the streets have become more dusty and the air pollution has begun to make life for residents along the parts where some surface grader activity was undertaken ahead of the governor’s visit. The machines are no more on site as at the time of visit.

How the community members are engaging the situaton

Community associations in the area have begun to organize themselves to leverage on existing legal and policy frameworks that enable citizens participation in the delivery of the project.

The convener of the coalition, Jeremiah Dawah is convinced that the commitment of the State Government to Open Government Partnership and existing fiscal transparency laws in the state should be enough to enable government uphold the constitutional rights of the people to participate in their government.

Dawah who has decried the deplorable conditions of living has been engaging some civil society enlightenment campaigns and which are making him more aware of pathways to engage government as individuals, community for better service delivery.

“This initiative for constructive engagement have yielded more results in other communities, and partnering with the organizations that can aid communities within the Ward to own development and advocate for projects and interventions that will suit their needs is something we are willing to try.”

“Organizing the community towards this has been the most difficult part of the task. Currently there are naysayers who are already discouraging the movement which is simply focused for now, to track using valid information the implementation of this project.”says Mr. Dawah.

According to Dawah, the community will be leveraging on residents with technical capacity to consistently keep watch and ensure that both the people and government are not shortchanged by the people.

Through the initiative, Dawah hopes the group will access and cascade valid information that will keep residents abreast on the situation of things as they unfold with the project.

Danjuma Dangwa, a procurement expert and currently the civil society advisor of Kaduna’s Open Government Partnership, who was in the community to train the group on monitoring public procurement told Procyon News that Open Governance in practice has the potential of addressing inequalities, exclusion and economic deprivations.

Although without perfection he admits,”the space for evidence based advocacy to influence policy formulation, implementation and service delivery in the state is already being institutionalized through the efforts of both government and citizens in the state. Sabon Tasha Ward has benefited from this before but should do more through consistent participation and leveraging the governance enabler to achieve goals that will improve the standard of living for the people.”

Without underscoring the benefits for a better waste management system, improved access to education and healthcare facilities, improved response time to banditry styled kidnapping activities, and the movement of goods across residential and green areas the road will be connecting, Paul Edoga is worried about drainages and bridging the canal separating Juji from the other areas.

“As one whose nephew is among those whose death occured as a result of flooding around the canal, I am more interested in knowing if there is a bridge to be built in this project. Reducing the loss of lives and properties occasioned by flooding in this place is key . The design, which no one has seen yet, needs to meet expectations.” Edoga adds.

Dawah is thankful that the groups CS-Linkup, CALPED, OGP Youth Hub and Local Government Accountability Mechanism are enabling the community to participate and preempt any bad expectations in the implementation of the project.

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