Buhari: My Plan For Nigeria In 2020, Appoints Youthful Salihjo, CEO, Rural Electrification Agency

BStephen Ubanna

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 .

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