Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sagamu charade: What President Jonathan has done wrong again

My Thoughts With Ayodele Samuel 
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Good men must die but nothing can kill their good name and good deeds - Tunde Bakare
One of the very good leaders that have served this country in the recent past is the late President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. He was a President of many good deeds and Nigerians are just getting to realise this.
Late President Umaru despite his complicated health challenges and dubious men making a larger chunk of his cabinet, did not increase fuel price. He gave amnesty to Niger Delta militants and initiated many other landmark projects for the economic development of this country without any unnecessary publicity.
President Umaru awarded the 16-lane Abuja Airport road without any noise, signed a concession agreement with Bi-Courtney Highway Services Ltd to construct the ever busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway without stepping out of the Villa to make any noise.
Governance is the responsibility of any serious government, but President Goodluck Jonathan must be joking if he thinks what happened
Last Friday at Sagamu, where he purportedly performed "turning of sod" (Flagoff) for the repair of the Lagos/Ibadan road is anything spectacular to be celebrated with fun fare, drums and pageantry.
This needless ceremony is the second official function performed on this road; the first was when it was commissioned for use in 1978 by General Olusegun Obasanjo. No ceremony whatsoever by successive governments whenever the road is marked for repairS.
Here are major issues that must be of concern to every Nigerians and particularly about the Project and President Jonathan.
His late boss, Umaru, in a concession agreement with Bi-Courtney Highway Services Ltd, was to expand the lanes to 10 from Lagos to Sagamu, and six lanes from Sagamu to Ibadan. It was also expected to build trailer parks and five interchanges among other things at a cost of N89.5bn.
The Federal Government had, in November 2012, revoked the failed Lagos-Ibadan Expressway concession contract awarded to Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited in 2009.
Last Friday, President Jonathan cut a tape to mark the commencement of rehabilitation and reconstruction of a two lane dual carriageway. From Lagos to Sagamu, only a single lane is added making it three lanes.
But from Sagamu to Ibadan, no additional lanes but just resurfacing, no interchange and trailer parks for N167 Billion.
Why did President Jonathan have to insult our collective sensibility?
This is the busiest road in Africa with average of 250,000 cars passing through that road per day. With the amount of lives that perish on that road day in day out and the kind of man hours lost, one would have expected the President to be more sensitive by making sure it's expanded to about six lanes on either side without increasing its cost.
Also, we haven't seen President Jonathan supervise any party to signal construction of any road in any part of the Country, not even in his home zone, South South, but he derives pleasure in gathering our Obas, chiefs and the political class to clap for him because he has just approved a contract to do a road that has killed many Nigerians irrespective of tribes.
Why did he have to do this in Yoruba land? Why did he have to play the race card? If this is to curry support of the South West people for the forthcoming elections, this has fallen flat. Nigerians cannot be fooled with this white Elephant project.