By: Peter Emmanuel


In the dead of night, around 1:30 AM, Funmilayo Alaba (name changed for security reasons) suddenly woke up, feeling a sharp pain in her belly. She quickly roused her husband, saying, “It’s time.”

Despite expecting the baby to arrive later, after several months of pregnancy, they found themselves facing the moment sooner than anticipated. Nervousness mingled with excitement in their hearts.

Her husband, a farmer, swiftly gathered the necessary items for the birth. However, a problem arose: there wasn’t enough fuel to reach the distant hospital, as their neighbour, a commercial driver, informed them. Despite seeking help from other neighbors, the nationwide fuel scarcity, caused by the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu, left them desperate and empty-handed.

After approaching five neighbors, one finally agreed to help them with his car. They hurried to the hospital, enduring a long and rough journey. Upon arrival, they encountered another daunting challenge.

Panic gripped Mrs. Alaba’s husband not due to the impending surgery, but because of the daunting cost. 

He said, “When they told me my wife needed surgery, my jaw dropped – not from the procedure itself, but from the staggering price tag: N300,000. As a struggling farmer, where could I possibly find such a sum?”

If only the Obstetric Center built by then-Senator Ajayi Boroffice in Supare-Akoko, Akoko South-West, had been operational, it would have been a lifesaver. Just a five-minute walk from home, Mrs. Alaba could have avoided surgery and a mountain of debt.

Mr. Alaba, struggling to recount further details, emphasised that the sight of the unused Obstetric Center was a constant source of frustration. He lamented, “The stress of raising the money took a toll on my health and my marriage.”

He urged the authorities: “Open the centre, equip it, and let it serve its purpose. Don’t let another family endure the nightmare we faced. The abandoned centre stands as a painful reminder of broken promises and halted lives. Let’s transform it from a symbol of neglect into a beacon of hope for mothers and children in Ondo.”

Obstetric centres, also referred to as maternity units or birthing centres, play a vital role in supporting women and families throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.

The project details

In 2020, Senator Robert Boroffice, who represents Ondo North Senatorial district, earmarked a project for the completion of an obstetrics centre in Supare, with a budget of N100 million.

The project was subsequently assigned directly to the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), an agency under the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja.

The following year (2021), the senator reallocated the same project to the same ministry and agency, but at a reduced cost of N60 million.

In total, the project received a budget allocation of N160 million, yet it remained overgrown with bushes and failed to have any impact on the community members.

More woes 

Adebayo Oyebanji, 45, an Okada rider, lamented how the closure of the obstetric centre had deprived them of proper healthcare services for years.

Mr. Oyebanji recalled an incident where a community member involved in an accident could have received proper treatment for serious injuries and resulting blood loss. He explained that the victim was rushed to the only health centre in the community but, due to the unavailability of necessary facilities, was referred to the Federal Medical Center in Owo (FMC).

He informed this reporter that the victim passed away upon arriving at the FMC. Established in 1993, the FMC was one of the pioneer Federal Medical Centers in Nigeria, located approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Akungba to Owo and 48 km from Akure. The hospital serves neighbouring states such as Kogi, Edo, and Osun States.

With the abandonment and closure of the obstetric centre, the aspirations of Oyebanji and many other residents remained unfulfilled as the building had become overgrown with bushes.

Similarly, Olaloye Timileyin, a farmer in the town of Supare-Akoko, recounted how, after the completion of the building, some self-proclaimed youth thugs from the community approached the workers, demanding payment for land usage (Òwò ìlè), leading to disruptions at the construction site.

Mr. Olaoye further mentioned that some of the equipment intended for the centre had been delivered, but after an attack by unknown thugs on the building, no one could ascertain if the then lawmaker had removed some of the medical equipment.

Another resident, who preferred to remain anonymous, mentioned that the building had been in existence for over 2 years, expressing optimism that the government would open it for community use. “I don’t know why there’s been a delay,” she stated.

Expanding on her concerns, she added, “I remember when this project was initiated because I passed by there on my way to the farm, but surprisingly, there has been no progress since the building was completed.”

Although she couldn’t provide detailed explanations for why the facility has not been operational since its construction, “I suggest you seek clarification from either of the Chiefs or the Regent.”

Community leader reacts 

The Regent of Supare-Akoko, Adedeji Adebayo, highlighted the significant impact of the obstetric centre’s lack of commissioning on the community.

