By Sami F. Okpolagha-Abel
the last couple of days, we have not heard the much touted slogan- CHANGE. What could have prompted this sudden silence? Could it be that Nigerians are beginning to realize there may not be change as they were made to believe? What is the present status of the change ambassador’s Lagos light rail project that has gulped over N160 billion? Who is to blame for the failure of the lagos light rail project?
“Blame it on the rain, because the rain don’t mind, you can blame it on the stars, it shined at night” -Fabrice Morvan of Milli Vanilli
Lagos Light Rail Will Be Ready In June 2013-Gov. Fashola (January 9th, 2013)
I cannot complete Lagos light rail project, Ambode will see to it- Gov. Fashola (February, 2015)
The Federal government is responsible for the non-completion of the light rail project- Fashola (January 2015)
Jonathan stopped Lagos railway project – APC
In the last couple of days, we have not heard the much touted slogan- CHANGE. What could have prompted this sudden silence? Could it be that Nigerians are beginning to realize there may not be change as they were made to believe? What is the present status of the change ambassador’s Lagos light rail project that has gulped over N160 billion? Who is to blame for the failure of the lagos light rail project?
A project initially conceived by Chief Lateef Jakande and SCRAPPED BY GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI in 1985. Later revived by Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2003 and continued by governor Raji Fashola in 2008. Lagos state is said to be the 5th largest economy in the whole of Africa and thus has the potential to build the best infrastructure desired by the tax payers, but we have been short changed by the various administrations, including this one. The infrastructure deficit is seen in almost all parts of Lagos despite the stupendous amounts spent by various administrations to bridge the gap. A close look at the timelines for the Lagos light rail project will reveal a few instances where promises have not been kept.
2008 – A metro is proposed for Lagos, allegedly with a completion date of 2011.
2009 – Construction commences on the Blue Line.
2010 – Lagos Rail Mass Transit to proceed.
2014 – Phase I (the Blue Line from Marina to Okokomaiko) set to open in the first quarter of 2014.
Agbado-Marina Red Line- The line will share the existing 30 metre wide Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) right-of-way. This is the line the APC and Fashola have continued to insist of Jonathan’s perceived interference. President Jonathan revived the Nigerian railway corporation that was comatose till his administration came on board. Governor Fashola is still constructing the 27klm (BLUE) light rail track to Okokomaiko since 2008! In my estimation, the FG sees that the initial funds guaranteed and disbursed to the Lagos |State government has not yielded the desired change expected, hence further guarantee may mean disaster where initial released sums have not been accounted for.
“Construction work will continue on the project from Orile-Iganmu to Marina, the expansion work on the road from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko will also be intensified. This is what we do with the loan collected by the government. We don’t use our loan to pay salaries and other recurrent expenditure, what we do with our loan is to provide capital projects that would serve the residents. When the project is completed, the state would be at par with other major cities of the world.” – Governor Raji Fashola
Fashola said the project would have been completed in another 12 months despite that the project execution was not as smooth and speedy as he wanted it. This was in September 2014, just 5 months to its one year anniversary! Do we see a rapid change taking place enough to convince us that this project will be completed within the time frame set? One of my very good friends whilst assessing President Jonathan’s administration said Jonathan failed woefully and there was no room for excuses. This young man lives in Lagos, yet does not see anything wrong in the non-completion of the Lagos state light rail project before a new government comes in.
With over $1 billion in debt and constituting about a a third of the total debt stock of all states, Lagos is expected to show us what they have done with tax payers money, not excuses! Also as at today April 30th, 2015, governor Fashola has only 29 days to tell us the truth that he has failed in his promise to deliver the dividends of democracy as promised during his campaigns. We are tired of the excuses he keeps giving us about why projects are not complete.
See also: http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/lagos-how-we-spent-n160bn-world-bank-loan-on-light-rail-project/188736/