Chief Olawale Oshun, Chairman, ARG

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

The Afenifere Renewal Group, ARG, says it is appalled by National Assembly’s reduction of the budgetary allocation for the reconstruction of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and called for immediate restoration.

ARG said in NASS’s explanation claiming that the fund removed from the expressway were moved to other projects to equalise ‘development’ across the country left the body aghast at the shallow thoughts put into decision making in Nigeria.

ARG, in a statement issued by Kunle Famoriyo, Publicity Secretary, ARG on Sunday said this thinking, which assumed illogically that only the Southwest people used the expressway, was the reason the Federal Government had failed to complete the entire stretch of any interstate road since 1999.

“The importance of this expressway to Nigeria’s economy and North-South linkage cannot be overstated, reputed to be the busiest inter-state route in West Africa and carrying in excess of 250,000PCEs daily. The rapid industrial, residential and tourism expansion along the road is second only to Lekki-Epe corridor, which is reputed to be the fastest growing real estate corridor in Africa.

“Any wise government will prioritise that road and make it a world-class signature project with attenuating infrastructures to improve its usability. But sadly, a road with such huge potentials, which should translate into economic prosperity for the citizens, has been turned into political mathematics.

“Annually, there are, at least, 300 crashes and incidents along the 127km road leading to the death of at least 100 people, alongside hundreds of cases of incapacitation and inestimable loss of revenue and man-hour. The traffic situation along the road also feeds armed robbery, health deterioration and other social malice, particularly by herdsmen,” it said.

ARG said the basic application of economics dictated that “if we want to maximize satisfaction from scarce resources, then we must prioritize through Scale of Preference. For NASS to think it must spread available resources across all projects finds no supportive argument in Good Governance.

“Similar neglect is happening with the poor condition of Apapa roads, which in addition to the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, constitute the most economically important roads in Nigeria. Ill-informed decisions such as this, where the goose laying the golden egg is physically abused, cannot but motivate people to question the country’s sovereignty and even rise up against it.

“Our interpretation of this vacuous act is that the National Assembly wants a showdown with the Yoruba people of Southwest and they should be ready for this, if they would not restore the allocation. Otherwise the federal government should handover the road to the southwest states as was requested during the Jonathan presidency.”