By Pius Adesanmi
ABUJA (Sundiata Post) Three quick takeaways from Rotimi Amaechi’s comments while receiving the report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the Finalization of the Draft National Transport Policy (NTP) in Abuja today.
1) He acknowledges criticism that this administration should focus less on always heaping the blame for everything on GEJ and face front. It is good to know that somebody in the PMB administration finally understands that the buck has been on President Buhari’s desk since 2015. However, I think this realization is coming a tad late. Atiku has declared the presidential race open. There is no more governing from now till 2019. Having nothing to show for the last two years, I’m afraid, the Buhari machine will be left with nothing but Jonathan blaming as a campaign slogan for 2019.
2) I am surprised to hear that Amaechi has been working on a draft National Transportation Policy. My emphasis is on draft. Anyone who witnessed the late Ojo Maduekwe’s years as High Commissioner here in Ottawa and listened to his speeches at events will recall that he prided himself as having worked on and completed the most comprehensive NTP for Nigeria during his tenure as Transportation Minister. He would lament the fact that Nigerians only remember his caricatural attempts at riding bicycles. He would lament the fact that the most brilliant policy drafts often get rusty under the carpet. In other words, I expect to hear about a REVISED NTP from Amaechi, not a draft. I hope you get my drift. We have no continuity. Over a decade ago, under another Minister, the same Ministry already expended considerable resources on an NTP. It was brushed under the carpet. Now, Amaechi has started all over again as if the previous NTP never existed.
3) Amaechi says he visited Singapore and saw that human agency has all but disappeared at the airport. Everything is now done by robots and technology. He also discovered how close they are to self-driving cars, etc. This led him to the conclusion that “Intelligence transportation should not be ignored”. This is good. We should aim high and dream big.
However, let me remind Amaechi that the futuristic technology he saw in Singapore does not run on soundproof Mikano generators. So we should also start dreaming big about electricity. This of course means breaking the Mikano and diesel cartel. Ah, I forget, they are the quiet funders of every government in power in Nigeria so we really cannot have electricity, can we?
Also, driverless cars and electronic roads sit on a foundation of pre-existing good roads.
So, before you dream “intelligence roads”, go and fix Ilorin to Kabba via Isanlu, bring it to the level of a 21st century autobahn first. That way, I can drive to Lagos or Abuja to admire your futuristic roads. Right now, I need a tractor or a helicopter to reach Isanlu. I do not want to make my Imo friends happy by letting them know that Mansa Kankan Musa’s roads in the Mali Empire were better than what I have now in Isanlu and the whole of Okun land.