Erring Contractors: Why Donald Duke must be consulted to advice state government —Eugene Upah


Eugene Upah|20 May 2017 
Being A case study of the collapsed sports facility at the Calabar Stadium.
A contract is an agreement (written or verbal) involving two or more parties towards achieving a set objective. Amongst these two, one engages the other to deliver a job that has been anticipated to be done, while the other has what it takes to have the proposed job done in accordance with the agreement. These agreement in most cases involves monetary payment and other logistics handed the implementer.
When Donald Duke was Executive Governor of Cross River State between 1999 and 2007, contractors handling projects in the state not only completed their projects, they monitored progress and ensured the quality, durability, feasibility and timing were kept according to agreed standards. Reason is because, they saw that the man at the helm of affairs was very bullish when it came to state government businesses. His aggressiveness to have a job delivered and his anticipatory willingness in moving the state forward accompanied by his exposure and gallantry stance on state projects was also an icing on the cake for him. He meant every word when he threatens a contractor handling state government projects at that time. His (Duke’s) system of relying too little on project Supervisors but going about at all times to monitor contractors and cautioning them where he felt the projects where not done to the best possible standards helped to checkmate their activities. This is one man, I can say, has the panacea to dealing with African contractors.
The collapsed multi-purpose indoor sports complex at the U.J Esuene Stadium in Calabar was awarded to a contractor in 2012 to enable Cross River State host the 19th edition of the National Sports Festival which was to be hosted in 2014 marking Nigeria’s 100 years of amalgamation (1914 – 2014). The state government awarded the contract and have since paid well over 70 percent of the total sum to the contractor but the level of work at that site is below 40 percent since 2012 and work has since been suspended. The implication of that shoddy exercise is not only that Cross River has lost the right to host the famous Festival, the acclaimed 40 percent of work on the site has collapsed leaving the state government at the mercy of the contractor. It has cost the state government fortunes to try to grasp back hosting the Festival since the advent of Governor Ben Ayade.
Why am I writing this? It is for state governments to emulate the qualities and ethics of dealing with erring contractors from Donald Duke. I can’t remember any contractor who left an uncompleted or (sub-standard) project and made a bold face of it during his time, he would deal with such a contractor squarely, the charisma, effrontery, aggravation and very close marking approach would not even give a contractor the thoughts of wanting to err. There are lots of abandoned projects in the country today because of mischievous activities of contractors. I know a certain American based contractor who rejected the same U.J Esuene sports facility construction because of too many interests in kickbacks from the people in government at that time before it was eventually contracted to the company that collected huge mobilization sums leaving the job under 40 percent construction till date. A successful contract implementation brings the government accolades and applauds, it strengthens the confidence of the people, it gives the governments the willingness to do more, and activities of erring contractors must be closely checkmated. 
Eugene Upah 
Is a Social Commentator