Regarding the unsuccessful attempts to revive the abandoned facilities, she suggested that the projects were redundant from the outset, particularly since Supare already has a functional public health facility.

Lawmaker React

When reached for comment, former lawmaker Sen. Robert Boroffice Ajayi, who represented Ondo North Senatorial District, clarified that the only healthcare facility in Ondo North is the FMC Owo, a Federal Institution in the state. He highlighted that the facilities there are overstretched, and many communities are several kilometres away from the centre, connected by poorly maintained roads.

Senator Robert Ajayi Boroffice

Explaining to Harbinger, Sen. Boroface said the intention was to build a satellite health centre and to affiliate it with the Federal Medical Center (FMC) in Owo. He mentioned that in 2018, he commissioned a 24-bed Obstetrics centre located at Oka-Akoko, in Akoko South West Local Government Area of the state. He explained that it was equipped and staffed by the FMC, and staff quarters were built for medical practitioners working there.

However, he said that Owoeye, retired FMC Owo, is ready to run these hospitals/health centres if the Federal Government provides funds. “I have tried my best as a senator to assist in getting allocations for FMC Owo to run those institutions. Now, if our people believe in self-help, why can’t Supare people mobilise the youths to clear a facility built to help them?” Sen. Boroface said.

Moreover, Boroface noted that the Supare Obstetrics Center has not been completed, and he doesn’t know what hinders it. “Go to NASENI and find out, I am a facilitator, and I have done what is required of me by putting the project in the budget,” he said.

I was only paid 30% – Contractor

The contractor, Salient Ventures Limited in an interview told Harbinger reporter  that only 30% of the funds had been disbursed to the company as a start.

The contractor lamented that aside from the 30% initial payment made by the Federal Government through NESANI, in late 2021 to early 2022, they have yet to receive any further funds.

Similarly, the contractor explained that the company has been paying for security of the building, with one of the community members serving as the custodian. “We have been paying 5,000 monthly since 2021 up to date, hoping the Federal Government or NESANI will release more funds for the project. What you see there is what the 30% given to us can do,” the contractor said.

However, a check on CAC showed that the company was registered with them but is located in Nasarawa, which differs from what the contractor stated, claiming their company is located in Abuja and Kaduna respectively.

Also, a check on NG-Check information revealed that the company was incorporated in Kano with registration Number 177836 and registered on 28 Oct 1991. Its current status is unknown on the website.

According to procurement law, the unknown status of the company means it has not fulfilled its tax obligations.

Awarding the construction contract to Salient Ventures Limited goes against the regulations outlined in the Public Procurement Act 2007, which specifies that a bidder may be disqualified if they have outstanding payments for taxes, charges, pensions, or social insurance contributions, unless they have lawful permission to do so or have arranged to pay off the outstanding amounts in instalments.

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) defines an inactive company as either not engaging in any business activities or lacking significant accounting transactions within the past two fiscal years. Additionally, an inactive company is characterised by not fulfilling its annual dues payment obligations over the same period.

Expert Calls for Urgent Action on Nigeria’s Failed Projects Crisis

In a report published by Campus Reporter Professor Awe Abel, an economist and Dean at Ekiti State University, emphasised the significant setback failed projects pose to Nigeria’s economic development and progress, with far-reaching consequences.

Professor Abel highlighted that these failures often stem from political agendas rather than genuine community needs, underscoring the influence of “political arrogance” in their implementation. He pointed out that politicians frequently make commitments without considering their relevance to specific communities, taking people for granted without conducting feasibility studies or needs assessments.

According to him, such actions lead to dashed expectations, wastage of resources, increased poverty levels, lowered living standards, reduced employment opportunities, discouraged investors, diminished trust in the government, and heightened insecurity.

Discussing potential solutions, Prof. Abel suggested that the new administration under President Bola Tinubu should establish a committee to thoroughly reassess failed projects across the country.

He stressed the importance of involving constituents in project planning and proposed legislation to ensure project continuity during political transitions.

Way forward for the Tinubu’s administration

In discussing potential solutions according to the report,  Prof. Abel noted that the new administration under President Bola Tinubu should establish a committee to conduct a comprehensive reassessment of failed projects across the country.

He emphasized the importance of involving constituents in project planning and proposed legislation to ensure project continuity during political transitions.

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