• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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Secrecy, suspicion, and soaring costs: Why Nigerians doubt the Lagos-Calabar coastal road project

Coastal Highway: FG’s bulldozer starts work on properties Saturday

The Lagos-Calabar coastal road project, a symbol of Nigeria’s infrastructural ambitions, has become a focal point of debate. Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar’s recent criticism of the project’s handling under the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration has reignited discussions. The latest accusation includes N1.06 trillion that would be paid to Chagoury’s firm for the first phase of the project. This has eroded public faith in the government’s ability to deliver. The project’s future remains uncertain, highlighting the challenges Nigeria faced in achieving progress on such projects in the past.

A complicated web of contractual entanglements and opaque agreements that have enmeshed the Lagos-Calabar coastal road project in a web of mistrust and complexity sits at the core of the issue. The project was first commissioned under former President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, and since then, each succeeding administration has had to navigate the complexities of its implementation. Though there was initial hope, numerous renegotiations and amendments have hampered the completion process, adding levels of complication to an already difficult process. The project has become more uncertain with every turn, forcing stakeholders to face the difficult challenge of sorting through a tangle of opposing interests and competing agendas.

Q: “Allegations of cronyism and favouritism surrounding the project’s award process have fueled public suspicion; transparency about the decision-making process and the qualifications of those involved would help address these concerns.”

The Lagos-Calabar coastal road project faces criticism for its lack of transparency. Concerns surround the award process, particularly the selection of Gilbert Chagoury’s Hitech Construction Company Limited as the sole beneficiary. Withholding details about the bidding process and project costs raises serious questions about due diligence. This secrecy leaves citizens wondering if the project truly serves the public good.

To rebuild trust, a more transparent bidding process with clear selection criteria is essential. Public confidence would be bolstered by releasing details on the project’s feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments. Establishing an independent oversight committee could monitor progress and ensure adherence to best practices. Engaging with local communities along the route can address their concerns and ensure the project benefits everyone. By addressing these transparency issues, the government can demonstrate its commitment to good governance and the responsible use of public funds.

Stakeholders and the public are looking on with a furrowed brow at the Lagos-Calabar coastal road project. The ballooning cost estimates, reaching into the trillions, feel like a heavy weight on Nigeria’s already strained resources. Many are wondering if this massive price tag is truly justified.

Furthermore, doubts cloud the project’s viability. Will it truly deliver significant improvements to the lives of everyday Nigerians? Will it spur economic growth and much-needed infrastructure upgrades, or will it simply be a financial millstone around the country’s neck?

These uncertainties are a clarion call for a comprehensive reevaluation of the project. Increased transparency and accountability in its planning and execution are crucial. The Nigerian people deserve to know exactly how their hard-earned money will be spent and to have confidence that the project will deliver on its promises. Only then can scepticism turn into genuine hope for a brighter future.

The project’s connection to influential political figures, particularly Bola Tinubu, has raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest. Allegations of cronyism and favouritism surrounding the project’s award process have fueled public suspicion; transparency about the decision-making process and the qualifications of those involved would help address these concerns. In the absence of clear explanations, questions linger about the project’s true motivations, undermining public trust in those leading the initiative.

The Lagos-Calabar coastal road project serves as a stark reminder of the importance of transparency and accountability in Nigerian politics. At a time when the country grapples with numerous challenges, a project with such a hefty price tag demands a rigorous and open evaluation process.

The current lack of transparency surrounding the bidding process and whispers of potential conflicts of interest breed public suspicion and distrust. This not only undermines faith in this specific project but also risks casting a long shadow over future infrastructure initiatives.

Nigerians deserve better. They deserve a government committed to good governance, where decisions are made in the public eye and public resources are managed responsibly.

Unless these concerns are addressed definitively, similar projects risk becoming emblematic of a larger trend where personal gain trumps the collective good. The time for decisive action and an unwavering commitment to transparency is now. Only then can Nigeria move forward with the confidence that its leaders are acting in the best interests of the nation.