OPEN LETTER TO MR. BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA; RE-SETTING THE AGENDA FOR DELIVERING CHANGE:
Dear Honourable Minister for Power, Housing and Works, your press conference was a declaration of your Vision for the office and declaration of partial state of emergency on Roads in Nigeria. You’ve not only declared your intentions as the Minister, you’ve mentioned the consequences of bad roads, government debts to contractors and the likely cost to us all in terms of toll fees.
Mr. Honourable Minister, while some of your colleague Ministers are still hosting reception parties in each zones of their states, you’ve shown that four weeks prior to your press conference on December 8, you were busy finding solution to one of our greatest embarrassments; terrible road networks among others. This letter concerns the road rehabilitation all over the country.
As one of your followers, though not in your party, I want you to consider the following prayers:
1. As a lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), please note that it’s not enough to just complete the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, all the legal controversies involving the various past contracts must be fairly considered and the records set straight; lest you be laying a bad precedence. I know you have all the information by now. I guess many other roads may have similar complications but I am sure of this particular one.
2. On the reintroduction of tollgates on the highways, please ensure that we institutionalise the process so that subsequent administrations or your successor won’t rubbish the process just to play to the gallery or because it’s another party in power. We need strong institutions and we believe you’re strong enough to midwife that. We are tired of going round in the same circle.
3. Sir, in fixing the fees, please be mindful of the poor. Remember those who might need to ply same road more than once in a day without commercial purpose. Keeping the price affordable will make the project of “immediate” quantifiable blessing to all.
4. Sir, even as you declared during the Senate screening that you hold yourself accountable for the lives of your subjects; please remember to build more emergency posts of medical and security units at reasonable distance with good communication gadgets. What we have now is pathetic because Nigerians would rather walk past someone in emergency than risk the troubles from the Nigerian Police who turn the Samaritans to victims of circumstances. That has limited such Samaritan gestures to the wealthy elites.
5. Sir, please remember the pigs and their unrelenting desires to drag you into the mud; you can’t be too careful.
Finally, I am very sure this letter will get to you and many of us are following you, not your party and willing to take the sacrifices you prescribed because you’ve weighed the choices. We have confidence in your leadership and you have raised our expectations on “better days for Nigeria roads”.
You’re a Coach and your performances are our operational guides.
Long live BRF, long live Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Adeniyi Rotimi Johnson, an astute social commentator writes from Ibadan.