April 22, 2024

Lagos-Calabar coastal super highway project, a misplaced priority — Obi

Peter Obi

…says it may take 30 years to complete

John Alechenu, Abuja

The Presidential flag bearer of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi, has described the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Super Highway project as a misplacement of priority.

Obi said the project which was being given attention at this time does not deserve the attention it was getting because of the humongous cost, the time it would take to complete and the fact that there were more deserving but delapidated roads littered across Nigeria which require immediate attention.

He equally said the timing of the Coastal road project by this administration was in itself wrong .

Obi urged the President Bola Tinubu-led administration to immediately review the project and channelled the funds and attention to the deplorable internal road projects littered all over the country that would enhance economic growth.

The LP standards bearer listed some of the abandoned road projects in across geopolitical zones of the country.

He advised that deliberate attention should be given to those projects that will enhance the living standards of the poor and help internal day-to-day production.

Obi said this in a series of tweets on his X handle on Monday.

He said, “I have closely followed the comments and developments arising from the coastal superhighway project. While I’m hesitant to engage in contentious debates about its benefits, which I acknowledge, and the pricing, which I have serious concerns about and believe should be thoroughly reviewed, I feel compelled to raise essential questions about the timing and prioritization of such ventures.

“At the forefront of my concerns is the pressing issue of numerous uncompleted roads scattered across the country, many of which have become hazardous death traps and security risks.

“It’s disheartening to witness the plight of innocent Nigerians who traverse these dilapidated roads under perilous conditions, vulnerable to kidnappers and other dangers.

“Most of these roads, vital for economic growth, regional connectivity, and overall development, have been under construction for several years now and are unlikely to be completed shortly due to poor funding.

He listed some of the roads across the six geo-political zones to include:

“North-West: Abuja – Kaduna – Zaria – Kano Road – Sokoto – Funtua – Zaria Road Kano – Hadejia Road Kano – Katsina Road Zaria – Funtua – Shema – Tsafe – Gusau – Talata – Mafara – Sokoto Road Kano – Kwanar – Danja – Hadejia Road

“North East: Kano – Damaturu – Maiduguri Road – Mubi – Maiduguri Road Nguru – Gashua – Bayamari Road Gombe – Biu – Numan Road Dikwa – Marte – Monguno Road Potiskum – Fika – Bajoga – Gombe – Biu Road Mayo Belwa – Jada – Ganye – Tongue Road Tumu – Pindiga – Kashere – Yalo – Bashar – Wase – Wamba – Nassarawa Road

“North-Central: Abuja – Lokoja – Okene- Auchi – Benin Road – Ilorin – Jebba Road Kabba – Omuaran Road – Suleja – Minna Road Makurdi – Gboko – Yandev – Katsina-Ala Road Buruku Bridge across Katsina River

“South-West: Lagos – Badagry Road Ibadan – Ife – Ilesha – Osogbo Road Itoikin – Ijebu Ode – Ibadan Road Ibadan – Ilorin – Jebba – Mokwa – Bokani Junction Road Abeokuta – Ibadan Road Ikorodu – Shagamu Road Ado – Igede – Aramoko – Itawure Road Ajasse Ipo – Offa – Erinle – Osun State Border Road

  1. South-East: 9th Mile – Otukpo – Makurdi Road – Enugu Port Harcourt Road Onitsha – Awka – Enugu Road Onitsha – Owerri – Umuahia Road Bende – Arochukwu – Ohafia Road Okigwe – Afikpo Road – Nsukka – Obollo Afor Ehamafu – Nkalagu Road Oba – Nnewi – Okija Road
  2. South-South: Benin – Sapele – Warri Road East – West Road (Warri – Kaiama – Ahoada – Port Harcourt – Eket – Oron) Yenegwe Road Junction – Kolo – Otuoke Road Sapele – Agbor – Ewu Road Benin – Akure – Ore – Ife Road Ikot Ekpene – Aba – Owerri Road – Jattau – Fugar – Agenebode Road Bodo – Bonny Road with Bridge across Opobo Channel Port Harcourt – Onne Road – Agbor – Sakpoba – Ogharefe Road Odukpani Junction – Itu – Ikot Ekpene – Umuahia Road.”

He further said, “The Federal Ministry of Works 2024 capital budget of N892,461,262,656.00, additional funding from multilateral loan projects of N94,828,535,243.00, alongside other expected contributions from sources like the China-Exim Bank and the World Bank, will not be enough for serious work on all the critical roads, some of which I enumerated above, let alone their completion.

“So, why embark on another huge project that will not be completed in the next 20 or 30 years? To do so will only exacerbate the problem of abandoned, uncompleted projects that are not contributing to economic growth and overall development.

“Prioritization and fiscal discipline should be our critical guiding principles now. Therefore, while acknowledging the potential benefits of coastal superhighway infrastructure, I urge prioritization of our existing uncompleted projects.

“We must allocate resources towards repairing and completing existing infrastructure, crucial for the well-being and safety of our society, before embarking on new projects, no matter their perceived benefits.

“Let’s prioritize the urgent needs of our people and ensure that our investments serve the collective good of the nation.

“In any development formula, the primary focus should be on repairing existing infrastructure rather than embarking on colossal projects that may never reach completion within the next 30 years.”