INEC Prepares For first Election Under Tinubu; Ajaokuta Steel Complex, Nigeria Air, Dangote Refinery Still A Pipe Dream

By Lateef Adegbite

 Despite allegations of the Certificate forgery brought against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who incidentally was a former governor of Lagos state by Abubakar Atiku, a one-time Nigerian Vice President under the former Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration to upstage him, the former Lagos state governor remain toughened.

This is because he does not want to give the Adamawa state born   Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential Candidate for the February 25, 2023, general elections and his cohorts room to distract him as the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, under the Chairmanship of Mahmoud Yakubu, a professor have fixed the governorship elections in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states, which is the first g election to be fully organised under the Tinubu’s administration.

   Recall that Osita Chidoka, a former minister of Aviation, under former Obasanjo’s administration from the south east geopolitical region who may have spoken the mind of the erstwhile Vice President Atiku, who had asked the former Lagos state governor ‘’to spare the country of the humiliation to falsifying his Certificate and resign’’.

 Indeed, Tinubu, who sees himself as ‘’a product of insults’’ and who may not want’’ to lose focus and balance’’ had told those that cares to listen that’’ it is my right to be called names from whoever I Have outran in the polity’’.

He was emphatic: I don’t get distracted as my attention is to the ball. This may have informed why he has put all his attentions on the governorship elections which the electoral umpire had planned to hold in in Bayelsa, Kogi and Imo states which did not participate alongside the other 28 states on the March 18, 2023 elections.

The Nigerian President who would not want the ruling APC, to lose Kogi and Imo states which are currently controlled by the party, to the opposition PDP or the Labour party, described in political circles as the party of the future, would want the APC, to still retain the two states and move a step further to take over Bayelsa, former President Goodluck Jonathan from the PDP, to prove that he is the aster tactician.

Atiku Abubakar: Brought Allegations Of Certificate Forgery Against Tinubu

Given that his attention is on the ball compared to Atiku and other PDP, Chieftains who are more interested  in removing from office  using the  judgment  from an inferior Court of competent jurisdiction in the North American country of the United States, US, to provide more evidence to the case already  in  the Supreme Court, the  nation’s’s highest Court, he has flagged off the  Campaign of the Kogi state governorship  election, on Sunday, October, 8, 2023, with a promise to  create 500,000 jobs  from the Ajaokuta Steel Complex,  which Nigerians had described as a ‘’drain-pipe’’.

The Nigerian President, who was said to have been represented at the governorship Campaign rally at Lokoja, the state Capital, by Vice President Kashim Shettima, may have gladdened the heart of the people   when he disclosed that ‘’the Ajaokuta Steel Complex which is nearing completion in readiness to generate the 500,000 jobs that would bring investment in Nigeria and further boost the country’s economy, amidst cheers from the people’’.

Shettima, who may have spoken the President’s mind had promised that the Tinubu’s government would fully harness the potentials of the Steel complex once it is completed, insisting that ‘’it would boost Nigeria’s foreign direct investment, FDI, and provide the avenue for the creation of the much -needed conducive business environment for all sectors in the nation’s economy to survive’’.

 Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun state and the Chairman of the APC Campaign Council in the north central state and Ahmed Ododo, the governorship Candidate and their entourage may have left the Campaign ground fully satisfied that that party is ahead of the PDPD and the other Opposition parties  jostling to win the forth coming election in the state  and that  the Ajaokuta Steel plant which had remained an issue of political Campaigns over the years is a priority for completion  in the Tinubu’s administration.

The presence of Shuaibu Abubakar Audu, the minister of Steel Development at the Kogi state governorship Campaign ground in Lokoja, may have given the people the assurance that the multi- billion naira Ajaokuta Steel project which had been neglected by past administrations after spending billions of the US dollars to revive it would be completed this time around.

   Muhammadu Buhari, the immediate past Nigerian President was said to have made an investment of $400 million to resuscitate the moribund steel plant expected to add $1.6 billion annually to the country’s economy and create over 500,000 estimated jobs had failed to achieve the target.

 Note that the then Katsina state born Nigerian President had given Nigerians the impression that he has ‘’rescued the Ajaokuta Steel Complex from all legal disabilities’’, noting that the Steel plant is ready for Commissioning and that the private investor with the right profiles would put the plant to work in Nigeria. 

In spite of the fact that the Buhari’s administration had invested $400 million to revive the Ajaokuta steel coplex , but it has  turned out  be  another   Nigerian Air project  , in which  the then  government had wasted $500 million but ended up in’’ a Logo Launch’’ in United Kingdom, UK.

 Hadi Sirika, the then minister of Aviation, who was said to have supervised the spending of the huge amount on the white elephant project starting from the logo launch at Farnborough International airshow in London in July 2018 to, according to insiders has a case to aviation experts has a case to answer. the unveiling of a Boeing 737-800 series aircraft as the Nigeria Air. Unknown to many the unveiled 10-year-old Nigeria Air, aircraft, in May 26, 2023, barely three days for the administration to elapse belongs to Ethiopian Airline, which owns 49% stake in the Nigeria Air.

. Flightraddar, the popular flight tracking website, ha said that that the aircraft hired by the then Nigerian government from the Ethiopian Airlines operated between Tell Aviv, Israel and Mogadishu, Somalia, still on May 21, 2023

The Leadership of the Airline Operators of Nigeria, AON, were not happy at the Launch of the ineffective Nigerian Air on May 26, 2023, by the Siriki, the minister of the Aviation to justify the over $500 million spent on the project that they had protested to the President through their Legal Team but nothing came out of it. Aviation analysts describe it as height of deception by a sitting Nigerian President.

The   Commissioning syndrome may have been to  the Aliko Dangote, a business mogul,  the $2.5 billion  650,000 b/d, refinery and petrochemical plant    in Epe, Lagos state, on May 22, 2023, amid hopes of transforming  , Nigeria  into an exporter  of petroleum products in the West and Central African subregions.

Buhari, who may have expected to use the Ajaokuta Steel plant, the Nigeria Air and Dangote Refinery projects as a Nigerian President, as a Nigerian President who had commissioned giant projects within his eight years in office to boost his records may have failed. Fillers from the Nigerian Midstream and Upstream Regulatory Authority, shows that the government has continued to spend huge sums of money to import   Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol.

Between, May 22 and now, the multi-billion-dollar, Dangote refinery and petrochemical plant believed to be 70% completed has no not shown any sign of starting production any time soon to easy the problem of fuel scarcity in the country. 

Although, Nigeria is a major oil producing nation, it has been reported that the Dangote refinery had placed order for the first cargo of crude oil to start producing 370,000 barrels per day of Automotive Gas Oil, popular, diesel and Jet Aviation fuel from this October 2023. Nigerians are watching to see how this can be achieved within this short period, now that the Tinubu’s administration had unified the parallel and official foreign exchange markets that the naira is now going for almost N1000.00 to the US dollar.

There are fears in both official and unofficial circles that no matter the promises being made by the Nigerian President to complete the Ajaokuta steel complex, as the Kogi state governorship is just around the  corner, it may not be achieved as there had been  such promises in  the past and nothing came out of it as it is still a pipe dream.

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