Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has criticised former Lagos State governor Akinwunmi Ambode for abandoning the Lagos light rail project while he was the governor of the state between 2015 and 2019.
“We borrowed to build a light rail in Lagos, embarked on the project and a succeeding governor abandoned the project for his full term of four years at 65 per cent completion when he should have started paying down on the loan,” Obasanjo said on Friday in Lagos as a keynote speaker at the “Why I am Alive” campaign.
Obasanjo also criticised Ambode of prioritising the construction of Oshodi bus interchange. The terminus was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari days before Ambode left office even though the project was not completed.
The formal construction of the rail lines began under Babatunde Raji Fashola, who is now Nigeria’s works and housing minister. He was succeeded by Ambode, who Obasanjo said abandoned the rail project that was almost completed.
The initial $135m proposal was part of the greater Lagos Urban Transportation Project, which was to be implemented by the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).
But a decade after, the Lagos rail project, despite its benefits to Nigeria is yet to materialise. Lagos State government said in August 2018 that the Mile 2-Marina section of the project will be operational in 2022.
“This light rail is important for the whole of Nigeria not only with respect for man-hours of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that would have continued to be saved but because such loans are federally guaranteed,” Obasanjo added.