By Eric Elezuo
The Minister of Transport, Rt Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, has announced that the Agbor end of the Nigeria Railway line will be named after the immediate past president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Amaechi made the disclosure while appearing as a guest on Dele Momodu’s Instagram Live interview aired on various social media platforms during the week. The minister, who has been known to use any available opportunity to taunt and deride the past Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administrations, especially the immediate past administration led by his kinsman, Jonathan, surprisingly eulogised the immediate past government on railway construction. He was answering Momodu’s question on what it takes to be the Minister of Transport.
While acknowledging that his reasons were noble, Amaechi noted that President Muhammadu Buhari had given every officer a mandate to attend to all ongoing projects when his administration came on board.
Hear him: “Well, you know that transportation is the key the economy needs to be propelled. The agencies under me that I look after are NIMASA, the Nigeria shipping council, we have NPA, we have Nigeria Inland Waste Authority, we have Nigeria Institute of Transport Technology, there are three or four agencies there.
“We also have one of the seaports at Warri, and don’t forget we have completed the rail line from Warri to Ibadan. In fact, when I went for the burial of my CSO, I used the train from Agbor to Ibadan, and from Ibadan, I went to Abuja. The railline was started by President Jonathan and that is why we are naming the Agbor station after President Goodluck Jonathan.”
The minister also paid glowing tributes to his deputy, Mrs Gbemisola Saraki, describing her as “a wonderful minister of state for transportation though most people don’t look at what she is doing but at her beauty. She is such a brilliant young lady.”
Below is more excerpts from the interaction:
I’m happy tonight because you have acknowledged the roles played by President Goodluck Jonathan and their projects because most governments don’t acknowledge the projects done by their predecessors
When we came on board, President Buhari told us that nobody should abandon any project, that we should go back to our ministries and identify projects that are near completion then apply for money to complete them, and move ahead.
Wao! You are combining the work of Information with Transportation
They are realities! The University (of Transportation) construction should have started if not for the COVID-19 pandemic. And as for the factory, construction work has already started, for Lagos to Ibadan, it’s almost completed because we’ve completed for Ebute-Metta to Ibadan, it only remains Apapa to Ebute-meta. Does the railway from Abuja to Kaduna engage? The answer is yes, does the railway from Itakpe to Aladja heading towards Warri exist, the answer is yes. So, the only challenge we have now is to get the president to come and commission them. But the president is just a simple person; he would say “Amaechi, just go and work, when we leave office, history will judge us”.
Now some of our people are asking if all these projects you are dishing out are surely viable economically. Are they?
You must know that the railways are not viable commercially on its own, that is in isolation. They support the economy. Take for instance, there was a time the price of tomatoes was very high in Lagos, the then Minister of Agriculture approached me so they can transport tomatoes from Kano to Lagos and once we transported tomatoes from Kano to Lagos the price of tomatoes in Lagos crashed, and that if you ask me is about supporting our economy.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan held sway between May 2010, when his principal, Umar Musa Yar’dua, died in office, and May 2015 when he lost the election to the incumbent President, Buhari.