Federal Contract: 558 Health Centres Completed, Contract On-going -Achonu
…Says: Call For His Arrest, Handiwork Of Rejected Party In Imo
The candidate of the Labour Party for the November 11 Governorship Election in Imo State, Sen Athan Achonu has described as childish and baseless, recent media reports purporting the involvement of his company in an alleged abandoned federal government contract for the construction of 774 primary health centres, PHCs, across Nigeria.
The former Okigwe Zone senator in a release signed by Chibuikem Diala, Director, Media of Sen Athan Achonu Campaign Organisation, described those behind the attempt to impugn on his “hard-earned integrity” as an alleged “amorphous, nonexistent gang of miscreants and impostors masquerading under the guise of a civil society organization (CSO).”
Achonu further stated that the fact that the publication was coming few months to the Imo governorship election in which he is standing as the candidate to beat, speaks volume of the underlying intentions of those peddling the propaganda and their alleged paymaster in Imo State.
The Labour Party governorship candidate maintained that the Kaduna-based CSO which according to him,, made the call recently, was an alleged lackey of those he said, have been “operating with ‘abracadabra’ mandates” in Imo.
He explained that various federal administrations had at one time or the other, halted the project for the construction of the 774 Primary Health Centres which he said, was conceived by him during the administration of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, adding that the contract was not abandoned, but has remained on-going contrary to the recent propaganda in the media.
“The project to construct health centres in the 774 local government areas across the country, was conceived and initiated by Chief Athan Nneji Achonu who then introduced (proposed ) it to ALGON during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“The project was approved and all the contract papers were duly verified, all the documentations were prepared and packaged by the relevant authorities including ALGON, all legal and financial arrangements followed due process and after all was said and done the Agreement formally signed on the 16th of February, 2007.
“The project for the construction and delivery of the 774 Primary Health Centres commenced comprehensively and in earnest in 2007.
“ However, the contract was technically terminated by the National Economic Council in December 2007, when a new President the late Umaru Musa Yar’adua and a set of new Governors were elected and came on board to pilot the affairs of the various states, including supervising engagements and activities in the LGAs administration.
“It was deduced that some newly elected state governors in an effort to stamp their authority, wondered how such a massive contract could be awarded to a single individual and they were not part of it. So they moved for its suspension.
Senator Athan Achonu, being the meticulous, astute and very accountable businessman, that he is, proceeded to seek clarification for the government action by due process in the Courts to defend himself and the contract against the unfounded allegations that led to the suspension of the project and it is on record that he has emerged victorious at every stage of the litigation, which lasted for 3 (three) years, in the various courts, against the Federal government.
“ The project, which was supposed to last for a period of one (1) year, was thus stopped by the government of President Alhaji Musa Yar ‘adua and did not recommence until 2010, when Vice President Goodluck Jonathan constitutionally became President by the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’. However, the project was suspended again after President Goodluck Jonathan became a duly elected president.
The initial three years delay in the project was as a result of the fact that the then government halted the project and placed a standing order that funds should not be released thus suffocating contractors with huge debts and truncating the smooth process of the work. The same scenario was continued throughout the government of President Goodluck Ebele Johnathan till the advent of President Mohammadu Buhari.
“The project is still on-going, as at today due to the various victories of Mathan Nigeria Limited against the Federal Government in the law courts. Also, despite the insecurity in parts of the North East, North Central and indeed across the country, the project was never abandoned.
It is necessary to also state here that 195 PHCs had been completed pre -2020 and 363 PHCs completed Post 2020. This makes it a total of 558 PHCs accounting for over 70% of the total centres, which further corroborates the point that the project is still on-going,” Achonu highkighted.
The Ehime Mbano-born business mogul further described himself as a transparent citizen querying why those he describe as “… bunch of comedians and their paymaster” did not even stop for a moment to consider the fact that according to him, “Senatorthan Achonu has never been charged to court or even indicted by any anti-corruption agency for fraud or embezzlement, since 2007 when this primary health centres project commenced.”