It was a debate of facts and figures on Friday as the Special Assistant to the President on Digital/New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi engaged former Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka on micro-blogging social medium, Twitter.
Chidoka, in a bid to take a swipe at the Muhammadu Buhari administration tagged Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, and tweeted, seeking to know the number of projects that has been started and completed by the Buhari administration.
Name any Rail, Roads, Airports, Hospital that this government initiated https://t.co/znLx70iPLy
— Osita Chidoka (@osita_chidoka) October 12, 2018
Swiftly, Ogunlesi jumped in the defence of his principal and took Chidoka on a journey of details. He reminded the former Minister of the number of projects that were not completed by the Jonathan administration, questioning the logicality of beginning new projects when there are many unfinished.
“I assumed we already dealt with this. Nigerians know that is not who starteth what that counteth, it is who finisheth. Anyone can start. Over the last few months I’ve tweeted about dozens of projects Buhari Admin has completed, that were started LONG before 2015. See next tweet.”
Mr Ogunlesi then posed a question at Chidoka.
“I invite anyone who would like to support my big brother @osita_chidoka as he takes this very short and simple exam. It’s an open book exam so you are allowed to open textbooks and discuss. Your time starts now. $400bn, 16 years. Name just 5 COMPLETED projects in rail, power, roads.”
Chidoka, a former Corp Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Commission revealed that the Goodluck Jonathan administration only reached 30% completion of its projects. He blamed this on the modalities and bureaucracies involving projects.
“This is the list of ROAD PROJECTS started by GEJ and their status at handover date. @toluogunlesi I hope this helps. Will update you across other sectors because I was involved. When you complete projects give credit to initiators as we will also give you credit for completion.”
This is the list of ROAD PROJECTS started by GEJ and their status at handover date. @toluogunlesi
I hope this helps. Will update you across other sectors because I was involved. When you complete projects give credit to initiators as we will also give you credit for completion pic.twitter.com/RbaHIF9Q7
— Osita Chidoka (@osita_chidoka) October 12, 2018
Ogunlesi, having gone through the documents made available by Chidoka aimed a thin-veiled dig at Chidoka, as he questioned the logicality of his criticisms of the Buhari administration, if the administration he served didn’t do well in that regards too.
”I’m honestly puzzled that with the hundreds of 2%-completion 14%-completion projects left behind by PDP (and acknowledged by @osita_chidoka), anyone would have the guts to attack PMB on the basis of ‘what have you started?’ It’s hard to make sense of.”
The University of Ibadan graduate of Pharmacy dipped into his previous tweets to further ask Chidoka of some projects during the GEJ administration that haven’t seen the light of the day, yet gulped huge funds.
Mr Chidoka then tried to justify why the projects were never completed. “It takes about 1 to 2 years to bring an infrastructure project to FEC. Initial Project design 6-12 mths Procurement of consultant 6 mths Full design and costing 6-9 mths Procurement of contractor 3-6 mths Any awarded project is 30% done. 1st term is for project initiation.”
For this, Mr Ogunlesi replied, “1st Term is for Project Initiation.” But until I challenged you you were harassing PMB that what has he started and completed. Buhari has decided that he will use his first term to complete projects instead of unnecessarily expanding the list of uncompleted stuff.
“I hope people extend these same yardsticks to PMB. Agreed, Infrastructure work in Nigeria can be a nightmare. Below doesn’t even include the scenario in which communities tell you the land for a road or power plant is ancestral land and they cannot move a shrine. It’s crazy.”
.@osita_chidoka: I tweeted this a few months ago. It’s a fairly long thread, so will require u to spend some time going through it https://t.co/wQQAByyk0j
“When ur(sic) done,let me know if you disagree. And if you think starting a new project is more important than finishing old ones.”
Some of the old tweets released by Ogunlesi to further clarify his point to Chidoka were;
Mr Kọ́lá,the PDP Admin left behind HUNDREDS of abandoned projects, that the Buhari Administration has been painstakingly completing, one by one. Only an IRRESPONSIBLE Govt would set aside important ABANDONED projects to instead be chasing the cheap glory of ‘We started our own!’ https://t.co/s34N1nBlFo
BRF said @FMPWH inherited >200 Abandoned/uncompleted road projects: https://t.co/3kD6cg8bUF
Min of @FMWRNigeria said they inherited 117 unfinished projects https://t.co/9xF9JwyUGQ
TCN inherited 450 containers of power equipment abandoned at the Ports: https://t.co/gfMXSEtILp
Construction work has since started on a new Standard-Gauge Rail line between Lagos and Ibadan. VP @ProfOsinbajo flagged off the project in 2017. The line has a connection to the Lagos Ports Complex. These photos are from March 2018. Est Completion, Q1 2019 Cc. @officialKolaO https://t.co/hwUHL5Kvvj
Mr @officialKolaO, this is the outcome of the Audit carried out by @MNDA_Ng, on Niger Delta projects started between 2009 and 2015: 60% payment but only 12% completion.
Yet you expected @MBuhari Admin to put all that aside and irresponsibly start new projects? Wehdon Sir. https://t.co/DR6npSQlJA
When I say the 2019 elections will be a contest of Records, this is what I mean. In the tweet below is one Record. Read it for yourself and come to your own conclusions.
2016: No water project completed in past 15 years, says minister https://t.co/mU1GMiOBpb
2016: Central Ogbia Water Project completed https://t.co/z4HDxyWhPA
2017: 40MW Kashimbila Hydropower Plant completed https://t.co/h2iP3aXH8G
Chidoka replied in an attempt to further explain the reason why projects met 30% completion during the GEJ era.
‘It takes about 1 to 2 years to bring an infrastructure project to FEC.
Initial Project design 6-12 mths
Procurement of consultant 6 mths
Full design and costing 6-9 mths
Procurement of contractor 3-6 mths
Any awarded project is 30% done. 1st term is for project initiation https://t.co/9SFYbKoaVL
13. Federal University Dutsinma, Katsina
14. Umaru Yar’Adua University Katsina
15. Federal University Dutse
16. Federal Polytechnic Kazaure, Jigawa
17. NorthWest University Kano
18. Kano University of Science and Tech, Wudil, Kano
19. Federal University Kebbi https://t.co/ZbpxaNjfsu
In conclusion, Ogunlesi taunted the university projects mentioned by the former minister and tweeted;
All these Universities that you’re listing as INFRASTRUCTURE projects, hmmm. It’s not like you built brand new structures top to bottom o. In a good number of cases these Unis started on temporary campuses, & not all have moved to permanent sites.