Prince Justice Faloye
There is no doubt that the Lagos-Calabar railway is the most important economic liberating infrastructure needed in Nigeria. Not a road but railway. Amazingly, without passing through proper checks and balances, Tinubu’s government has commissioned a Lagos-Calabar coastal highway, even though for over a decade we have failed to complete the East-West Highway, plying the same route a few miles apart. And guess what, the new road is contracted to HITECH, a construction company tied to Tinubu and Chagoury.
Every developed nation used railways as the launchpad to heavy industrialization, but in 24yrs of Tinubu’s Lagos only a mere 16 kilometers has been built out of a minimum 160 kilometers required by Lagos. Apart from being a transportation mode, Railways have the largest employment multiplier effects on the entire economy, because being a large production system involving all types of iron works as well as chemicals, engine making, electricity, logistics and other inputs and byproducts become industries on their own. From his Lagos precedents, it was obvious Tinubu can’t up lift Nigeria with the basic requirement of building the Lagos-Calabar railway followed by Ilorin-Yola and Sokoto-Maiduguri, bringing about three trunk routes whose feeder routes will serve every state for transport and other economic multiplier effects.
Instead, Tinubu would arrested Nigeria’s economic development like he did by restricting Lagosians to public road transport in One Chance Osa Straight buses, ran by Agberos that double up as political thugs. A leader might not necessarily know everything, but what is important is his sincerity of purpose. Not one motivated by selfish predatory interests, which is why Tinubu has chosen to build a Lagos-Calabar RAILWAY and not HIGHWAY!
The previous APC president Buhari was a camel riding Abrahamist that let his herdsmen run riot taking over our lands and took foreign currency loans to be sold for profit by his people to sponsor Islamic terrorism, while his successor is a Lagos City boy whose first mission is to turn Dodan Barracks, our previous seat of government, into a leisure house serviced with presidential yacht to live the life of a rockstar. Or better still like a drug kingpin that splashes out money in clubs every night. Go Ahmed, it’s your birthday.. as the Supreme Court rules!
Undoubtedly, cutting the inflated cost of governance had been a key political demand of the masses for over ten years, sometimes estimated at 500% the global average, yet Tinubu’s presidency further increased the cost of governance by increasing the number of ministers. The Oronsaye Report in 2013 outlined which ministries, departments and MDAs that are duplicated and need to be abolished to free N13 trillion annually, probably N26 trillion now. Yet, Tinubu decided to cut subsidies to the productive economy while increasing subsidies to the political classes. HITECH and other politically backed construction companies often take projects that are costed four times the global benchmark prices, so we can imagine how much the proposed Lagos-Calabar coastal highway will cost.
Tinubu is a dangerous mix of cluelessness and personal aggrandizement, known to cut government responsibility and increase taxes. His propensity to step down government responsibility has led to the ill-advised stopping of fuel subsidies and backing of the Naira. Every country in the world backs and ensures the stability of its currency to enable a stable economy to attract investors. Unfortunately, all Tinubu saw in fuel subsidies boosting our economy was that it was an inconvenience and drain on the monies available to politicians for plundering. The IMF has it on record that the global average for fuel subsidies is 7% of GDP, but Tinubu on assuming power cancelled our fuel subsidies that were 2% of our GDP.
Fuel Subsidies are the only universal benefit given by the government, especially to our economy based solely on fossil fuel. By removing fuel subsidies that have substantial multiple effects on our economy, Tinubu killed the economy and increased inflation which increased poverty about fixed or no income earners. Ridiculously, Tinubu started giving out bags of rice for cutting fuel subsidies as if Rice could replace the energy that he has cut. Giving out monies to Labour union leaders, Judiciary, Opposition etc to buy short term peace but not long term development.
To those with a modicum of intelligence and patriotism/ wish for public good, Nigeria is increasingly becoming a lost cause. A nightmarish One Chance Osa Straight bus driven by a driver with suspicious credentials and motives, with an Akpabio looking conductor announcing prayers to be directed to mailboxes, while the suffocating passengers wonder whether the whole bus or themselves alone will end up in the Osa (Ocean) bed. It beats imagination how our political elite that travel abroad and see how things are done, come back and do the worst for their own people. Yes, there is coloniality of knowledge and power sources but this is beginning to look like a collective curse.
No matter how much you pay media and public relations specialists to build your public profile, you can’t give what you don’t have. Our past actions, our pedigree, our psyche and motivations can’t be hidden like you can’t hide smoke. Therefore many of us are not surprised by Tinubu’s fumbling obviously clueless governance. Just like people mistook the Idiagbon uprightness and pulbic service as Buharis virtues and voted for him, only for his true persona to be immediately revealed, so did many mistake Fashola’s work to clean up and make Lagos a bit presentable, as Tinubu’s essence, failing to remember that Tinubu hardly did much for Lagos apart from throwing bundles of money to supporters on the streets.
Yes the Supreme Court judgement is final in confirmimg Tinubu as President, but we shouldn’t fool ourselves that there is any hope of things getting better in eight years. Eight years because we are rest assured that he will rig the 2027 elections, and probably engineer a one party state like he did in Lagos State for the past 24yrs. Lagos house of assembly is about the only house with just one or no opposition member. If Tinubu’s cluelessness and corruption doesn’t drive Nigeria to revolution due to poverty and lack of hope to vote him out, then Nigeria citizenry will never ever rise to redraw the Social Contract between the masses, the politicians and the state.