Nigeria Yet To Recover From Ajaokuta, Lagos Metroline Stoppage, Says
Dr. Mike Onolememe.
Stoppage of the famous Lagos Metroline Project and the Ajaokuta Steel Complex in today’s Kogi State has been identified as key samples of development plan inconsistencies that has hubbled infrastructural growth in the country, according to former Minister of Works and Senatorial Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, ahead the 2023 general election, Dr Mike Onolememe.
Dr Onolememe, an Architect, made the remark during a lecture he delivered at the combined maiden convocation of the National Institute of Construction Technology and Management, Uromi, Edo State on Friday.
President Mohammadu Buhari, as military head of state between 1983 and early 1985, infamously took the said action citing alleged corruptions which has largely remained unproven till date.
The former minister of Works under whose tenure the country recorded massive, intensive road reconstruction and development used the point to underscore how inconsistency in infrastructure planning has stymied growth and imperiled economic and development in Nigeria.
“It was the Buhari administration that halted the ambitious Lagos Metroline project, which held the promise of a model mass transportation system in Nigeria.
“Again, the quest of infrastructure development in Nigeria, via the Ajaokuta Steel Complex project that was at 75% completion, and which many hoped would be the foundation of industrialisation in the country, was halted by the Buhari’s administration due to mere suspicion of corrupt practices associated with the project even though it was never proven.
“In the case of the metroline project, many believed that it was a missed opportunity to solve the chronic transportation problem in Lagos and other heavily populated cities in Nigeria.
” The ‘ghost’ of the aborted Ajaokuta Steel complex, still haunts Nigeria till date, and many believe that it is probably at the root of Nigeria’s inability for industrial take-off,” Onolememe said at the lecture which was covered by our news source.
The former minister says that such inconsistency has cost the country dearly.
“Good planning, consistency, commitment and continuity of agreed plans at the various stages is necessary for success and the attainment of the goals and objectives of any national development plan.
” India, for example, adopted the strategy of national development planning in 1960 (the same year Nigeria adopted development planning), and has continued this approach ever since in a consistent and committed manner, having implemented a total of 12 five-years development plans, spanning an uninterrupted period of 60 years.
This consistency has led to high confidence in local and foreign investors in the Indian economy, which consequently attracted public-private partnership investments in infrastructure of about 480 billion dollars in the 12th plan (2011-2015) alone,” he added.
But he added that high cost of finances of infrastructure is a major challenge for the country.
However, according to him, federal government could explore closer collaboration with the private sector in delivering needed infrastructure while it ensures better regulation, stable returns on investment, to make infrastructure financing and development attractive to private investors.