Project Abandonment: Stalling The Shovels And The Pans BY AGBA JALINGO 


The Guardian Newspaper reported recently that more than 56,000 projects worth 12 trillion Naira have been abandoned in Nigeria since 1999, citing the Institute of Quantity Surveyors. These projects include the N18bn National Library, NIPOST headquarters construction, N39bn FIRS headquarters construction, N69bn Millennium Tower and Cultural Center construction, N7bn Ministry of Agric headquarters construction, World Trade Centre, N700bn Abuja City Centre, N4.3bn 220-Bed Utako General Hospital, $18billion Centenary City in Abuja, amongst many others scattered across the country.

It is nerve wracking to imagine that, year in year out, these huge sums are appropriated and in many cases, disbursed either in part or in full, and the projects are jilted without consequences. How this sort of financial rascality has seemingly become a matter of numb indifference to the population is even more appalling. We just keep moving on as if nothing happened.

But in this same country, when Third Mainland Bridge was built, it was the longest bridge in Africa until 1996 when the 6th October Bridge in Cairo was completed. The National Theatre, NITEL, NEPA, Nigerian Ports Authority, Military and Police barracks, East West Road, Kano-Maiduguri road, functional airports, Federal Secretariat, National Assembly Complex, Aso Rock Villa, Eagle Square, Courts, Stadia, were all built by jack boot regimes that we agree are unconstitutional and corrupt.

At the regional levels, Premiers of the various regions also left some iconic infrastructure that are still surviving till date and we talk about them with relish and nostalgia. And I have been asking myself what memorable functional projects have these set of democratic leaders started and completed since 1999 when democracy returned to Nigeria?

I really wish those who do these things will realize that our economic development is tied to these abandoned infrastructure. They should realize also that if we don’t develop, none of us, no matter how much you have amassed, will be safe from those who don’t have. The rich will continue to axle themselves within the city centers or ride perpetually in armoured automobiles with a bevy of armed security guards.

Our contemporary nations that have attained this realization are tying their future to infrastructure development and taking deliberate steps. The Indian ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) for instance, has internally set a goal to construct at least 45km of highways a day in 2023 totalling 16,000km of roads. The ministry achieved a record 13,298km in the COVID pandemic-stricken year of 2020-21, at a rate of 36.4km per day. The road building target has helped to reduce travel time, connected new areas, stimulated commercial activities, and accelerated India’s growth story.

Someone should deliberately take the gauntlet and vow to leave us some legacy projects. It is not luxury. It is what we just have to do so we don’t perish. The stealing just has to be reduced at least. Massive infrastructure development will create a chance for young people to dust their pans and their shovels, and reduce crime. It will give our population the clefts of succour and sustained hope and provide us all some roads out of this national malaise.

Yours sincerely,
Citizen Agba Jalingo.


Development Consultant, Writer, Editor-In-Chief/Publisher, Public/ Motivational Speaker, Public Affairs Analyst/Commentator, Social Mobilizer of high repute.

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