President Buhari’s visit to Lekki today highlights what is still possible from a Nigeria with good leaders. Lagos State will breathe life and hope to Nigerians today from Lekki. A detailed following of the places President Buhari will visit on his tour of Lekki will also reveal why some Nigerians like me, unusual critics of President Buhari, still hail him when necessary, and will still score his tenure a 60%, compared to his predecessors.
By the way and for the records, let it be known that with the possible exception of only the Lekki Export Processing Zone, the unbelievably vast Dangote Industrial Complex in Lekki, six times the size of Victoria Island and almost as big as the size of the old Lagos at Nigeria’s independence, along with the Deep Sea Port, just like virtually all other projects in Lekki today, received no dime of federal government funding.
Today’s Lekki, just like the Eko Atlantic City, is the product of an enabling environment provided by a vision-inspired Lagos State government. The projects are all private sector-driven projects. In contrast, the NPN-led Federal government spent the equivalent of today’s $10 billion on the federal industrial Complex, Onne in Port Harcourt, alone in the early 1980s.
To create what is being celebrated today in Lekki, all that President Buhari gave, was sincere support and solid govt backing for purposeful public-private sector init lives and that support was more than enough. Alh Dangote and his team, as well as other private sector investors in today’s Lekki, deserve all the commendation for the success of the Projects.
Today in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria, the world’s biggest Urea and Ammonia fertiliser plant is being commissioned by President Buhari. West Africa’s deepest Port is also being toured. Africa’s richest businessman, Alh Aliko Dangote, will also show the President around the world’s largest single-train refinery, now nearing completion. The refinery will process 650,000 barrels of Crude Oil daily. That capacity will produce more than six times Nigeria’s daily hydrocarbon fuel needs.
The Port and all the Dangote Projects and the supporting industries are costing just about $50 billion. The fertiliser plant alone cost almost $3 billion. Incidentally, at full steam, the projects will earn and save Nigeria almost half of its total cost every year. But even the $50 billion cost of the projects, is less than what Nigeria was earning every nine months, some 12 years ago, when the projects would have even cost less to build.
Back then, Nigeria was selling some two million barrels of Crude Oil at more than $120 per day. Nigeria also substantially owed nobody then and needed to pay nobody. We simply wasted all. The $50 billion private sector success being celebrated today, is one resounding proof that those who wasted almost 900 billion dollars of Nigeria’s Oil earnings over a particular 16 year period, did us substantial evil.
It is noteworthy that one of the visioneers of today’s Lekki Industrial axis and the pioneer actualiser of today’s surrounding new Lekki in Lagos is incidentally asking Nigerians to allow him to replicate the same vision across Nigeria. As usual, we reserve the right to reject the best and hand over the country to the worst, just to satisfy our emotions or massage our egos. A Nigerian President once advised that the best man need not win an election in Nigeria and Nigerians supposedly rejected Chief Obafemi Awolowo. While Papa Awolowo has long gone to rest, it is Nigeria that is still in the throes of bad governance because we never had any solid economic development foundation as a nation.
It is true we once had National Development Plans, but they were more or less never followed because their evolution was inorganic, having not truly evolved from a merger of development plans of Nigeria’s foundational regions. The abolition of Nigeria’s founding regions had seen to the virtual death of all the regional development plans and gave us a federal governance system without any real developmental foundation that is truly national.
Today, Nigeria is borrowing from everywhere, including nations we gave loans, way back when we were still developing and the world had great hope in our future and potential as a likely world-leading nation. But Lekki today hints at what is still possible with, and in Nigeria if the nation is led by visioneers and actualisers. It is the citizens that pay the price of trying to cope with sub-par governance, when we fail to vote our dreamers with the best hands too, as our leaders.