Fashola’s “road are not as bad’ comment sets twitter on fire

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Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 had said that Nigerian roads are not as bad as often portrayed and it has gotten the twitter community talking, making the #FasholaTakeTheRoadChallenge the second trending topic on the social media platform.

Fashola, had made the statement shortly after the Federal Executive Council meeting. He said the reports on the poor state of the country’s roads were mere hypes. The FEC meeting, which was presided over by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, approved N58.4billion for the construction of Bida-Sachi-Nupeko road and the Nupeko-Patigi Bridge across River Niger, linking Nupeko and Patigi in Niger and Kwara states.

Federal roads have been in a terrible state of disrepair and the bad state of the roads have been aiding bandits and herdsmen, who kill and kidnap travellers in impassable spots on the highways.

Fashola however, while dismissing reports on bad state of the highways said, “The roads are not as bad as they are often portrayed. I know that this is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad”, he told State House Correspondents. He then further explained that most road projects would have been long completed but if not hindered by funding challenges.

Fashola also stated that some parts of the country faced peculiar issues like high water table, which made construction in the rainy season difficult. He mentioned the South-East and the South-South among areas with such difficulties. He added that the ministry and contractors were waiting patiently for the rains to subside so that they could return to sites.

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The Director General, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, Mr Timothy Olawale, however reasoned that the minister might not be plying the same roads as other Nigerians.

He made reference to the Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomoso road, saying that it was a very good example of the terrible situation of Nigerian roads. “The huge craters along the Oyo-Ogbomoso road can swallow vehicles. These are roads that were manageable before but they have gone completely bad. People spend hours on that expressway because of tankers that fall into the craters. The sad thing is that the government is not doing any kind of palliative work on the roads.”

On his part, the Ogun State Chambers of Commerce, Industry Mines and Agriculture,  disagreed with the minister. The Chambers, which  spoke through its first state  Deputy President, Wasiu Olaleye, said Nigerian roads were “nothing to write home about.”

He advised the minister to travel on some roads in Ogun State and beyond, adding that it was difficult to cite any good road in the country.

The Chairman, Infrastructure Development Committee, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Ibrahim Usman also said contrary to what the minister said, Nigerian roads were very bad.

He said, “I think the minister is being economical with the truth. The roads are terrible. Take for instance the Biu to Gombe road that took one-and-a-half hours in the past to ply, now it takes four hours to get from Biu to Gombe. The luck we have is that Boko Haram has not stuck on that road.

Now, reacting to Fashola’s assessment, citizens have taken to twitter to challenge the minister to a #FasholaTakeTheRoadChallenge after a Twitter user, @henryshield challenged the minister to take a road trip around the country.

@henryshield tweeted, “I volunteer to take @tundefashola on a road trip throughout Nigeria with cameramen & all the media coverage needed. Bill on me Honorable Minister Sir…Let’s show Nigerians what an honorable man you are by saying Nigerian roads aren’t as bad as people make them out to be. Deal?”

See reactions below….

Yetunde Adegoke

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