The politics of endless road projects, By Jonas Odocha




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is indeed a sad commentary our level of development in this country that in the 21st century we celebrate construction of roads and bridges. As governors troop out in fanfare their convoys of government , politicians and some funnily bedecked traditional rulers, to commission a road , as “dividends of democracy,” one would want to believe that the road has been built to last for eternity.

Unfortunately these roads built at unjustifiable humongous costs very rarely survive two seasons of heavy rains. But then they have been commissioned and readily qualified for renovation contracts and the cycle continues endlessly.

Each year brings to the fore submissions for road constructions at both the Federal and levels. But some are sickeningly perennial and recurringly embarrassing. Please permit me to mention just a few; namely the EAST-WEST ROAD, the PORT HARCOURT-ENUGU ROAD, the LAGOS-IBADAN ROAD and also the ABUJA- ROAD, as some of the many endless road projects. Their recurrence in annual budgets should worry Nigerians who have brilliant professionals in this sector and competent road construction companies that do start, and commission roads and bridges. What is then the problem?

is therefore not surprising that the House, at the ongoing ministerial 2021 defence has queried the allocation of N15bn earmarked for the East-West road. This road has been for the past 14 years, has consumed N423bn of which about N354bn has so far been paid to date, according to the supervising minister.

does appear that such figures and statistics no longer mean anything to Nigerians. But this is really the time for soul-searching and introspection. The year 2020, as begins to round up, is a year of lessons for whichever country that to reform its ways or whosoever individual that to benefit from sincere lessons. -19 is a game changer. #ENDSARS is an attitude changer. Both reveal that politics has its limitations and that sound policies make for good governance.•Sir Jonas Odocha writes from Abuja