Wednesday, 17 February 2016 16:20

Fashola-Buhari 2016 Works Budget is Same-O Same-O

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A government of change must approach its policies, its budget, and its pronouncement, from a new angle. It should start from thinking outside the box. The 2016 Ministry of Works just announced is a mere new wine in old wine bottles. It is not thinking outside the box.

All the roads improvements that will take up to 95% of the budget are roads existing now and those roads are zonal roads. It is why they are perceived as favoring the SW and that perception is fully justified. Take Lagos-Ibadan expressway. It links states in the SW and stops. A comparable express way would be Port Harcourt-Owerri express way. Why is one OK to rehabilitate one and not the other? They are both coast to inland roads. Mr. Kassim's effort to justify the vote for this road by citing that Lagos has up to 20% non-Yoruba residents merely affirms that this is a FG gift to the Yoruba. Which is why Easterners are crying wolf.

What will thinking outside the box look like?

In several past essays I had shown what such thinking will look like. Suppose Fashola's works budget begins with the statement that the construction this year would be for four inter zonal roads: a pair of East/West roads and a pair of South/North roads. They will all be new roads. One will start from Calabar to Ibadan and the other will start from Jebba or a place further west to somewhere in Adamawa state. The South/North pair would be one from PH to Maiduguri and another one from Kano to Badagry. A proposal such as these would be seen as Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and- what-have-you proposal. It will be hailed by all. Number one federal road networks ought to be linking zones not the ones linking states. The state to state networks will be trunk "B" roads when the former are Trunk "A" roads

Trunk "B" roads will be the responsibility of state governments such that Lagos state will build part of the Lagos-Ibadan road up to its borders and Oyo state will build the rest. Trunk "C" roads will be roads built by LGA to connect cities and towns in the state. To me this is how a three-tier government should function. But what we have is a FG that assumes the State role and a State that assumes the LG role and LG that sits on their hands doing nothing. And a FG that cannot see the big picture. I had thought that Mr. Fashola was a man with big vision.

I now know that Mr. Fashola is "Same-O Same-O."

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Boston, Massachusetts

February 17, 2016

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Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba

Benjamin Obiajulu Aduba  currently lives in Medfield, Massachusetts.