I advocate for the sale of the federal roads to state governments; are roads not supposed to be a part of resources the states should own? The masses will not mind to pay the toll on roads provided the roads are built to standard and made available for use and provided the amount is affordable and within the reach of the average Nigerian. How many of us struggle to pay for a sumptuous meal from the restaurant? Why do we pay up promptly? It is because we receive value for our money.
So imagine the revenue that accrues from this? The truth is, the Federal Government becomes poorer after every 24 hours and these facilities in their hands can never be properly utilised for the benefit of government and the people. This is why they called in the Chinese to build and operate the rail system.
But are the Chinese the best or the only option? Where are the rich and powerful of this country? They are engaged in the political, religious and racial fight for supremacy and do not seem to realise what this whole thing portends for the country until a time in the future.
After stealing taxpayers’ monies to fund economies of other countries, the political class come back and hand over our goldmines as well to the Chinese; then expect the citizens to survive on what? Look at how the people of Kogi state now look helpless under Governor Yahaya Bello? Giving the Chinese access to the rail sector is like handing our oil wells to them. Where is indigenisation in that arrangement? It is dangerous.
And so, I advocate for the idea that the government and its Chinese investor should focus on building and providing standard rail lines across Nigeria and, then allow indigenous players to own and operate train services. This way, indigenous businesses that packed up from the road segment of land transport could get a piece of the pie in the railway segment and long will the Nigerian Railway Corporation live. Also, the terminals like in the airport terminal can be segmented into the several operators who hire own staff and print own tickets.
The general idea of allowing the Chinese to profit exclusively, so to say, on a goldmine like the railway system simply because they provide needed funding should be seen as a business agreement that is in no way offering immediate help to Nigeria considering the level of unemployment, crime, brain drain and general infrastructure deficit.
Comrade Ifeanyichukwu Mmoh,