The All Progressives Congress, APC, has accused President Goodluck Jonathan of being hypocritical over his persistent claim of reviving the railway.
The opposition party alleged that Jonathan had “in actual fact bluntly refused” to approve the necessary right-of-way to the Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority, LAMATA, for the construction of its red line light rail project from Iddo to Ifo in Ogun State, despite investors’ readiness to invest over $1bn in the project.
It says the facility has a capacity to carry one million passengers per day.
In a statement in Lagos on Saturday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party further alleged that Jonathan described Lagos an “an enemy state” as his basis for withholding approval for the project.
The APC pointed out that the request had been pending since May, 2013.
It said, “President Jonathan is simply being hypocritical when he listed the revival of the railway as part of his administration’s so-called achievements, during the start of his electioneering in Lagos, and during which he also tried to project himself and his party as friends of the South-West in general and Lagos in particular.
“His words and actions since assuming office six years ago do not support that
“He claims to have revived the railway but did not tell Lagosians how he has stopped, in its tracks, the LAMATA Red Line Light Rail Project that would have alleviated the suffering of Lagosians as they commute daily across the densely-populated city, not to talk of the loss of over 30,000 jobs that would have been created by the project.
“There is no stronger indication that President Jonathan holds the South-West in general and Lagos State in particular in contempt than his failure to grant the right-of-way approval for this project, considering its massive benefits that include ease of transportation; the decongestion of the city; the creation of at least 30,000 jobs and the attraction of huge investments that the project, if approved, would have brought to the state.
“What about the new economic activities that would have been generated along and in the vicinity of that corridor of the new rail line if the President had granted the right-of-way approval? If indeed Mr. President is now a convert for economic growth and progress of Nigerians of all tribes who live in Lagos, as he pretended to be during his campaign rally (in Lagos), he should grant the approval today”.
The statement noted that contrary to the image of friendship with the South-West in general and Lagosians in particular, which Mr. President sought to project during his recent campaign rally in Lagos, he had nothing but contempt for the people of the region.
The party said, “During the protests over the fuel price hike in 2012, President Jonathan dismissed those complaining as the sons of rich men in Lagos, who have more than one car. Earlier in 2011, he described the South-West leaders as ‘rascals’, and he has since followed up by ostracising the region in the allocation of government appointments and infrastructural development, just to mention a few instances of his contempt for the region.
“The latter-day construction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is a vote-winning gimmick that has back-fired as the project has only progressed at snail speed apparently for lack of much-needed funds, while Nigerians have continued to die and suffer daily on that road”.
It reminded the President that “no one is deceived by his hypocrisy as far as Lagos and the South-West are concerned”, submitting that Jonathan “has shown in actions and words the disdain, at times bordering on pure hatred, which he harbours towards the people of the region”.