By Abdulrasheed Ahmad Imam
Last two weeks I read the emphasis Fashola Nigeria’s Minister of Works, Housing and Power, is given on the design and other requirements needed for the reconstruction of Apapa road in Lagos. He also reiterated that the Apapa area was a priority to the federal government, with a jaw dropping amount of N100bn to execute the project.
Last week Osinbajo gave Gov. Ambode permission to reconstruct Lagos International Airport Road. One will wonder as if this administration is all about serving Lagos, and Osinbajo and Fashola are only representing Lagos State. I have no doubt the Lagos played an important role for the success of Muhammadu Buhari becoming president of Nigeria in 2015. The contribution of Tinubu, Bisi Akande, Fashola and all Lagosians and south-west people has been very remarkable. During the 2015 Presidential Election APC won 792,460 votes in Lagos while PDP scored 632,327 with a gap of 160,000 votes between them.
But within 2years of this administration Lagos had gotten 10times more than they invested in this administration. During Buhari’s last years trade and investment trip to China almost 60% of agreement brokered between the FG and China Lagos happened to be the beneficiary. A total of $1 billion is to be invested in the development of a greenfield expressway for Abuja-Ibadan-Lagos under an agreement reached by the Infrastructure Bank and Sino-hydro Corporation Limited. For the housing sector, both companies also sealed a $250 million deal to develop an ultra modern 27-storey high rise complex and a $2.5 billion agreement for the development of the Lagos Metro Rail Transit Red Line project. Other agreements announced and signed during the visit include a $1 billion for the establishment of a Hi-tech industrial park in Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone in Igbesa, Ogun State. Furthermore, the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone and CNG (Nigeria) Investment Limited also signed an agreement valued at $200 million for the construction of two 500MT/day float gas facilities. But in that trip I could remember Kano State Governor was not even invited for trip despite Kano trade volume with China.
In 2016 Budget Lagos and south west states took lion share of all Fasholas ministry. Some of the major projects to be executed include rehabilitation of Lagos- Ibadan road N50 billion; Apapa – Oshodi- Oworoshoki road N5billion; pavement strengthening and asphalt overlay of Ajebandele- Benin-Shagamu road in Ogun State N6.5 billion; construction of Apakun-Murtala Muhammed International Airport road in Lagos State N5 billion.
In 2016 Budget the whole North West where Buhari won virtually every state with a very high margin votes, got a meager amount of less than N7bn projects, In the North-West, major projects include construction of 2x60MVA connection of Gurara to national grid N1.442 billion; construction of Kaduna eastern bypass, Kano western bypass and dualization of Kano-Katsina road N3 billion; 2nd Kaduna-Kano 33KV DC line N1.7 billion; completion of on-going electrification projects in Katsina State N383 million; and rehabilitation of existing /completion of rural electrification scheme in 9 communities in Kaduna State N306 million.
Subsequently in 2017 Budget for the same ministry the North has nothing to show for it. The south-south and the South-West got 51.45% of the federal government total spending of N268 billion on construction and repairs of 171 roads across the nation. The South West zone is following with N64bn for 26 road projects. The North-west which has the least funding of N15.6bn to do 21 projects this year, got N33bn to do 26 projects in 2016
Most of the huge projects in the South-west will be in the Lagos axis as they were in 2016. Some of them are the dualization of Lagos-Otta road (N1.7bn); construction of Apakun-Murtala Mohammed International Airport road in Lagos State (N2bn); access road to Apapa/Tincan Port, NNPC depot -Mile2 road (N1.2bn); dualization of Ibadan-Ilorin (N3bn); expansion of Lagos-Shagamu-Ibadan road (N31.5bn), and rehabilitation of Apapa-Oshodi road (N7.8bn).
Other huge projects in the zone include, emergency rehabilitation of Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos (N5.3bn), and rehabilitation of Ikorodu-Shagamu road (N2bn)
Coming back to my State, Kano State. I kept asking this question please where is the reward for loyalty and service to the APC led administration. Kano State gave Buhari 1,903,999 votes trashing Jonathan with only 215,779 votes. We gave APC Governor, all three senatorial seats, all 24 members of house of reps, all 40 members of state assembly, all 44 local government chairmen and all 440 councilors. PDP has nothing in Kano, but we have nothing to show for it as reward from APC.
This administration is two years on, but Buhari has never set his foot in Kano. We have recorded tragedy upon tragedy in kano, last year Sabon-Gari market the biggest market in Northern Nigeria got burnt almost 70% of traders lost their properties and means of lively hood, but there was no single intervention from the Federal Government. No federal presence or projects in kano as it use to be.
Also what affect our people more is the anti trading policy of the FG of closing down of land borders with neighboring countries, blaming it on security which we all know our borders can be equipped and fortified with latest gadgets, personnel and manpower to mann them instead of closing it down which led to our business men and women gasping for breath. This policy is only meant to serve and favored the GDP of Lagos, because every import must done through sea.
Our free trade zone in kano is still epileptic, only few international planes are allowed to route through our first and pioneer international airport. Yar’adua’s trans-sahara gas pipeline project (Calabar-Kano) that will spring trade and investment in the region is halted by Jonathan and neglected by Buhari. Kano could be designated as clearance house of FG Yuan Swap deal of Nigeria-China. Our vast dam resources could be turn into massive wealth for our people and the country at large. By investing in massive modern irrigation projects. A trans-saharan rail line can be build from kano to Maradi Niger republic through Jigawa Katsina to aid trade and investment with our neibouring countries. The FG can utilise the available of our dams to build power generating plant or a solar farm that can generate electricity to revive our dead industries.
I ask the federal Government again please where is the reward of our loyalty. Kano has been neglected and the Northwest entirely. Theres nothing in Katsina, Jigawa, Sokoto, etc.
I will not keep quite anymore. I will continue to say this regardless of whose ox is gored. Don ai ba kanwa muka kawo kasuwa ba.
The FG needs to make amends or we will use our 1.9million votes as bargaining chip come 2019 and beyond
ABDULRASHEED AHMAD IMAM
Member Policy, Research and Strategy Committee of APC Presidential Campaign Council 2015.