Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has accused the Peoples Democratic Party of abandoning the Abuja light rail project.
Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Abuja light rail project last week with the opposition PDP accusing the president of taking credit for the project .
Speaking during the presidential quarterly business Forumon Monday in the State House, Osinbajo said the government had promised to complete all ongoing abandoned projects.
According to him, the accusations of the PDP hold no water saying the administration is taking infrastructure project very seriously .
He said “For Mr. President getting the infrastructure done is a passion for him and one instruction he has given about infrastructure is that we must complete all of the projects that are important and that have been abandoned.
“He said we must complete before we start anything new, so not only are we investing more in infrastructure in the history of this country, the largest amount of money are being invested in infrastructure today but we are also ensuring that we complete the projects.
“Look at the Kaduna to the Abuja road, the railway, it started many many years but we concluded it when we came it.
“Abuja light rail started in 2007, it was stalled in 2010, the whole point of the abuja light rail was to meet the commonwealth games in 2014, that was why it was started but it was abandoned, we just completed it in 2018. Although our opponents criticize us, they say we are shameless for even completing the project.
I mean sometimes I find it very difficult to understand where people are coming from. We are really committed in making sure that infrastructure project are taken very seriously and they are completed. Look at the Mambilla project it’s 40 years old.
The vice president also disclosed that the government is still engaging stakeholders before signing the African Continental free trade agreement ( AcFTA).
The president had last week told the visiting South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa that he will soon append his signature to the document .
Expressing reservations over the agreement, Osinbajo stressed the need to get the best possible terms for Nigerian trade and commerce.
According to him “Our experiences with dumping and other injurious practices makes it obvious to us that our market could be a real target, our local manufacturing could become unprofitable, our agricultural advantage could be reverse.
“Consequently, we have embarked on an extensive consultations with trade groups, manufacturers and organized labour in all the six geo-political zones in other to get a clear sense of concerns as we navigate the process of signing the treaty.
“I think the general resolve favours engagement but the concerns remains around improving the domestic environment for greater competitiveness, concerns of power supply and investment in infrastructure.
“I don’t think I will make a more eloquent case than the honorable minister of power, works and housing has just made.
Continuing, he added that “I have noted the various studies that MAN will like to see done, I think those background checks are important as to what works and what doesn’t work and what is going on with the industry and all that. I think those concerns are very crucial and I think many of them are being done already.
“But at the same time we must be careful not to give the impression that these are minimum pre-conditions for engagement with the process because the question of cause has been asked when will we be ready?
What is the opportunity cost of not engaging now? I think these are some of the concerns that we must fixed. The only way to go is that we must fix the gap, we must keep the engine running, there is no time for us to say let’s wait, take down the entire time just to prepare.
“I think this is the time to ahead and do something about it while we are taking into accounts all the issues that have been raised and making sure that we are negotiating well.
He said for the first time Nigeria is actually engaged and the government is leading the engagement noting that this is something that has never happened in the past.
He contended “In the past we found treaties that were negotiated nobody knew who negotiated them, nobody knew how they were done, nobody knew what was going on.
“I have been involved many years ago as attorney general in the federal ministry of justice, one of the critical things because we then gathered all our treaties reports from 1990, I actually edited 10 volumes.
“And I think we have a big advantage in having our own negotiators taking the charge here. If we are the ones negotiating the terms are better for us than for us to seat back and watch other people do the negotiations that we may end up signing.