OPEN MEMO OF A CONCERNED CITIZEN TO HIS EXCELLENCY – THE GOVERNOR OF AKWA IBOM STATE
1st August, 2020
RE: APPOINTMENT OF “SAs TO THE GOVERNOR ON PROJECT MONITORING” WITHOUT RECOURSE TO THE AKWA IBOM PROJECT MONITORING AND EVALUATION COMMISSION LAW:
A PEACEFUL NOTIFICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE MOST RELEVANT AND APPLICABLE LAW ON THE MATTER.
Your Excellency, my Governor I salute you with all humility and dignity. I plead with you to kindly excuse my choice of reaching you via this medium. I consider this channel of communication as the fastest and unhindered means of getting the ever-listening ears and attention of Your Excellency to this memorandum of a concerned citizen and your loyal subject on the above-titled subject.
It is my objective observation that what has crystallized as SAs (Special Assistants) to the Governor of Akwa Ibom State on Projects Monitoring was introduced few years ago as an idea of the government of the day to patronize it’s supporters with such political employment or engagement for a living or giving a due recognition in accordance with the political value of the appointees in the system. It is also observable that such appointments are beneficial to the appointees. On the other hand, the essence of the appointment as embellished in its appellation has since its introduction fall short of its expectation in terms of discharging the functions of the office.
Your Excellency, I guess previous governments and yours may have embarked on this venture without the knowledge of the existence of the Akwa Ibom Project Monitoring and Evaluation Commission Law, as established in Cap. 99 of the laws of Akwa Ibom State, 2000. The knowledge and sincere application of this law could have been of great benefits to the government, its citizens and those appointed as SAs in Project Monitoring. I shall at the tail end of this memorandum state my opinion, but for now, here is the most relevant provisions of Cap. 99, Your Excellency, should consider and rely on to treat this subject in accordance with the rules of the law. These are:
- The Akwa Ibom Project Monitoring and Evaluation Commission is a body corporate with perpetual succession and common seal and may sue and sued in its corporate name, and may hold and dispose of property.
- The Commission shall be constituted with the following Category of Persons:
(A) (i) A part-time Chairman,
(ii) 5 other part time members – Both the chairman and the members of the Commission shall include engineer, an accountant, an architect and quantity surveyors and shall be appointed by the governor and subject to confirmation by a resolution of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
(B) Executive Director – who shall be the chief executive of the Commission, and also be appointed by the Governor.
(C) The next important statutory personnel of the Commission are:
(i) Secretary of the Commission – as may be deployed from the Civil service by the head of service.
(ii) An Accountant to the Commission – who shall be appointed by the Commission.
(ii) The Commission upon institution may employ or the head of service may deploy to the Commission such staff as may be required by the Commission.
Your Excellency, Cap. 99 states the statutory functions of the Akwa Ibom Project Monitoring and Evaluation Commission which predominantly inspired this open memorandum as hereunder listed:
(i) To monitor the implementation of the State and Local Government yearly budgets and projects,
(ii) To supervise Government Projects with a view to ensuring proper and effective execution,
(iii) To prosecute contractors before Revenue Courts for abandoning government projects,
(iv) To prosecute contractors before Revenue Courts who fail to execute government projects within agreed period,
(v) To formulate strategies for elimination and reduction of waste,
(vi) To evaluate projects with a view to advising government on its successful implementation,
(vii) To set guidelines and strategies for evaluating and monitoring of state and Local Government projects.
Your Excellency, it is my sincere guess that the contents of the mandate of those you appointed as “SAs” on Projecting Monitoring are not as rich and elaborate as the above statutory stipulations. Permit me to also guess that the attention of Your Excellency was not drawn to the existence of this laws, hence my peaceful notification for a considerable effectuation.
Your Excellency, to this extent permit me to convey my terse opinion on the subject matter of this memorandum. The cardinal point of my opinion is that appointment of government personnel for the monitoring of projects of government should be done in compliance with the statutory provisions of The project monitoring and Evaluation Commission Law of Akwa Ibom State 2000. The simple reason is that Your Excellency took an oath to preserve and abide by the constitution and Laws of the Land. Failure to do so, particularly, where there is a law for a doing of a thing may amount to breaching of the oath and the law.
Your Excellency, all your SAs (special assistants) on project monitoring should qualify as project monitoring and evaluation officers as stipulated in the relevant laws to be so appointed. The job of project monitoring for example is not meant to be done by a person who has no proficiency or training in that field.
I am not in any way insinuating that those appointed as SAs should be demoted; rather they should be properly mobilized to do the job. Fortunately, there is a provision in the Project Monitoring and Evaluation law which seems to support proper mobilization of the appointees to work under the commission. The latitude of the Commission in this regard is found in the relevant contents of Section 7 of the law which provides to the effect that:
(a) The commission shall have powers, subject to such terms and conditions as may be approved by the Governor, to;
(i) Employ such staff, agents, professionals contractors, and other workers as it may require for the performance of its function under this law, (ii) Establish such organizational structure as it may require for the purpose of its functions, (iii) Train such staff of the Commission as may be necessary for performances of its functions etc.
Your Excellency, the above referred provisions of the Akwa Ibom Project Monitoring and Evaluation Commission Law gives powers to the Commission to appoint agent, professional and other qualified persons to achieve its function.
It is under this provision that your “SAs” on project monitoring could be appointed as Special Agents or Assistants (SAs) on Projecting Monitoring and Evaluation. The emphasis here is certainly on qualification and who is fit and proper to be appointed as Special Agent or Assistant for project Monitoring under the Commission.
Nevertheless, those already appointed could be re-appointed through the commission who would activate the provisions of the law to train those “SAs” who may not have requisite know-how in project monitoring and evaluation. This training would make the SAs useful to themselves and the government.
Accordingly, may it please Your Excellency to constitute this very important commission, for all the benefits and advantages that I wish not to bother you to express here. The Commission has statutory powers to appoint special persons as special assistants or agents on projects monitoring and evaluation. By virtue of section 22 (3) of the law under review, such appointments “Preclude the grant of a pension or gratuity” to the appointees just like the current status of the “SAs”. The expected-to-be-constituted commission also has powers under the law to set up organizational structure; set out operational guidelines and rules of engagement for the SAs for the harmonious and coherent monitoring exercises over the state and Local Governments projects across the State and beyond. Of course, the reports of all the projects monitoring and evaluation exercises shall be systematically carried out by the Commission for empirical appraisal and utilization to the glory of your administration.
May it please Your Excellency to appreciate and appropriate the intellection expressed in this memorandum for all its worth.
Thank you Your Excellency and accept my utmost regards.
Emmanuel Isangidoho Esq.
Founder member – Legal Initiative for Development Advocacy