After presiding over the regime of darkness in Nigeria for four long years, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, has now turned his attention to the state of roads in the country, stating that “there are no bad roads in Nigeria”.

Fashola, had in 2014, before the current administration came to power, declared that “any serious government will fix the perennial power challenge in the country in six months”.

It was probably on account of that statement, that President Muhammadu Buhari, while constituting his cabinet in 2015, decided to assign Fashola, the all important portfolio of Power, Works and Housing. Many people were overjoyed, and looked forward to Fashola deploying his ingenuity and magic wand to fix Nigeria’s power, works and housing problems.

But that was not to be as the electricity situation in Nigeria, in particular, even worsened under him. For weeks, and even months, many areas of the country would be in darkness, that is, without electricity. This adversely had affected industrial output, as many companies which did not have their own independent power source, easily parked up, or were at very low rate of production.

Nigerians therefore, started to complain and to ask Fashola to rise to the challenge. But rather than do this, he merely told them that he was not “a magician”. “Only a magician can fix Nigeria’s electricity problem”, he said. That was on October 19, 2018, during the inauguration of Ejigbo Electricity Transmission Substation in Lagos. This was three clear years after he assumed the leadership of the power ministry.

Raji Fashola did not stop there. Two months later, on December 12, 2018, at a stakeholders meeting in Abuja, he told Nigerians not to blame the federal government if there was no electricity supply in the country.

“If you don’t have electricity, that is your problem. It is not the federal government’s problem if power supply remains poor across the country. Take the matter to the people who are operating the power sector”, Fashola said.

In other words, Fashola was trying to play on the intelligence of Nigerians by wash his hands off his responsibility as Minister in charge of electricity. Thus, instead of accepting that the power situation in the country had overwhelmed him, he decided to shift the blame to some other people.

He also forgot about his earlier statement that “any serious government will fix the perennial power challenge in the country in six months”, and that he had been in charge of the power sector for three years, but woefully failed to deliver.

Because Babatunde Fashola had failed to make impact in any of the three portfolios assigned to him since 2015, that is, power, works and housing, President Buhari in his second coming in 2019, decided to strip electricity out of his portfolio, to let him concentrate and deliver in the two remaining sectors – works and housing.

But Fashola would still not deliver, and he would also not keep his mouth shut. He continued to leave his mouth wide open, by stating that Nigerian roads were not bad.

Speaking to newsmen at the end of the Federal Executive Council meeting in Abuja on Wednesday, Fashola categorically stated that: “The roads are not as bad as they are often portrayed. I know that this is going to be your headline, but the roads are not that bad”.

This statement, no doubt, had rankled many Nigerians who began to wonder whether Babatunde Fashola had a malaria, or suffering from the diarrhea of the mouth, or was living in the world of fantasy, not in the real world here in Nigeria, or whether he deliberately wanted to insult the sensibility of Nigerians.

How can any sane person today honestly say that Nigerian roads were not bad? That’s how they have been deceiving our President, so that they would continue to hang on to power. Has Fashola plied any of these roads? Of course, he has been going by air, by aeroplane and helicopter, to wherever he wanted. If he had been travelling with us on road, he wouldn’t have, in all honesty, opened his mouth so carelessly, to say that Nigerian roads were not bad.

From which ever part of the country you go, it would be difficult to agree with Fashola in anyway that Nigerian roads were not bad. Let us excuse the South South zone because of its topography, as he did, what of the roads in the other zones – the South East zone, in particular, not to talk of the roads in the South West, the North Central, etc? They are no go areas.

Fashola needs to go round the country with us, to see for himself how terrible the roads are. Vehicles stuck on the roads for several days, and one could spend endless hours in one spot without moving an inch, due to the poor state of the roads. Goods perish on the roads, because they could not reach their destinations on time. And because of the terrible state of these roads, motorists hike their fares, and the end result would be high price of goods and services. That’s how Nigerians have been suffering.

Please, let anybody who knows Babatunde Raji Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, advise him to put in more action, than talking. We have had enough of his gaffe. We now want him to bend down and do his work.

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