Politicians, especially those that aspire to rule a land of some three million people are expected to exhibit a high level of decorum when addressing issues that particularly border on the interest of the public they seek to lead.
Gone are those days when the people were seen as a gullible pack ready to take in any suggestion, illogical and unintelligent though it may be.
Putting aside fine phrases, what we want to put forward are observations with regards Mr. David Umaru’s latest guff as advertised in some national dailies early this week.
There may not have been any need for response to the article given that its initiator, David Umaru has long ago been identified with consistently inconsistent politics; but the fact that the misrepresentations made in the article concern the general welfare of the people of Niger state.
Notwithstanding the fact that perpetual failure in any human endeavour, not least politics has been associated with acute schizophrenia and various personality disorders, we still see no reason why an aspiring leader of a people should allow that condition degenerate to the level of blatantly lying to the people he seeks to lead by deliberately sidestepping a truth that is common knowledge in favour of uninformed criticism.
While it is entirely up to David to make efforts at redeeming the dent caused by that paid publication on his person and career, we on our part, deem it fit to volunteer to clarify the lies he tried to sell to the people.
As always, which makes it unfortunate; David almost always finds pleasure in venting his pent-up frustrations by attempts to deceive the populace even when there are contradictory facts on ground for the public to see and feel.
Characteristically, David, in the latest guff under review, attempted desperately to cast aspersions on physical development programmes initiated and executed by the current state government; this time, he took on the administration’s housing scheme that that been acclaimed statewide.
Evidently speaking from an uninformed, or deliberately mischievous, or ignorant position, David’s argument hinged on the state government’s latest sale of public housing estates to members of the public.
In order to clearly understand David’s confused mindset, it is important to first of all appreciate that the present administration of Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu has made mass shelter a matter of priority in the state, having constructed amongst others, the following housing estates:
1. Gen M I Wushishhi Housing estate, Minna: comprising 500 units of 2 and 3 – Bedroom bungalows. Completed and Occupied.
2. Talba Housing Estate, Minna: comprising 500 units of 2 and 3 – Bedroom bungalows. On-going at about 70% stage of completion.
3. Aliyu Makama Housing Estate, Bida comprising of 250 units of 2 and 3 – Bedroom bungalows. On-going at about 40% stage of completion.
v Col Sani Bello Housing Estate, Kontagora comprising 250 units of 2 and 3– Bedroom bungalows. On-going at about 40% completion
In addition, it is public knowledge that the state Government has signed an MOU with other private developers in its Public- Private Partnership Programme to provide 9,000 housing units as follows:
1. MABTOS International Ltd, to develop 500 Units in Minna.
2. Hammitte-Tek Nig Ltd, to develop 500 Units in Minna.
3. MC Global Nig Ltd, to develop 1,000 Units in Minna.
4. Daya Ventures Ltd, to develop 500 Units each in Minna and Suleja.
5. Legacy Homes and Property Ltd, to develop 500 Units each in Minna and Suleja.
6. Ederomo Global Resources Ltd, to develop 2,000 Units in Minna and 3,000 units in Suleja.
According to the government, a fact that is equally well known across the state and welcomed as well, all these houses when completed are to be sold to the general public though priority will be given to civil servants who are National Housing Fund (NHF) contributors.
Contrary to David’s many contradictions in the publication in question, it is equally a well known fact that as part of efforts to reduce the cost of maintaining government quarters, the Federal Government decided to dispose of all government quarters to the interested civil servants and the general public. The essence of this is to cut down on wastages experienced annually through budgetary allocation for such works.
According to the policy, it is only the state Chief Executive, i.e. the Governor, Deputy Governor and Speaker house of Assembly the Chief Judge and Grand Khadi that are entitled to occupy official Government quarters.
It is the belief of almost all the people of Niger with the exception of the lone voice of dissent represented by David that it is in the pursuit of the benefits of the above federal government initiative that Niger State Government, equally embarked on the disposal of government quarters since the last administration. In fact, Niger State Government started disposing government quarters since 1983. This can be attested to by the disposal of the following estates:
1. Several housing units were disposed of in the state by previous administrations that did not have the David to bark and bicker at them. By those exercises, carried out variously in Tudun Wada in 1983, and 1996, 212, 60 and 26 housing units were disposed of.
2. Several other government-owned houses were likewise disposed of in the Local Government Areas across the state in the year 2000.
What David wants to mislead the public about, which however is already known, is that the present state government had acquired 562 hectares of land for the 3- Arms zone which is to accommodate both offices and residences of the Executive, Legislative and Judiciary to create closer collaboration amongst them.
In a next bona fide step, a memo was raised to the State Executive Council seeking approval to dispose of the Type A Quarters and legislative quarters and use the proceeds to develop modern and up to date structures to accommodate senior government officials. The memo was approved and the process of disposal commenced.
We are equally all aware as against David’s contradictions, that the following steps were taken to enable a transparent process of disposal of the quarters:
a) Valuation of the properties
An independent estate surveyor and valuer, Messrs. Babatunde and Company, was commissioned to carry out valuation of both Type A Quarters and legislative quarters. At the same time, professionals in both the Ministry of Land and Housing and that of Housing Corporation were asked to carry out the valuation process independently. The reports from the three bodies were collected and used to derive the calculated Bench mark prices or reserved
Bid price. The reserved Bid price is meant to assess submissions from bid process. These documents were forwarded to Public Procurement Board (PPB) for perusal and approval. We also requested from PPB to allow us give the present occupants the right of first refusal before considering public offers. The approval was given.
Advertisements were placed in two national dailies namely, Daily Trust and Thisday Newspapers and the state News line newspaper. The advert gave two weeks for the bidding process. All intending bidders were asked to purchase the bid document at the rate of N20,000.00 (twenty thousand naira only) and accompany their bids with a bank draft of 10% of their bid price as bid security. The 10% bid security is however refundable if the bidder is not successful.
c) Mortgage Arrangement
The ministry commenced discussions with primary mortgage institutions (PMI) for mortgage arrangement for the successful bidders since last year at the inception of the exercice. Two PMIs responded and have submitted their requirement for mortgage arrangement. We intend to conclude all necessary documentation within the next three months. Successful bidders who intend to go on outright purchase shall also be required to finish payment within three months.
The ministry has sent out letters to the present occupants on the mortgage arrangement for their choice of PMI.
d) Dedicated Accounts:
It is also commendable just as it is encouraging to know that that the government has commenced the process of opening a dedicated account where all proceeds from the sale shall be lodged with the details of the accounts promised to be sent to all successful bidders.
e) Bid Opening:
1. It is also public knowledge that details of the bids submitted were publicly opened on Tuesday August 28, 2012 by 3.00 pm at NIGIS Conference hall where records of bids submitted and bid figures were announced for all bids received.
2. It is also public knowledge that a Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) was constituted and are carrying out evaluation bids received with a view to coming up with recommended successful bidders. This exercise is intended to be concluded soon after which final approval shall be sought from the executive council to issue out letters to successful beneficiaries.
Going by the above factual observations, it becomes clearer that David was rather than playing constructive opposition for the good of the state, merely dancing to his dreamy land of fiction. It therefore calls for gratitude to God for granting the people of the state the wisdom to reject him on two separate occasions.
David should know that he can only fool some people some time, but he cant fool all the people of the state all the time.
SIGNED: Alhaji Sani B. Alfa Lapai
Mr. Emma Joshua
(NIGER GOOD GOVERNANCE INITIATIVE)