Nigeria has a comprehensively developed Integrated Infrastructure Development Master Plan that require consistent investment/capital projects injection of over $3trillion/N915trillion over the next 20-30 years to bring her even to the level of the second world countries. A master plan that was abandoned by the Buhari government for a cronysm laden mediocre governance that foists poverty and misery on the populace.
As currently structured, Nigeria cannot muster the critical funding requirements to execute her huge huge infrastructure deficit through the fiscal revenue mobilization sources available to the three tiers of government. Her inability to mobilize the needed non-fiscal capital is directly located at the current unwieldly structural foundation upon which it is built and the attendant faulty economic model.
The level of political instability, opacity, insecurity, policy inconsistencies, confusion, mediocrity and corruption in Nigeria today, occasioned by the fraud engendering and poverty foisting constitutional, fiscal, governance, political and socioeconomic framework we run today have compounded our woes.
Nigeria cannot move forward and attain her full potentials, unless we restructure her. Restructuring Nigeria does not mean the breaking her up, as some ignorant, retrogressive and mischievous revisionists will want you to believe. Restructuring here simply means, the overhaul of the constitutional and fiscal framework of Nigeria in such ways and manner that will make the diverse ethnic nationalities and constituents units in Nigeria to live harmoniously and work productively for the good of all.
We can only unlock the required sustainable and huge long term non-fiscal investments and capital from other climes and sources if we put in place the needed and appropriate constitutional, governance and institutional structures in place.
Devolution of more powers and resources from the centre to the constituent units, ceding of most of the responsibilities in the Exclusive list to the Residual list and putting in place the required transparent/accountable frameworks/policies will help to open up Nigeria and ensure consistent and sustainable economic growth that trickles down to the masses, create jobs and reduces poverty.
Some of the responsibilities that will be ceded to the Residual list include, Solid Minerals, Power, Housing, Works, Transport, Agriculture, Education, Health etc.
RAIL INFRASTRUCTURE.- Through devolution of powers and resources, Nigeria will be in the best position to develop our key infrastructure needs-THE RAIL NETWORK AND APPURTENANCES.
By the reason of the current Land Use Act, the management of every inch of the 923,000sqkm land mass in Nigeria is placed under the control of the 36 state governors in Nigeria. The FGN does not control land resources.
Under the constitutional reform agenda of the Atiku Government, urgent constitutional amendments will tackle the land use act, the amendment of the 1955 Nigeria Railway Act and other extant laws that will allow for easy private sector participation and unhindered long term global capital inflow into the key sectors of Railway, Housing, Road Infrastructure, Marine and Maritime, Aviation etc.
To reduce drastically the cost of production in Nigeria, beside power and energy, we need to fix our rail transport Infrastructure. This infrastructure includes, the rail track networks, the coaches/freights, the stations and its administrations/regulations. They are critical to the transport infrastructure. This is so because of the large volume of passengers and cargoes that it can carry and its relative safety records.
The United Kingdom with a land mass of 243,000 square kilometre has over 16,000 km rail network and thousands of passenger/freight coaches. Despite the top efficiency of the UK public sector, her rail system and services have long been privatised since 1993. Nigeria with a vast and larger land mass of 923,000 sq km requires at least 48,000 km of rail network criss-crossing the vast land mass of the country.
Currently, we have only existing 3,021km obsolete narrow gauge line network. An epileptic rail system and governance framework that is still being run under the anachronistic and retrogressive Nigeria Railway Act of 1955.
The Atiku-Obi led government through its avowed commitment to RESTRUCTURE NIGERIA ( Power and Resources devolution), and constitutional reforms, will facilitate and lead the process to build new networks to at least 12,000km rail networks and infrastructure in Nigeria in the next five to eight years? A mega key infrastructure development project that will require about $38bn-$42bn/N12.8tn, mostly driven by Global Private Sector Enterprises without a jot of debt increase on the balance sheet of the FGN. This project shall be executed simultaneously with other sectorial development plans with structured and funding arrangement outside the conventional fiscal allocation that will involve the states and local government, Diaspora Nigerians. This process shall be driven/managed by key global infrastructure development partners, the world bank and other stakeholders.
