Buhari Last Lap: The Legacy Projects Completed and Commissioned To Beat Them All

 By Suleiman Umaru

Between Frida , May 19, 2023, and now, President Muhammadu Buhari,, who has used his over seven  years in office to borrow  money  from the London club, Paris club, World Bank and other Multilateral financial Institutions , including the Asian country of China Development Bank, appears to have shown Nigerians  what he had had used the money to do: provision of infrastructural facilities in different parts of the country.

The Debt Management Agency under the close  watch of Patience Oniha has put the country’s total    debt under the Buhari Administration  to the tune of about  N80 trillion .This is evident with the recent commission of some completed projects in different parts of the country including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, ranging from roads, health facilities to the completion of the  second Niger bridge neglected , by past Administrations Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Goodluck Jonathan.

One of such  completed and commissioned   projects by the Katsina state born Nigerian President at the FCT, was  the N21 billion  specialized  intensive care  facility  for  Presidents, Vice Presidents , their immediate families , ministers and other  top government functionaries including  other VIPs, on Friday, May 19, 202023.

Aisha Buhari, the First Lady, may have given an insight why the Specialist Intensive Care Hospital was built within the proximity of the Presidential Villa.  The First Lady who  had said that  she  nurtured  the idea of the State House Medical Centre in 2017,  following  the husband’s lengthy stay  for medical treatment in the United ingdom, UK and  to eliminate  the need for  future Nigerian Presidents  and their immediate  families  not to seek  medical treatment abroad. She noted that there was a time her husband, President Buhari,   spent three months in the UK, consecutively, for 90 days, which medical experts had said was at a heavy cost to the country.

State House Medical Centre Commissioned By Buhari

She was emphatic that with the completion and Commissioning of the    State House medical centre which has a VIP wing within the Presidential Villa to ensure that the country’s future Presidents and other VIPs   need not to travel abroad   for treatment but fly down the expert to the country to help the President, Vice President, ministers, top government functionaries and other VIPs and their family members if the need arises to save the huge amount being spent in oversea Treatments.

 Note that the  Nigerian President was said to have began his tenure  in 2015,  with a  London medical trip  to treat an alleged  ear  infection  and ending the tenure  with another London trip  to treat  teeth problem.  Penultimate week, Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, had  said  in a statement  that  the President  would remain in London for another week , at the behest  of hisdentist.  The media Aide had said that the specialist requires to see the President in another five days for a procedure already commenced .

 Medical experts believe that  Buhari,  whose  medical  tourism record   as well as the costs  to the country in medical bills  and operating costs of  the Nigerian Air Force one, NAF 001 airplane , estimated to be   between  N1.1 billion  to N5.4 billion  in sundry operational costs , including fuel, landing and parked at the airport.

  On Tuesday,  May 23, 2023, barely six days to the end of the Buhari’s Administration,   the Nigerian President   had commissioned the second Niger Bridge  in the south eastern geopolitical region.   Given an insider information about the bridge, and why Buhari, deserve accolades for completing themulti-billion dollar project and commissioned it, Adesina , media Assistant to the President, had said that  the project  which was completed by the Buhari’s Administration  was conceptualized  by former President Obasanjo’s Administration in 2005.

 He revealed  that in 2014, erstwhile Preident Jonathan’s Administration was aid to have    made  an attempt to begin  the project through  Public –Private  partnership, PPP,  but that was how far he could go.  He disclosed that the actual construction of the multi-billion dollar bridge actually   began in 2016 with the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, PIDF.

Indeed, with the Completion of the second Niger bridge may have encouraged Bashir Ahmad,  Special Assistant to the President on Digital Communications too have  said that  the  bridge   would be officially be called and known as ‘’ Buhari second Niger bridge’’.

Second Niger Bridge Named After Buhari

 Fashola, a former governor of Lagos state had earlier told the, Federal Executive Council, FEC, chaired by Buhari, on Tuesday, May 17, 2023, that the  Federal Government  has named  the second Niger bridge  after Pesident Muhammadu Buhari.

The Nigerian President, who is already  counting days in office to handover to siwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and President-elect on the platform of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, also Commissioned  the newly built  Nigerian Customs Service, NCS,  Corporate Headquarters at the Maitama, Business District, Abuja, same Tuesday, May 23, 2023.

The new Customs Corporate Headquarters was said to have been conceived by the service in 2002, by Aliyu Mustapha, a former Comptroller General of the NCS, during the Administration of former President Obasanjo.

 Late Abdullahi Dikko, also a one-time Comptroller General of  NCS , as said to have kick-started the execution of the  N19 billion, project  during the Administration of former President Jonathan but could not complete it before his removal from office  by the incumbent  pResident  in 2015 who had replaced him with Hameed Ali, a retired Army Colonel.

