HomeViews and ReviewsLagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project, Economy As Tinubu’s Moral Burden

Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway Project, Economy As Tinubu’s Moral Burden

Every administration at every point in time has its headache and high points.

The two critical issues are subject to perception and logic.

Besides, each administration choose the pattern to which it intends to solve the burden, remove perceived obstacles in its way and at the same time make an impact on the lives of those they govern. This may take time to manifest before a people eager to see result are convinced about governance. They need to be convinced by realities that they have chosen rightly the government which to them represents Hope in a way.

Another critical issue is the approach through which the various governments adopt to solve its headaches- which in most cases are self inflicted, and in some other cases it will determined whether it would make an impact in governance or not.

While some choose to face their problem and tackle it head on, others allow the problem to reach critical point and cross the bridge when it gets to breaking point.

For others, they meet the problem half-way and resolve it.

For President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration, he resolved to do the first option as he removed fuel subsidy – an issue which has been the political burial ground of his predecessors.

That he did it with gusto even before both he and his government and people settle down to a new reality is both pragmatic and confounding.

The new reality is that removing fuel subsidy has struck at the underbelly of the people’s expectations, expectations that succour is in the horizon after eight years of a previous rudderless leadership.

With pains far from being bearable by the masses who wondered why a new government gave it scorpions and hardship from day one, Tinubu’s government did the unthinkable.

He bared his chest to bullets too early and by so doing further casting doubt in the Renewed Hope mantra on which he got elected.

The populace got stung by bees even while waiting for dawn of new Renewed Hope.

Hardly had the dust settled than the floating of the Naira which further geometric depreciation combined with fuel subsidy has further impoverished the weak and dimed the hope of the poor however well intentioned the policy be.

Though his appointments to various offices are well commended for putting square pegs in square holes, the fact of the matter is that the poor were only interested in getting rice on the Table and commuting from one place to the other. It is now for them a battle for survival.

The recent furore over the implementation and award of the contract for the long- overdue Lagos-Calabar Coastal road further paint Tinubu as a leader who like British war time Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who chose a battle plan that gave little room for options. It is either failure or success.

By choosing to go ahead with the N15 trillion projects, Tinubu has chosen to give himself another ‘suicidal’ task and unenviable record of midwiving Nigeria’s most ambitious projects.

At a time when the Economy is battling to survive Internal and external pressures which had pauperise the poor and in a way threatens the not so rich.

Yes, there is a logic in questioning the rationale behind executing an ambitious project like this at this critical time when the nation is in dire economic straight but then there is reason in the counter argument that building of infrastructure in a depressed Economy paves way for opening new vista of development opportunities.

Abubakar Atiku’s argument that converting a project initially planned to be contractors financed through Public Private Participation, PPP, to a direct funding through Tinubu’s release of N1Trillion Naira in a process he described as being approved and executed in haste is logical in a way.

Atiku may also be right in questioning reasons for increasing the budgetary provision of Senate from N500 billion to N1 trillion without going through the Senate again.

Atiku, the Turakin Adamawa and veteran of Presidential election contest had made good his promise not to be an absentee opposition leader after defeat in the election.

He also queried Tinubu’s alleged award of the contract to a Company his son, Seyi, allegedly has an interest is also questionable in a way, if his allegations are found to be true.

By the fresh allegations of imprudence and nepotism, Atiku has added strength to his co-traveller in opposition, Peter Obi’s earlier criticism of the projects been not in tune with the economic reality.

Though neither Atiku nor Obi had proffered alternatives for a project long overdue, their accusations beyond politics, has raised serious moral questions which the President has to defend.

However, politicisation of the of projects may yet divert attention of the Public from moral issues in Atiku’s criticism by the action and decision of the South South Leaders, who see in the projects, a new infrastructural cum economic vista to open their Region to development via access to the Coast.

If the projects will pass through Nine state’s three of which are Coastal, then their added linkage to the Calabar sea Port may yet prove a new economic boom considering the potentialities of the Oil rich region when the projects to be executed in eight years is completed.

To the South South Leaders and former People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, criticism against the project is ill-intentioned and aimed at denying be the region the much needed infrastructural Development long overdue.

Bruce did not stop there, he asked those not interested in the projects not to use the road when completed.

In a way, for Tinubu, the 700-kilometre Coastal road is a political inroad to the South-South Region now divided between the Conservative North and South West as represented by Tinubu.

Before Atiku raised the morality issue, Obi has questioned what he described as the high cost saying such project costs, $600million dollars elsewhere.

Yet, the claim by the promoter of Landmark Beach, Paul Onwuanibe of Lagos government’s destruction of its business citing right of way is another issue tinted with ethnic coloration.

He may not have much sympathy as the Law of overriding Public interest in state projects comes into play.

Though such claims have been dismissed by Umahi who accuses promoter of playing politics as an investor, political interest always at play in governance history cannot be easily wished away.

Though question of cost, variation and typography including inclusion of rail line has been defended by Works Minister Dave Umahi, critics are not convinced.

Now with Atiku’s latest criticism and moral question, Umahi, easily one of the poster Boys of this government has much to defend and explain.

Whatever explanation is given, the Nigerian Public is Better for it in terms of ensuring probity and accountability in government.

Like Babatunde Raji Fashola and Rotimi Amaechi, Umahi and Power Minister, Adebayo Adelabu, has more explanations and Defence to make for this government which deliberately chose to confront most of Nigeria’s knotty problems inherited from the previous administration it was, in a way, part of.

This is in spite of the explanations given by the All Progressives Congress, APC.

If the two ministers -Umahi and Adelabu, are able to make a reasonable impact in their Ministries via executing far reaching projects that touches the lives of the people within now and end of next year, then the Tinubu government will have less headache to seek renewal of another four Years mandate in 2027.

Until then, Tinubu is on a bumpy ride to enact Hope to the people

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