Governance: Buhari Has Performed Well In The Area Of Infrastructure – Mohammed

By Suleiman Umaru

In the  last  couple of weeks,  Garba Shehu,  Senior Special  Assistant, SSA, to President Muhammadu Buhari, on Media and publicity and other  top government functionaries involved  in the management of the President’ information architecture have been eulogizing his achievements over the last four years.

They stopped short at describing him as  the  Nigeria messiah in the area of provision of basic infrastructural facilities in the country. Lai Mohammed, the minister of Information and Culture may have hit the nail on the head  while addressing the  press in Lagos on Monday, December 30, 2019, when he   made bold to say that  the  ‘’ administration has been persistent in building and revamping  the critical infrastructural facilities in  the country’’.  The minister had  described the administration’s provision of basic infrastructural facilities in the country as ‘’very massive and worthy of praise by Nigerians’’.

According to him  the Buhari led All Progressive Congress, APC, government has performed  better  than the previous  administrations of former Presidents  Olusegun Obasanjo, Goodluck Jonathan and late Umaru Musa Yar’adua , elected under the platform of the People’s Democratic party, PDP, which ruled the country for about 16 years including other administrations  in the” history of the nation ’’.

He may have also  alluded to  Ibrahim Babangida, a retired Army General,  and  a former Military  head of state, who baptized  himself  as military President who had  ruled the country for about  eight  years before being forced to relinquish power by the military  top brass  to a lame duck   administration Headed by UAC Boardroom politician, Earnest Shonekan, from Ogun state.

Given an insider information of the performance of the administration  over the last four years, he noted that  so far, it had embarked on  roads, rail, power and constructions of Dams which are  too numerous to mention in different parts of the country.

In the area of power development, he disclosed    that the government ,  and Siemens, a multinational  power Company had signed an agreement   to generate 11,000 MW by 2023,  in order to support  the activities of the  11 Transmission and  the 11 Distribution Companies, DISCOS,  carved out from the defunct,  National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, but however, Concessioned  to private operators. 

Babatude Paul Ruwase: President, LCCI

Going by the agreement, the Multinational Power   Company, he said  is expected to support the Companies  over the next four years in their operations  and  maintain  soft ware  to ensure uninterrupted power supply in the country.

Note that Dunlop, a tyre manufacturing Company and  other high profile  Multinational Companies operating  in the country since the’ 50s had relocated their  production plants to South Africa, Ghana and Coted’Ivoire to  produce for the Nigeria market  due to the  high cost of production  occasioned  by poor electricity supply in the country. The situation became worse  between  1980 and 2012.

Many believe that if the Buhari administration could fix the nation’s power sector  as boasted by Mohammed, the minister of Information and Culture, it may encourage the run away  companies to return to Nigeria to resume their business. The World Bank,  in one of its  meetings in NewYork, United States, had described  Nigeria  as a big market,  stressing that that the day the government would get the power sector fixed , the country would be  on the path of becoming  one of the fastest growing economies  in the  world.

 This may have informed why the    Buhari led  government had sought the approval of a $29.9 billion loan from the Paris Club which had been approved by the Ahmed Lawn  led National Assembly to fix the  broken down basic  infrastructural   facilities in the country.

Although, the external loan borrowing had been described  in  several quarters  as a burden to the country,  because of the yearly budgetary provision that would be made available to service it, but the minister would not  agree with the critics.

Take for instance, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, which   had said that  going  by the country’s  local and external  debt stock of N25.7 trillion, the government  will continue  to spend  a huge chunk of its yearly revenue generations  from both the oil and none  oil  sectors of the economy to service the debts.  The minister  was said to have told those  that cares  to listen that the current  multi-billion dollars loan being sought by the government   is aimed at ‘’revamping  the country’s dilapidated roads, bridges, railways and power  sector’’.

 At present, the most visible of the project being      executed by the  administration but   with the assistance  of the Chinese  government which had  nominated the state owned Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company, CECC, as  the Contractor is the railway project in different parts  of the country.

An elated Mohammed  had said   that  the laying  of rail tracks  on the Lagos – Ibadan  Standard  Guage Line, SGL. Has almost  been completed. The Kwara state born politician may have told Nigerians lie  when  he   opined   that the  ‘’test run   has commenced’’.

  Note that over the last one month,  Workers  plying the Lagos-Abeokuta express way had not been finding it easy getting to their places of work  because of the  on-going construction works at the railway site  in Lagos. The laying of rail line may have been completed in some parts of the country including the  Abeokuta axis but remains a pipe dream in the Lagos axis.

Mohammed may have gladdened  the heart of Nigerians when  he revealed that  the Construction firms, both indigenous and foreign,  contracted by the government  ,to  fix the country’s bad roads across the country  have mobilised at the  various  Construction sites . He cited the Lagos-Badagry, Port Harcourt –Enugu and Port  Harcourt  -Aba as well as  the Okene- Auchi roads where work is seriously going on.

The minister who could not hide his feelings  averred that  ‘’in the face  of  massive  infrastructural  decay  in the country, ‘’no responsible  government  will sit by and do nothing’’, indirectly describing past administrations as responsible.

 Recall that the world bank  had described Nigeria as next to the  Central African country of Cameroon as one of the countries in the African Continenet having  bad  roads.  Recall that the issue of bad roads  in the country remains a  source of problem to officials of the Federal Rad And Safety Commission, FRSC, because of the numerous   accidents  over the years.. 

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