A central government that is not overbearing, under a restructured Nigeria, will enhance synergy, cooperation and healthy development competition amongst the constituents units in the country.
The Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, as very exposed, creative thinking and passionately productive leaders will lead the relevant Federal Government Agencies to provide the needed constitutional, regulatory and legislative framework that will drive the whole process.
The Key driving factor here will be the speedy amendment of the constitution, the land use act and the 1955 Railway Act to accommodate a private sector-driven scheme that can unlock the needed non-fiscal investments in that sector.
The first phase of robust and sustainable rail infrastructure development plan will cover the following routes in Nigeria:
1.The Lagos-Ibadan-Ilorin-Minna-Abuja-Kaduna-Kano axis; 1,435km (187 Abuja-Kano leg has been done). The balance, 1,248km, will require around $4.99bn/N1.8tn to fix.
2.The Lagos- Sagamu-Ijebu Ode-Ore-Benin-Asaba-Onitsha-Owerri-Port Harcourt axis; 718km, it will require about $2.8bn/N1.03tn.
3.The Abuja-Lafia-Makurdi-Nsukka-Enugu-Okigwe-Aba-Port Harcourt; 766.2km, will require $3.06bn/N1.103tn.
4.The Maiduguri- Biu-Jalingo-Afikpo-Abakiliki-Isukwuato-Umuahia-Itu-Uyo; 1214km, will require about $4.9bn/N1.75tn.
5.Kaduna-Jabi-Zaria-Funtua-Gusau-Talata Mafara-Sokoto; 468km, will require about $1.9bn/N673bn.
6.The Calabar –Lagos, Coastal Rail Network from Calabar-Uyo-Aba-PH-Yenago-Otuoke-Yenagoa-Ughelli-Warri-Sapelle-Benin-Agbor-Asaba-Onitsha-Benin-Ore-Ijebu ode-Sagamu-Lagos. $9bn/N2.7trillion.
The above are the initial key busy and viable routes that will be robustly developed and funded under a private sector-driven rail network and infrastructure scheme that will unlock huge long term non-fiscal investment capital that does not put any burden on the Federal Government’s balance sheet.
Kindly note that we are not reinventing the wheel. The 1955 Railway Act and other extant laws shall be amended to accommodate the required private sector-driven reforms in line with what is obtainable in other sane climes, like the UK, the UAE, Singapore, South Africa etc. The modified UK model will best suit us.
We shall create a very transparent institutional, regulatory, governance and participating bid template that allows the global key players across the rail value chain and network to drive the process, take over routes they want to develop and control based on their robust feasibilities studies. States or constituent units are allowed to participate in the private sector-driven Special Purpose Investment Vehicles that the private sector led investors might put in place to drive the process. The FGN led by Atiku Abubakar shall provide all required guarantees (security, funding, and political risk etc.) to drive the whole process.
Rail network services, coaches and freight services, stations and ancillaries services etc. are value chains and segment of the services that can be unbundled and made to work efficiently across the identified routes.
We shall reform and rebuild Nigeria. We shall do it the right way, engaging the right people to do the right jobs. We shall not engage quacks, rent seekers and incompetent men as ministers and heads of key ministries agencies. Cronysm and nepotism build on mediocrity shall never be associated with our government .
Let’s take back our country back. Let’s elect a deeply knowledgeable/ creative President, whose neurological pathways for complex reasoning is still intact. Let’s elect a President whose mind is not linear tracked and who shall be AWARE of everything that happens under his watch and take responsibilities.
#ATIKUOBI2019. BE OBEDIENTLY ATIKULATED
Dr Nnaemeka Onyeka Obiaraeri,
ATIKU MEDIA GROUP (AMG)