Former Lagos State Governor and President-elect, Bola Tinubu, has refused a request from Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, for a refund for the construction of some federal roads in the state.
This came during a road project commissioning that took place on May 3rd, 2023, where Governor Wike asked that Tinubu refund the money used to construct the road to the Rivers state government, as the road projects are the responsibility of the Federal Government.
Governor Wike has embarked on many road projects in his state, which he believes should have been done by the Federal Government. He said that since the state has done the work, the Federal Government should say, “Look, you have done well for us. These are projects we should be doing, can you bring your bill, let us refund you the money you have done these roads.” Wike believes that if Tinubu agrees to refund the money, other states will have the courage to do the same thing.
However, Tinubu responded by saying that he owes the state nothing and that what the government can only do is to lobby him to collect the money back. “The 12th flyover and the demand you made for refund, I owe you nothing. It is your road. You can’t chuckle at me and make a demand. You are the one living on this road. I commend your effort. You have to lobby me to collect it,” he said.
This exchange between the two politicians highlights the ongoing debate about the responsibilities of the Federal and State governments when it comes to infrastructure development in Nigeria. Governor Wike believes that the Federal Government should be responsible for the construction and maintenance of federal roads in the state, while Tinubu’s response suggests that the state government should take on this responsibility and seek reimbursement from the Federal Government.
The issue of infrastructure development in Nigeria has been a long-standing problem. The country has a huge infrastructure deficit, particularly in the area of road networks. Poor infrastructure has been identified as one of the major obstacles to economic growth and development in the country. Despite this, the government has been slow to take action, and many Nigerians are left to suffer the consequences of poor roads, inadequate power supply, and other infrastructure challenges.
The Federal Government has a responsibility to ensure that infrastructure development is spread evenly across the country. However, there are limitations to what the government can do, particularly in a country as large as Nigeria. This is why it is important for state governments to also take the initiative and invest in infrastructure development.
There is a need for a partnership between the Federal and State governments in the development of infrastructure. While the Federal Government has a primary responsibility for the provision of infrastructure, the State governments also have a role to play. State governments can invest in infrastructure development in their states and seek reimbursement from the Federal Government.
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