 Ali, the Customs helmsman was said to have given priority to the Customs Corporate Head office project. Until the multi-billion naira, Customs Corporate Head office as completed and commissioned by Buhari  on Tuesday, May 23, 23,  it was said to have  ‘’undergone  redesigning  and remodeling’’ .

The outgoing Nigerian President, who has been going about in the recent time Commissioning projects in different parts of the country   may have taken advantage of the Commissioning of the Customs Corporate Had office to open up why the country’s borders with the neighbouring countries of Benin Republic, Niger, Chad and the Central African country of Cameroun, was closed in August 2019.

  He had declared, that he deliberately closed the borders with the neighboring countries ‘’to encourage food production in Nigeria’’.   He had said that  Nigerians  order the importation of rice , , which maritime analysts had said are mostly  par boiled rice    from the Asian country of Thailand and Agricultural rice from India,  through the port of Cotonou, Benin Republic,  and give some Niger Republic Address but smuggled the rice into Nigeria market.

He had said   that by closing the border   1,600Km,  from the Lake Chad Basin to  Benin,  , may have encouraged Nigerian rice  farmers  to insist   that they have to impress  their neighbours  and other people  that they would no longer eat foreign but locally produced rice.  According to him, the government ‘’no foreign rice imports is working out   as ‘’we produced what we eat’’, in the country today, nothing that farmer who produce excess rice to eat, sell the excess somewhere else.

 The Nigerian Pesident President who could not hide his feelings for banning the importation of foreign rice into the country through the land border and the nation’s seaports on January 1, 2017, had said ‘’it has provided more jobs for the teeming unemployed in the country who were said to have gone back to the land as the country have it in abundance, noting the country’s country’s weather have also been good, which is not the case in some parts of the world.

This is the first time that the Nigerian President had spoken his mind about the closure of the borders with Benin Republic, Niger, Chad and Cameroun, in 2019. All along the Nigerian President has given the impression  the closure of the border  with the  the neighbouring West African  country and Cameroun   by the Nigerian government was due ‘’massive  smuggling  activities,  particular, , rice , taking place  on that corridor.

He was said to have virtually Commissioned Goodluck Jnathan Federal Secretariat , Yenagoa, Capital of Bayelsa state,  the Ebele Okeke Federal ecretariat in Awka, Capital of Anambra state and Malam  Yahaya Guau  Federal Secretariat  in Gusau, Zamfara state on the invitation of Fashola, the minister of Works and Housing.

Other projects virtually commissioned by the Nigerian President on the invitation of  the former Lagos state governor included  the Loko- Oweto bridge linking  Nasarawa and Benue states, in the  north central geo-political region,  the Ikom bridge in Cross river state,   while the road  project  is the completed section  of the over 200 Km of the Kano-Kaduna Dual carriage Expressway.

Recall that about five months ago,   he had commissioned  the N6.4 billion , first flyover to be constructed in Kogi state by the incumbent gover Yahaya Bello and other Legacy projects in the state.

Last Monday , he has commissioned the completed the over $19 billion, 650,000 bpd, Dangote Industries, Completed refinery and petrochemical plant, located at Lekki Free Trade Zone, in Lagos the nation’s Commercial nerve center on the invitation of Aliko Dangote, the Company’s President. 

   Perhaps, the outgoing President  only regret  was The delay  by   Julius Berger Nigeria and Reynolds Construction Company  Limited, the contractors handling the N167 billion , equivalent of $838,986,290, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway  to complete the project as scheduled  which had made it impossible for him to Commissioned it as planned.

 Fashola , a one-time governor of Lagos state and minister of Works and Housing had attributed the Contractors to complete the project as scheduled  to’’ technical problems and black cutting of soil under the pavement  in a critical section  in the four-Kilometer last mile  to Lagos’’. This may have informed why the outgoing  Nigerian President who had planned to commission all the projects started by the Administration over the last seven years  has left the Commissioning of the  Lagos-Ibadan road project to the incoming Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Administration.

The outgoing minister who had joined 44 other ministers and ministers of State, on Wednesday to attend the valedictory session of the FEC, meeting Chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo,   , had said that’’ the expected completion date and planned Commissioning of the crucial public asset is June 30th, 2023, a month after Buhari might have left the Villa, to his Daura home town.

Indigenes of the Niger Delta had expected the outgoing Nigerian President to have paid the same attention for the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on the East Wet road project linking the entire   Niger Delta region which has been neglected by past Administrations despite being the honeypot of the nation.  The people have seen the non –completion of the project a dent on the Buhari’s Administration. Let us hope that Tinubu’s Administration will complete and commission the project to make the difference.    

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