Infrastructure Decay: Necessity of rethinking project execution system


Decay of infrastructure in Nigeria remains  one of the force pulling the Country downwards; farther from the push of upward development. The erosion of key infrastructures for energy, power, communication, water and transportation system, among several key social amenities is most lamentable with the thought of the state of affairs of the nation in present time. The emphasis on the condition of transportation infrastructures, particularly as it borders on road and rail calls for deep sigh, when giving consideration to the sour nature of these infrastructures in the Country. A critical analysis of the impacts this bear on the Country’s economy will by and large raise the doubt as to whether the Country is really set for any growth.

While rail transportation which has been  abandoned over the years is beginning to attract some attention from the government, it is lamentable that the level of the attention given to setting rail transportation on the track, is largely incommensurate to the necessity that the present situation demands. The efforts and inputs towards the direction is largely still at the precipice compared to what obtains in the developed world. It is more to state that the infrastructures are mainly at the embryo stage with crawling growth.

The state of road infrastructures across the Country still speaks to a level of deepening underdevelopment. It is saddening that beyond the local level, the deplorable state of several Federal roads across the Country, is a height of insensitivity on the part of the Government. The decay of public infrastructures owing to the tradition of gross lacuna in maintenance culture and the corruption prone irrationality which gives room for  substandard constructions, remains an obnoxious norm of several years which has continued to sow the seed of set back in the quest for growth. The execution of projects which over the years has been ridden with corruption on the flow chart that begins from public officials to contractors who are at their mercy, has been a bane frustrating development directly and indirectly.

The Federal Government promising completion of ongoing iconic road infrastructure across the country, had on Wednesday said that over 700 road projects were currently ongoing across all geopolitical zones in Nigeria, which include intervention projects in higher institutions of learning. The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Ernest Umakhihe, who said this at the 26th National Council on Works in Port Harcourt, Rivers State,  was quoted in a statement issued by the Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, Boade Akinola, as saying, “The Federal Government is committed to completing some iconic projects such as the second Niger Bridge, Bodo-Bonny Road, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano Expressway and Obajana-Kabba Road in Kogi State. In the same vein, government is also committed to completing the Sukuk bond financed road projects across the six geopolitical zones of the country and maintain scheduled maintenance of 5,000km of roads annually.”

It is crucial that beyond lip service, efforts should be garnered towards actualising these promises of infrastructure in accordance to best possible standards across the Country. Therefore, it is high time the Government, beginning from the Federal authority, reconstitute its project execution plans from the stage of conception to the final completion stage. The existing corruption ridden modus operandi bewildered with inconsistencies which have always been giving room for substandard projects that cannot stand the test of time, is not in any way healthy for the Country. The existing patterns if left unaddressed, will only continue to frustrate development efforts over non-durability owing to substandard constructions. The quickening erosion of road infrastructures within short period of time and the award of funds for reconstruction within short period of time, remains a critical drain of national resources which would have been channeled for other essential courses. A persistence of the prevailing corruption driven process is inimical to any vision of appreciable growth and development, and thus, unhealthy for the economy with the attendant socio-political effects on the entire Federation.

The time has come for the Federal Government to take a lead in the necessity to overhaul the processes of project execution. A new system that sustains the lifespan of work projects from the conception to the aftermath of completion, must be surfaced to govern a new pattern to revitalizing infrastructures in the Country. Such system is to be fortified with the test of standards and maintenance of infrastructures, before, during and after constructions. The system should frown to an enclosed pattern which permits corruption. Fixing infrastructure in the Country is key. The significance of this to the quest of changing the narrative of the wobbling economy in the Country cannot be over-emphasized. The connecting nexus remains sacrosanct and it is in this light, most essential, for the Government to take a rethink on the working systems that guides project execution in the Country, particularly those bordering on works.