President Muhammadu Buhari has never hidden his intention to see that his government gets it right in the area of modernized railway system in the country. In all the railway lines and stations earmarked for construction, provisions have been adequately made to ensure that a modernized railway system adopted by the Federal Ministry of Transport is adequately provided with power systems along the railway lines and other railway stations.
However, as a stakeholder and keen follower of trends within the railway industry it appears some vested interests within the Ministry of Transport are bent on frustrating the resolve of the president to see that key components within the framework of power construction and provision of relevant facilities along some rail lines are not achieved.
One clear case according to my checks is the obvious underhand of some power blocks within the Ministry of Transport to shortchange the federal government in getting the best provision of relevant facilities along the Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri railway stations buildings. This is because the federal government’s mandate on the Procurement Act and Process is about to be rubbished by this ‘powerful’ interests in the ministry of transport. Are we going to experience a repeat of the cancellation of last year 2016/2017 process where due to a faulty procurement process this very LOT 1A was cancelled? It is already in public domain that some contractors who bided for this LOT 1A along the Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri railway station buildings that commenced January 2018 as published in the Tenders Journal of August 21 – Sunday September 3, 2017 in line with Federal Ministry of Transport’s call for submission of Tender by contractors are being kept in the dark for ulterior motives.
But given the stance of this administration on forthrightness, Nigerians are waiting for the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), to see the outcome of the Procurement process of the above mentioned project because vicious hawks within the ministry have concluded plans to frustrate the completion of the procurement process.
One then wonders how realistic the August 2018 date set for the completion/ commissioning of the Itakpe – Ajaokuta – Warri railway projects will be achieved given the new twist that the other components are near completion with the exception of the power components. A visit to these sites indicate that the railway line, railway stations buildings are almost completed but as sensitive as the power components, the process of awarding the contract is yet to be completed.
For me it will be a great disservice to this nation should this project be allowed to be frustrated by sinister and selfish interests within the Ministry of Transport.
Kadiri Usman, Lokoja