Many had predicted it: Nigeria will disintegrate. There was an “urban legend” popularly believed in Nigeria prior to the ascension of Muhammadu Buhari as president that the United States government predicts that the black world most populous country will breakup in 2015. Five years after, it remains intact, continuing to navigate her way in securing “better life” for the citizens.
As October 1st, 2020, marks the country’s 60 years of independence from the shackles of colonialism, the intrinsic link between poor leadership on one hand and its consequent impoverishment of the governed on the other is fairly indisputable, as more recent findings by governance focused organizations such as Transparency International and BudgIT Nigeria, among others reveals.
Despite internal challenges, Nigeria continues to be a leader in the West African subregion and the events it went through as a nation, reflecting on the Civil War 1967-70, series of military coups, confirm the strength of her foundations. Besides tougher past, Nigeria is heading towards ensuring the dividends of democracy to all. The undertaker is President Muhammadu Buhari.
PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI’S FEATS
Nigeria is experiencing a construction boom on a scale never witnessed before – driven by the president’s commitment for upsurge in transport links across the federation. In the road sector, there is at least one federal road under construction in each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (Abuja); while some have been completed, others are still undergoing construction.
There is ongoing repairs and restoration of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos; rehabilitation of Lagos-Otta-Abeokuta Road; including Loko-Oweto Bridge which stretches over River Benue, between Nasarawa and Benue States.
The Buhari-led administration has completed the construction of Diversion Bridge at Bode Saadu along Ilorin-Jeeba Road in Kwara State. Down southwest of the country in Lagos, efforts are intensely made by the contractor, CCECC Nigeria Limited to complete all lanes at the section covering Trade Fair to Lagos State University LASU on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway at a constrained timeframe. COVID-19 lockdown slowed the delivery of various projects.
Due for the need to provide affordable housing, the president in August 2019 ordered the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria on the reduction of equity contribution from 5% to 0% for those seeking loans up to 5 million naira, as well as 15% to 10% for applicants seeking over 5 million naira. The intention is to enable citizens easy access to housing.
Realizing the country is the hub for west African air travel, the Buhari/Osinbajo remains unrelenting on its ambitious plans for airport rehabilitation. In the east of the country, renovation works at the Akanu Ibiam Airport in Enugu has been completed since July 2020. The airport will serve neighbouring cities such as Abakaliki, Awka, Onitsha, Nnewi, Afikpo, Okigwe, Nsukka, Ugep, Orlu, Idah, Otukpo and Ogoja.
On Saturday, August 15, 2020, the Nigerian Ports Authority announced the successful berthing of Maerskline Stardelhor, a vessel with length overall of 300 metres, width of 48 metres at the Federal Ocean Terminal (FOT), Onne in Rivers State. The landing of this biggest container vessel on Nigerian waters was preceded by the purchase of two Tug Boats – MT Musawa and MT Ikoro-Ekiti in July 2020. Along with eliminating gridlocks by ships, the government plans effective removal of wrecks and derelicts that have the tendency of affecting vessels navigations in the Nigerian waters.
It is all good news for Nigeria as the Infectious Disease Care Centre which started in 2019 has been completed and currently open for operation. The foundation stone for the Mental Health Block, a 76-bed block which, when completed will have facilities for specialised therapies, was laid at the University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada on September 25, 2020. It is expected to be completed within a year.
President Muhammadu Buhari strives to strengthen the provision of high-quality health care, while identifying ways to reduce cost burden on patients and their families. Consolidating on opportunities availed to public servants by the National Health Insurance Scheme NHIS, there is a move to extend the Scheme’s benefits to workers in the private sector for swift access to quality, affordable medical services.
While reveling in the celebration of her 60th Independence Day Anniversary, Nigerians should remain hopeful that the future is green. President Muhammadu Buhari has clearly demonstrated he is charting a new course, building bridges, connecting every Nigerian with each other for social prosperity – the 2nd Niger Bridge approaching completion and will conveniently link the East to West is a vivid testament.