Nigeria’s erstwhile finance minister Ngozi Okonjo Iweala disclosed in 2012 that SURE-P would “mitigate the immediate impact of the removal of fuel subsidy and accelerate economic growth through investments in critically-needed infrastructure”. Transportation was one of the projects in the programme.
A sum of 10.45 Billion Naira was earmarked in year 2012 budget for the construction and completion of Abuja-Kaduna, Lagos-Ibadan and Ajaokuta-Warri rail lines. SURE-P separately allocated an additional sum of N11.6 Billion Naira to the Abuja-Kaduna line, and N9.3 Billion Naira to the Lagos-Ibadan line. Provision of N800 Million Naira was equally made for the procurement of wagons, coaches and locomotives; while N1.2 Billion Naira was allocated to the dredging of Lower River Niger (Warri-Baro) in the same spirit. Five years later, only one project, the Abuja – Kaduna rail line, has been completed!
The presently articulated vision 20:2020 on respective sectors of the Nigerian economy clearly identified that among 134 Nations of the world, Nigeria’s ranking performance in quality of overall infrastructure was a measly 114th position. Further breakdown disclosed the quality of roads at 116th, railroads at 108th, ports at 120th, and air transport at 84th.positions respectively.
It is therefore interesting to have young people such as Ifenla representing Ogun State at the Labour Room Reality TV Show, marshal thoughts and plans on how to tackle the Nation’s transportation challenges. For whatever it is worth, opportunities must be provided for cross-fertilization of ideas and expression among the informed and simple, aged and youthful Nigerians, towards tackling issues common to our domain.
The Labour Room TV Project has advanced to elimination stages. While contestants with the least number of votes will inevitably be discharged, it is important that essence is not lost on the intended contributions of the Project. As a reality television show for national development, it is perhaps the only year 2017 private initiative of Nigerians focused on troubleshooting developmental issues on equal opportunity basis. Without efforts such as this, the Nation’s future and survival as a going-concern might as well be a mirage.
It will be recalled that the project promised alternative contents to profane reality entertainment television, while stimulating awareness, education and knowledge on issues confronting people. Designed to facilitate young people’s discourse on Nigerian issues, it is expected to generate employment, promote new social culture, and add value to content broadcasting.
Hopefully, Ifenla’s campaign will generate enough 15 seconds video posts on facebook and instagram to survive this elimination round and inspire wider action for a prosperous Nation. Certainly, a country which cannot guarantee easy and safe system of mobility for citizens and resources have no viable prospect of being competitive in the comity of nations.