Niger Nigeria Railway: Assessing the rationale behind FG’s Projects and Initiatives

Government irrespective type, regardless of the components people it’s governs either homogeneous or heterogeneous are not only tasked with the advancing of their respective people or country through the provision of developmental projects and sustainable initiatives; they are also tasked with ensuring the unity and facilitating of the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of their people in the process of carry out the aforementioned major task. What do I mean by this, the people they are elected to serve or the people who elected them to steer and manage the course of their affairs must not feel threatened with their activities. A sense of belonging must be ushered in with the dispensation of their duties and not the other way round. The policies, reforms or decisions made by them must bring to their respective people a sense of assurance and confidence that the ones they elected means well for them and will never do anything to jeopardize their wellness, safety, and ultimately the sovereign status of their nation.

This in the street or urban sense is best described by the popular slogan or indigenous catchy phrase being used by hip-hop lovers across the country,” MafoOmoiya mi, MowaPelu e” this translated in English implies, nothing to worry about my kinsmen for I am with you. At this junction in the history and development of our nation Nigeria, can we really say or confidently posit that the actions or the decisions of our elected leadership who are steering the wheels of the nation can assuredly speak, MafomoOmo It’s mi, Mo wapelu e”, if I were to answer that with all sense of objectivity and sincerity which I am going to do, the answer is No.

The MuhammaduBuhari led administration in Nigeria was elected on the wings of one that will come to address the various ills challenging the survival of the Nigerian sovereign nation. From the divisive issues and challenges which is hovering around its survival as a united Federating unit to developmental issues that taunts its ugly head militating against the progress and development of the nation. The menace of corruption and insecurity that has plagued the minds of many in the nation which makes many deviate from the status quo to seeking personal glorification and gratification at the expenses of others to the insecurities that ravaged the land making the land that is stated to be one flowing with milk and honey to one following with bloods of its kinsmen.

This administration came on the horses of restructuring the nation, giving it a better and more fitting, appropriate system one that can fully accommodate its federating units and allow them function and thrive in their respective rights.

While it has failed to address the aforementioned, it has also at various points in time put in proposed projects or executed ones which has given many sleepless nights over the actions of its elected leadership.

At this point I must ask, what is the essence of projects or initiatives that is not tailored to meeting the needs of the people either long term or short term.While the Nigerian nation is at a dire need of carefully panned out and strategic intervention that can be only heralded by masses friendly ideas, policies and reforms, that can be brought in by business friendly reforms, one that can instill the confidence needed by the people to give its Government a popular support and legitimacy to move on with its projects, the Buhari led administration has found itself at fault my making several I’ll timed policies, ill advised projects and initiatives which are giving the people a huge sense of concern at how well the government seeks their good.

Considering the fact that the nation is in a post Covid-19 reality where its economy and financial wit has been greatly and badly affected, while has seen the major source of the chunk of its income go on the decline, while the nation’s security has been greatly breached, the federal government has continued to make costly mistakes which are of little or no benefits to its Populace.

Before we got the bane of the issue, the federal government came up with the RUGA settlement initiative one which it intended to use to secure land for its Fulani herders in various federating units of the nation, one which was seen by many as another attempt by the government to grab lands from the true owners for the Fulani Herders, while there was more noise over this which led to its eventual suspension, the Federal Government of Nigeria also brought in another proposed initiative to called the Water Bill to bring under the control of the Federal government all waters above and beneath the earth within the confines of the sovereign entity called Nigeria. This created a wide range of national outburst and condemnation from the Nigerian Populace who questioned the rationale of this bill. Many in their own opinion described the act as another plan by the Federal Government to have dominance over its states resources. We must quite bear the mind the popular notion of many who thinks that the government is solely controlled by the Northerners who have no water in their respective states.

With the aforementioned we must ask the rationale behind these policies, these proposed plans, we must ask is the Buhari led administration in Nigeria properly committed and dedicated to creating a United Federating units or committed to advancing the nation through well timed and well informed projects and initiatives or they are just about bills and decisions that can threaten the unity of the nation or jeopardize its already slow pace growth rate.

We must also remember the recent electricity tariff hike and the increased petroleum price hike, one which has led to the further hardship and sufferings from the masses, one which creates another platform for the Nigerian Labor Congress and the Trade Union Congress to embark on a nation wide industrial strike. The Nigerian Universities nation wide are currently on strike, the health workers are yet to call off their strike with the judiciary as reported on the 25th of September 2020 on the nation’s newspaper are ready to join in the strike.

We cannot forget in a hurry the decision of the Buhari led administration to reintegrate Boko Haram terrorists back to the society, using the nation’s wealth to cater for the people who are responsible for the tears of millions in the society while their victims are in the various Internally Displaced Persons Camp in Nigeria suffering from lack of care from the Federal Government of Nigeria. The word is shame!

Then we must ask ourselves what is the lot of the nation and its economy if all these stated unions and bodies go on another strike. The nation’s economy is badly hit enough, further negative national trend will only further set it on a slippery slope to further damage.

Adding to these aforementioned mistimed and misinformed decisions taken by the Federal Government is its recent approval of $1.9 Billion for the construction of a rail line from Nigeria to Niger.

While the Federal Government have come to deny this claim through the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, GarbaShehuwho stated that the Federal Government under the leadership of President MuhammaduBuhari is not building rail line into Niger but only to the designated Border point.

With this we must still ask further questions on the need and importance of this project. What economy importance or significance does it serve the Nigerian nation as the Niger republic is a country of estimated 20million inhabitants.

Maybe there’s something that the Federal Government is not telling us that will make us understand the great economy benefit the nation has to gain from facilitating such a heavy project in an area where such is not needed.

Why Niger, why invest such a great amount when the nation is presently a regular name in the debt books of the Chinese, Nigerians were never against the construction of rail lines to Kano, Kastina and Dutse but then we must ask again why should we borrow money from the International Monetary Bank (IMF), from the World Bank, and from China to build a rail line to Niger Republic?

Not when the nation is heavily battling in saving its crumbling economy, not when small and medium scale enterprise in Nigeria are closing down daily in hundreds, not when there are various moribund industries across the nation that needs the Federal Government invention, ones that can offer to the federal government and the people immense and numerous benefits. Not when the nation is plagued with death traps roads, where portable water has become a luxury and the right to electricity has become a privilege for a few in the nation. We must ask and demand from our government, are you for us or against us.

Residents doctors are currently on strike as the nation’s healthcare system is a shamble, its educational system in no better position, the massive and high rates of unemployment in the nation for cause for massive intervention yet the MuhammaduBuhari led administration is seeking to waste from the nation’s scarce resources to build another white elephant project.

We celebrate 60 years of national independence as a nation, yet Ghanaian are humiliating its citizens in Ghana, yet hundreds of youths leave the nation illegally for other lesser nation as a result of their frustrations not minding the potential danger such trips brings.

Nigerians need to rise up, they need to own their voice and demand for a government that can conveniently look into their eyes and say,”MafoOmoIya Mi, Mo waPelu e” without them having to doubt their words or promises.

Nigeria can never survive on the waters of a government that does not care or one that is no sensitive to their cries. The Nigerian federating system is a fragile one hence the need for sensitive and well timed initiatives from its Government. As we celebrate the nation at 60 we must set back to the drawing board to re-address these ills lest we further place ourselves on another slippery slope to damnation.


By Marcus Amudipe

September 28, 2020

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