‘Buhari’s message renews hope for industrial development’
The director general of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu yesterday said President Muhammadu Buhari’s new year message has renewed the hope for industrial development of the country.He said this was revealed in his master plan for the rehabilitation of rail, roads and power sector.
He said this while reacting to criticisms that have trailed the president’s speech, especially by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Southern and Middle Belt Leadership Forum.
Okechukwu said Buhari was following the historical route of industrialisation and keeping fate with his promises.His words: “Rather than criticise the President’s speech as diversionary, the critics should analyse the projects, point at the gaps and advance suggestions.
“I think it is pure demonstration of envy. Envy in the sense that they promised all those projects in their 16 years in power. Otherwise, how can any rational political party call the President’s bold step in laying solid foundation for Nigeria’s industrial development as diversionary? To me, Mr. President is following the historical route of industrialisation.”
Okechukwu added that projects were massive and represented the greatest infrastructure milestone in the country’s history.He said: “Take a careful analysis of the nationwide standard gauge network of the Rail lines-Eastern Corridor Railway-Port Harcourt-Aba-Umuahia-Owerri-Enugu- Abakiliki-Maikurdi-Lafita-Jos-Bauchi, Gombe-Damaturu to Maiduguri.
“Also take a look at the Coastal Rail-Lagos- Ore-Shagamu-Benin-Agbor-Asaba-Sapele- Ugheli-Warri-Yenagoa-Otuoke-Port Harcourt-Aba-Uyo and Calabar and the upgrade of Lagos-Kano to standard gauge.” He alleged that the PDP awarded the 1,400km old Lagos-Kano railway gauge some years ago at $8.3 billion, while the Chinese awarded the 1,142km Golmud-Lhasa standard gauge at $4.2 billion.
“Today Buhari is borrowing $1.5 billion to standardise the railway. That project has been the greatest scam since our return to democracy. Let’s forget the PDP because Buhari is clearing their mess,” he added.He also reacted to the criticism of Southern and Middle Belt leaders that the government has exhausted all possibilities of rent and sharing economy and left the people in unemployment and hunger, among others.
Okechukwu said: “One is at a loss that the execution of critical infrastructure like fixing dilapidated federal roads with the N100 billion Sukuk loan, or the over 3,000MW Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Plant and other power projects across the country will exacerbate conflicts among sections of the country.
“The Southern and Middle Leadership Forum should know that we are in democracy, where contending choices are paramount. In this instance, Buhari elected to fix critical infrastructure rather than the political restructuring in a country where democracy is growing at the national level and diminishing at the units.”
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