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HomeGist‘Misplaced priority’ – Obi questions Lagos-Calabar super highway project

‘Misplaced priority’ – Obi questions Lagos-Calabar super highway project

Former presidential candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi, has expressed concern about the Lagos-Calabar Super highway Project.

Obi said there is pressing issue of numerous uncompleted roads scattered across the country, many of which, according to him, have become hazardous death traps and security risks.

He maintained that embarking on another huge project that will not be completed in the next 20 or 30 years will only worsen the problem of abandoned, uncompleted projects that are not contributing to economic growth and overall development.

The presidential candidate suggested that given the state of the nation’s economy, prioritization and fiscal discipline should be the critical guiding principles, insisting that the project will worsen the already sagging debt burden.

In a statement on his X handle on Monday, the former Anambra State governor said most of those uncompleted roads have been under construction for several years and are unlikely to be completed any time soon due to poor and unplanned funding.

He said: “I have closely followed the comments and developments arising from the coastal (Lagos-Calabar) Super highway Project.

While I’m hesitant to engage in contentious debates about its benefits, which I acknowledge, and the pricing, which I have serious concerns about, and believe should be thoroughly reviewed, I am compelled to raise essential questions about the timing and prioritization of such a monumental venture.

At the forefront of my concerns is the pressing issue of numerous uncompleted roads scattered across the country, many of which have become hazardous death traps and security risks.

It is disheartening to witness the plight of innocent Nigerians who traverse these dilapidated roads under perilous conditions, vulnerable to kidnappers and other dangers.

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Most of these roads, vital for economic growth, regional connectivity, and overall development, have been under construction for several years if not decades now and are unlikely to be completed any time soon due to poor and unplanned funding.

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The Federal Ministry of Works 2024 capital budget of N892,461,262,656.00, additional funding from multilateral loan projects of N94,828,535,243.00, alongside other expected contributions from sources like the China-Exim Bank and the World Bank, will not be enough for serious work on all the critical roads, some of which I enumerated above, let alone their completion.

So, why embark on another huge project that will not be completed in the next 20 or 30 years? To do so will only exacerbate the problem of abandoned, uncompleted projects that are not contributing to economic growth and overall development.

It will merely worsen our already sagging debt burden. Given the state of our economy now, prioritization and fiscal discipline should be our critical guiding principles now.

Therefore, while acknowledging the potential benefits of coastal superhighway infrastructure, I urge prioritization of our existing uncompleted projects.

We must allocate resources towards repairing and completing existing infrastructure, crucial for the well-being and safety of our society, before embarking on new projects, no matter their perceived benefits.

Let’s prioritize the urgent needs of our people and ensure that our investments serve the collective good of the nation.

In any development formula, the primary focus should be on completing and rehabilitating existing infrastructure rather than embarking on colossal new projects that may never reach completion within the next 30 years.”

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