The long awaited swearing in of the newly elected President of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu is finally here and will constitutionally be vested with humongous powers to take decisions that could either make or mar the corporate survival of the country.
When Buhari came in for the second term, he came up with a different approach to governance, appointing and injecting new ideas, structures and dramatis personae executing newly enunciated policies.
Even though government is a continuum, yet we expect to have a totally new approach, new structures, new tariffs, new leaders and practically new waves of policies that will be unleashed on the nation leaving definite impacts on its socio-economic and political life, Engineer Olabode Sydney, Contract Supervising Engineer with Dangote limited said.
“It is expected however that the new administration should not only try to build or carry on the agenda of the past administration, but to create result oriented policies to outperform the previous administration.
“When the Buhari administration was winding up an APC senator said that the
Federal and state governments have about 11,886 abandoned projects littered across Nigeria, pushing him to introduce a bill seeking to criminalise uncompleted works.
“He revealed that political and personal considerations outweighed the national interest in the award of contracts.
“He introduced a bill that sought to make provisions for governments at all levels to establish and ensure implementation plans for projects within their jurisdiction from inception to conclusion.” Sydney expressed
Engineer Akabi Bidemi, who works with the Lagos Government, added: “It has been discovered that majority of the contracts were procurement-driven rather than development-driven, limiting Nigeria’s limited economic and infrastructural development.
All over the world, government is a continuum. Ideally, once the baton of leadership of a nation is handed over to a new government, the onus lies on it to embrace the projects, policies, and programmes of the previous administration without recourse to any personal, party, or primordial interests.
However, one major identifiable draw-backs to social, economic, and infrastructural development in Nigeria is lack of continuity of policies and programmes of governments at the federal, state, and local levels.
State resources are poorly managed as some political leaders often embark on white elephant projects that cannot endure the test of time at the twilight of their tenures.
This unfortunate tradition has badly characterised governance and induced corruption since 1999.
The expectations of Nigerians from the new government are that, it will without any reservation provide enduring infrastructures no matter the prevailing economic situations.
A major infrastructure that will readily transform this dream and aspiration of Nigerians into reality is road infrastructures.
It is argued that this should be the number one sub-sector that the Government should make capital investments in. Every other sector of the economy needs the roads to carry out their various functions; it is the fulcrum for the rapid socio, economic and political development of any society. The road is the centripetal force around which developmental strides are woven.
Logically speaking, if you ship in goods and services, it will end up on the roads to get to consumer, if you fly in goods and services it will end up on the roads to get to the consumer; if you rail in goods and service it will also end up on the roads to reach the consumer. It is the apex means of transportation.
Olusegun Obayendo, President, Chartered Institute of Transportation Administration (CIOTA), said 2023 offered another opportunity for Nigerians to demonstrate readiness to develop modes of transportation as envisaged in the resilience and transparent dedication and commitment to the development of the rail system, especially the standard gauge, which according to him, proved beyond doubt that it could be trusted as a cheap, affordable and safe alternative to the roads.
He said CIOTA would continue to partner with the government in ensuring the robust development of all modes of transportation in the country.
He said CIOTA believes the transportation sector, if adequately exploited, could contribute a whopping N7.5 trillion yearly to the economy. With a budget of N21 trillion, it means, the transportation sector alone could provide a quarter of the nation’s budget and bring relief to a nation that is fiscally stifling.
Obayendo, said the Federal Government’s continued investments in the transportation sector, especially in the areas of rail, road, air and maritime, is aimed at achieving the potential of transforming Nigeria as a major transport hub within the African continent.
He added that transportation is the livewire of any economy, and the nation’s economic and social wellbeing depend on efficient transportation.
The earlier the next administration begins to articulate their plans for massive road constructions to fast track national developmental goals the better.
The following suggestions could therefore, form critical elements in the road development agenda of the next administration and government of Nigeria.
The completion of on-going or abandoned road construction projects, the construction of new durable and quality roads, the reconstruction, repair and fixing of bad roads, the construction of drainages and sidewalks to adequately suck and sip in excess water after rains.
Others are, to ease traffic gridlocks, hold-ups and go slows through effective road traffic management systems that could curb the spate of accidents, arm-robberies and banditry on our highways.
An effective surveillance and security mechanism’ lighting up the roads at night and installation of CCTV cameras are vital steps for advancing road transportation.
There’s need to also encourage wealthy individuals, corporate organisations and institutions to take up road repairs and maintenance as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) project which would reduce to the barest minimum the cost of road construction.
Another area is for the government to open-up exploration and investment opportunities to the large deposit of bitumen and limestone in Nigeria, by increasing private sector participation.
Government agencies in charge of road constructions, maintenance and traffic management should make public, objective information to the cost of road projects, contract bids; selection processes, contract awards and other related issues.
Government should explore and embrace alternative means of road construction that is cheaper, cost effective and suitable to our climatic condition in Nigeria.
To also ensure that organisations in the road transportation sector operate within the confines of laid down rules and regulations for the safety and well-being of all road users.
The administration should ensure and engender greater participation of the private sector in the development and improvement of the state of our roads.
To achieve this it will mean that the administration should be ready to provide all the necessary incentives for motivation and guarantee return on investment no matter the prevailing economic situation.
We must however, realise that among other critical sectors of the economy; agriculture, health, education, housing and others, it is the investment in road infrastructures by private investors that is not really profitable, if not suicidal, because the attempt to recoup investment without recourse to the current hardship of commuters will bring a backlash – remember the Lekki Concession Company.
The only means of having returns from such investments is by tolling the road so constructed by the private investor.
When we have a large of roads tolled, it will mean paying toll monies at every turn of the road for Nigerians. Apart from the heavy financial burden that this will bring, it will also have negative effect on the free flow of traffic.
You will quickly remember the brouhaha and harsh criticism that greeted the lekki concession agreement between the Lagos state government and the LCCI. More of such crisis will spring up when the government which is the sole and appropriate provider of this social service objurgates this responsibility.
However, it is our belief that with a well-orchestrated, organised and integrated plan of action, the private sector could be given a level playing field to play a critical role in complementing the efforts of the government in the provision of this all important social service.
A classic example of such is the reconstruction and beautification of some roads on CSR basis and tax conversion schemes introduced by the past Government.