All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Organisation has described claims by President Goodluck Jonathan and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that they have resuscitated Nigerian’s railways which they say has been moribund for over 20 years as a hoax and asked the government to stop the lies.
President Jonathan, said the Director of media and publicity of the APC Presidential Campaign Organisation, Garba Shehu in a statement, has repeatedly stated while campaigning for re-election that he resuscitated the country’s railways which he says had been moribund for over 20 years, but that this has been proved to be one of the many lies of the Jonathan government.
“The Director General of his (Jonathan’s) campaign, Senator Ahmadu Ali, even stretches this moribund hyperbole to 35 years,” Garba Shehu said, adding: “the railway lies just seem to keep tumbling out.”
He noted that among the claims which are parts of the Jonathan government’s lies are the President’s statement during his campaign rallies that his government has rehabilitated and built about 3,500 km of railways.
“They have done no such thing as only about 2,000 kilometres have so far been rehabilitated and less than 250 kilometres of new track has been built.”
Garba Shehu said that the quality of work done on these rehabilitations even left a lot to be desired, “because the government had shown a preference towards issuing contracts to their cronies, regardless of whether they had the essential skills or experience.
“A railway expert advises that the real test of the integrity of the more recently rehabilitated track infrastructure is when the rainy season arrives.”
The APC Presidential campaign spokesman said that the huge railway contracts awarded by the PDP-led Jonathan government do not include most of the railway sidings and passing loops, adding that this has effectively limited the capacity of the lines in terms of the number of trains that can run on them at any time, thus making an unviable rail service even more unviable.
“They also do not say why the railway track rehabilitations which were supposed to take 10 months have taken 4 years and counting.”
Garba Shehu referred to the Jonathan government’s claim that it had commenced work on the Lagos-Calabar coastal railway line as “another big fat lie, and asked: “how can they commence work on a project that has no appropriation? How can they commence construction on a project without a signed contract? Or is a memorandum of understanding now a contract?
“In any case, why is the scope of work being described as Lagos to Calabar, when the Lagos-Ibadan part of the route is in another contract (i.e. the Obasanjo Lagos-Kano contract)? Will he pay twice for Lagos-Ibadan? With the addition of Benin-Onitsha to the coastal line, what is the new cost and how is he going to pay for it all? With more loans while the nation bleeds financially?”
The said that all these lies were simply evidence of an overactive imagination.
“One railway project the President and his media personnel have been silent about is the Abuja Rail Mass Transit. “What Mr. President will not tell the people is how many Nigerians truly benefit from the hundreds of billions purportedly spent on the rehabilitation of rail lines and whether value for money has been achieved. What he will not tell Nigerians, is that it costs about N10, 000 per passenger to produce that Lagos-Kano service, which his railway corporation sells at N1,930 per passenger.
“What he will not tell Nigerians is the number of derailments that have taken place on the Lagos-Kano line as a result of poor quality track work.