Some contractors handling projects with the federal ministry of Works have accused the minister, David Nweze Umahi, of deliberate attempts to frustrate the realisation of President Bola Tinubu’s renewed hope agenda by stalling the progress of work through non-payment.
They alleged that Umahi has concluded plans to tamper with contracts already awarded by FEC under the guise of review insisting that the minister’s motive was to re-award some of the contacts to himself or close cronies.
Consequently, they appealed to the president to urgently redeploy Umahi insisting that his short stay as minister has grounded activities in the ministry.
Addressing journalists in Abuja at the weekend on behalf of the contractors, Vitalis Chikwendu, accused the minister of stalling the progress of work by deliberately refusing to treat files and sidelining civil servants who have institutional memory.
Chikwendu who was flanked by other contractors, including representatives of their foreign counterparts, alleged that the minister has about 80 different companies some of which he plans to use in executing the projects once his plans to tamper with the contracts scales through.
He alleged that the minister tells whoever cares to listen that he won’t resort to either the FEC or Bureau of Public Procurement, adding “we are ready for him as he has no power to tamper with contracts duly approved by FEC.
“As I talk to you, the directors and other senior staff in the ministry are disenchanted because he is running the ministry like his personal business and has bragged that he would review even contracts awarded by the Federal Executive Council.
“Umahi who, from his antecedents, has taken Ebonyi state some steps backwards, is trying to put to jeopardy, current efforts at boosting infrastructural development under the ministry of works” he added.
The contractors said instead of getting briefings from directors and other senior staff to enable him know the state of projects being handled by or supervised by the ministry before determining next line of action, Umahi elected to traverse the states in his desperate attempt to engage in window dressing pretending to be working while in actual fact, he is stalling progress of works in the ministry.
“One key sign that we are dealing with a wrong man for the job is his jumping from one state to another pretending to be inspecting federal roads when in actual fact he has not got briefings on the state of even these roads”
He alleged that the minister has concluded plans to appoint special assistants for the 36 states of the federation and in so doing, bring in persons he can easily control to do his bidding as part of plans to derail the ministry.
“He is trying to frustrate some of us who have done work and have gone far with our projects. If not, why should the minister refused to treat files and ensure expeditious release of money so we can continue with the projects?
“We passionately appeal to Mr President to urgently redeploy the minister and bring someone who has track records like a Fashola or Wike whose records of performances in their states are stellar; because it is clear that Umahi’s desires are at variance with the aspirations of the current administration,” he added.