President Goodluck Jonathan has said that most Nigerian roads will be in good conditions in the next two years.
Speaking during the inauguration of the WEMPCO cold steel plant in Magboro, Ogun State on Thursday, the President acknowledged that most Nigerian roads had been abandoned for a long time.
He, however, gave an assurance that most of the roads would be in good shape by 2015.
He said, “We assure Nigerians that we are intervening in our road reconstruction. It is not easy because this country is very big and the road networks appear to have collapsed due to long time neglect.
“There is no magic wand that the government will use to repair all the roads at the same time, but we are intervening massively, and if we progress at the rate we are progressing, God willing, most of Nigerian roads will be motorable in the next two years.”
The President was prompted by the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who complained that the federal/state road dichotomy was frustrating the state’s infrastructure development drive, especially in the area of road development.
“We have been trying everything possible to make Ogun State conducive for business. Our investment drive is being greatly hampered by an embarrassing dichotomy called the federal/state roads,” the governor said.
Amosun remarked that Ogun State had rehabilitated some federal roads considered very critical to the economic development of the state; adding that this had not happened without confrontations with the Federal Ministry of Works.
“As at present, our roads are wearing new looks and have high standards. However, we are been accused by agencies of the Federal Government of improving on roads in our dear state. The most painful thing is that these federal roads are very germane to our investment drive. The least we expect is for the Federal Ministry of Works to come and disturb us,” he said.
While lauding the effort of the Federal Government in rehabilitating the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Amosun said the state would not hesitate to partner with it to repair the road.
This, he said, had become imperative because 83 per cent of the road was situated on Ogun State land.
In response, Jonathan, said “I believe there is a communication gap between your government and the Federal Ministry of Works. If not, those issues were not supposed to have even come up at all. There is no controversy at all about a state or local government intervening in any federal road.
“I will emphasise that the ordinary Nigerian does not want to know whether a road was built by the federal, state or local government.
“However, if you intervene in a federal road at a time we are not ready, and you want the Federal Government to partner in terms of cost, then we will give you what we have planned for the road. However, you must follow our procurement process for us to pay you.
“But if you have money to build the road, you don’t even need to bother with our procurement laws, you can go ahead and build the road, but we will not refund any part of the money.
---------------DAYO OKETOLA, PUNCH, APRIL 19, 2013