By Chuwang Emmanuel in Lafia
In an effort to enhance learning and teaching in Nasarawa State, Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura spent almost a billion naira in building and equipping ultra-modern e-libraries across the three senatorial zones in the state with little or no results, according to findings by our reporter.
The vision of constructing the e-libraries in Lafia, Akwanga, Keffi and Nasarawa was conceived by the governor in the early months of his first tenure in office. And to bring the vision to fruition, the governor ensure the speedy completion of the projects before the expiration of his first tenure in office.
At the inception, Almakura told the people of Nasarawa that the project was crucial to his “integrated urban-rural renewal programme that includes road building, digitalised land administration system, improved power and water supplies, market development and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), ” hence the public were implored to support the e-library project to help boost research and educational development in the state.
According to him, It was to propel speedy modernization of the state and make it become a pacesetter among the comity of states in the country.
Information available to our reporter shows that over N1 billion was spent in the construction of the four e-libraries.
However as the project progressed, and with fears of it eventually failing, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), criticized the initiative describing it as a misplaced priority, considering the critical needs of the state. But many read political mischief in there criticisms.
While a year after constructing the e-libraries, the situation on ground in the Lafia centre and other centres visited by metrowatchonline paints a confusing state that confirmed the fears earlier expressed by the leadership of the PDP in the state. The non utilisation of the facilities will discourage any right thinking individual from applauding the initiative.
A visit to the centres in Lafia, Akwanga and Keffi showed completed structures which are now decaying and have even become a den for dangerous reptiles that have turned the beautiful edifices to their homes.
While in Akwanga, a watchman at the gate revealed that since the place was constructed in 2015, the e-library has not witnessed any activity.
The stark reality confirms the arguments of some critics who earlier observed that the state is in dare need of basic facilities, like hospitals, water and power supply not any e-library that cannot be utilize or maintain.
“For how long will Almakura continue to construct facilities all over the state that we all know, that government will not be able to sustain or utilize”, asked Yakubu Dikko, a public affairs analyst.
He noted that the Lafia central complex and the hall at the state investment hotel is under-utilized, yet the governor went ahead to build the Lafia square at a very exorbitant rate.
This is not the first time Almakura’s administration is being criticized for squandering tax-payers’ money on facilities and projects that are too complex and costly for the state government to maintain and sustain.
The opposition have always maintained that the projects are executed for his immediate benefit in terms of contract awards to friends and relatives.
During his first administration, Almakura was also faulted for investing huge funds in building Ta’al model schools across the state because the facilities were too complex for state government to maintain.
PDP alleged that millions of naira was siphoned from the treasury of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) by officials in the name of construction of schools while little was spent on teachers welfare.