Milestones in infrastructure development

When President Muhammadu Buhari asked his ministers for comprehensive status reports on policies, programmes and projects on their ministries, departments and agencies on April 17, one of those who knew they have several publications to fall back upon was the minister of power, works and housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN).

This is because apart from media and sundry documentation, a new book that will be presented tomorrow in Abuja entitled ‘Proof of Infrastructure Delivery Across Nigeria: A Three-year Report on the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing’ aptly captures the activities of the all-important ministry.

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Understandably, how far Fashola and his Ministers of State, Baba Shehuri and Suleiman Hassan, have been able to make the three ministries get a notable mention in the well-produced book with fantastic print and presentation qualities.

While the Editor, Hakeem Bello; General Editor, Theo Ogeziachi and photographer, Lukman Olaonipekun, are responsible for a significant chunk of the materials presented, there are other contributors including some media professionals. These are mostly those who had the first-hand experience of activities of the ministry, in terms of being part of inspection tours and having encounters with the ministers, especially Fashola.

Some of the reports are ‘Nationwide Inspection, Verification Tour: Fashola in Kogi, Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau States’, by Hakeem Bello; ‘Fashola: A Shuttle in the North Central’ by Ralph Agbana of The Guardian; ‘Preaching peace in the South-South Zone’, by Bello; text of an interview by Fashola, titled, ‘My Ministry now Refocusing on Project Completion’, by Bode Gbadebo of Leadership; and ‘BRF: On the Road not Travelled’, by Ebitimi Tamuno, published in ‘The Nation’. Modestus Umennzekwe’s ‘Fashola: Why is no one Talking?’ is also a thoughtful addition to the book.

Though ‘Proof of Infrastructure Delivery Across Nigeria’ straddles almost every topic in power, works and housing ministry, an account given on efforts to repair bridges across the country will interest people, especially now that the Federal Government is assuring Nigerians that the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos is not distressed.

In one of the chapters titled ‘Fixing the Broken Bridges: Deploying Emergency Repairs to Keep Road Infrastructure Safe for All’, the book provides a comprehensive list of interventions the ministry has had to make across Nigeria.

Little wonder that in the book’s foreword titled, ‘Concrete Evidence of Goals, Missions and Achievements’, former Head of State, Gen Abdusalami Abubakar (Rtd), commended the Buhari administration for giving the three sectors deserved attention. Noting that this is evident in increased budgetary allocations, he also salutes the three ministers for their statesmanship and sense of responsibility in directing the affairs of the ministry.

Abubakar notes: “From the evidence provided in the speeches and photographs collected in the book, the current administration led by Buhari and through the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing has been pursuing the implementation of the policies and programmes with diligence and determination. The book is replete with photographs of newly built houses, roads either being constructed or rehabilitated and power plants being switched on. The book presents concrete evidence of goals as they are being pursued, missions as they are being actualised and achievements as being recorded.”