Towards the tail end of 2019, Lai Mohammed, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state, Political ally, and minister of Information and Culture , appears to have set the stage for President Muhammadu Buhari to announce his plans for Nigerians about the use of the $29.9 billion external loan borrowing from the Paris Club , which had been approved by the Ahmed Lawan led National Assembly in 2020.
The Katsina state born retired Army General , President and Commander –In –Chief of the Armed Forces, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, may have gladdened the heart of Nigerians in the New year when he said that his administration will complete several ongoing road projects across the country.
Investigation by The Value News shows that some of the projects, particular the road projects, had been inherited from the past administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. One of such road projects, he has promised will be commissioned within 2020 is the Controversial Lagos-Ibadan Express way.
Another major road on the agenda of the government which the President was said to have also promised will be commissioned this 2020, is the Oshodi – Apapa expressway which was said to have been started by the Jonathan administration but left uncompleted , thus causing the gridlock on the road.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President has every reason to believe that the N73 billion Oshodi-Apapa express way to the Lagos-Ibadan express way which had defiled past administrations will be completed because the contract is handled by Dangote Construction Company, one of the Companies in the Dangote Group .
Only recently, Aliko Dangote, President of the Dangote Group and Babatunde Fashola, a former governor of Lagos state and minister of Works and Housing ,accompanied by other top officials of the ministry, embarked on a tour of the multi-million naira Oshodi-Apapa expressway reconstruction con work.
An elated Dangote who was impressed with the level of work done by the Group Construction Company on the road project was said to have assured Fashola that the reconstruction of the road will be completed this year. Given the assurance from the business mogul, the minister may have been enouraged to pass the message to the President that he has no reason to worry about the Lagos-Ibadan or the Oshodi – Apapa expressway as the Dangote Group will deliver as promised.
Recall that the Katsina state born Nigerian President had signed an Executive order approved by the National Assembly last July in order to encourage Dangote Group an indigenous Company, Unilever, Lafarge Construct and other multi-national Companies, which have the wherewithal to embark on reconstruction of public roads leading to the ports or their factory sites across the country.
The government was said to have approved a 10-year Tax waiver for the Companies that have declared interest to work on public roads and Dangote Group became one of them. Two of the Group Companies: a Flour Mill and a Sugar factory, at the Apapa port, according to Dangote lost over N25 billion between 2017 and 2018, because of the Apapa bad road.
The good news is that the Dangote Group is giving the country one of the best quality roads in the African Continent that will last the country for at least 40 years without the government spending money to think of repairs. Notwithstanding the completion of the 47 ongoing road projects across the country which the President had promised, he was said to have also given his words that major substantial work will be done on the second Niger bridge which had remained a drain –pipe over the years.
He was said to have further disclosed that the administration will construct 13 Housing Estates under the national Housing Project. Many believe that that the completion of the Housing projects will go a long way to solve the Housing problem in the country if the President will keep to his promise.
Perhaps, what may draw the President closer to the people of the south eastern states of Abia, Anambra , Eboyi, Imo and Imo, will be the reopening of the Enugu International Airport, which had been closed for business, because of the ongoing expansion work . Indeed, the President has listed the Enugu International Airport, Lagos , Kano, and Maiduguri among the projects that will be inaugurated this year.
Moreso,to prove that all his promises were not made to score cheap political points, he has made it clear to those that cares to listen that the commissioning of the Lagos –Ibadan, Itakpe –Warri, rail lines currently being handled by the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction , CECC, under the supervision of the Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers state and minister of Transportation , will be inaugurated this first quarter of 2020, in readiness to commence operation.
Political watchers believe that Buhari may be working desperately to deliver on the projects in order to win the heart of Nigerians to plead with him to amend the Constitution in order to run for a third term to complete other unfinished projects in the country.
But Abdullahi Sule, an Engineer and governor of Nasarawa state may have spoken the mind of Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo state and National Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC, when he said that the party will never present the Katsina state born politician for the 2023 Presidential election.
Sule , who had appeared on the Channels Television political platform had said that the’’ idea was never thought of, owing to the understanding the party has about him’’. He may have given the impression that even if the party endorses him for to run for a third term on its ticket in 2023, the President will not agree because of the implication of going, to manoeuvre and amend the 199 Constitution in order for him to remain in power like other sit tight African leaders.
The Nasarawa state governor, who is a close ally of the President has made it to crtics that he is leaving on the expiration of his second term in office on May 29, 2023, because of his’’ credibility and respect for the rule of law’’.
He averred that a President who had sworn to leave by the Constitution may not be the one that will want to associated as working to change the Constitution in order to remain in power . Many believe that e even if Buhari may not want to be like late Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe , who was always amending the country’s Constitution in order to remain in power, his appoinments into political officers in the recent time which favour only a section of the country speaks volume.
Analysts believe that he is empowering those that will call the shot in the party Convention in 2023, to decide on the party Presidential Candidate . Thy see it as a systematic replacement of those he could not count on their support with those he has confidence on. Take for instance, the replacement of Tunde Fowler, regarded as Tinubu’s political ally with Muhammad Nami. The latest of the political appointees, was Salihjo Ahmad, a 2006 graduate of Electronic Engineerring and a level 12 officer , as the Chief Executive officer , CEO, of the country’s Rural Electrification Agency.
Grba Shehu, a senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity described Salihjo as an expert with’’ vast knowledge and experience in power development’ to justify the appointment.’ Shehu , according to Femi Lawal, a Lagos based businessman, need to tell Nigerians that the appointment was based on the President his promise of introducing the Youths into his governement .