Coastal Highway: Tinubu Slams Atiku For ‘Poor Research, Futile Attempt’ To Discredit Lagos-Calabar Project

In a scathing rebuke, the presidency has hit back at former Vice President Atiku Abubakar over his criticism of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal Highway project which the State House described as one of President Bola Tinubu’s signature infrastructure initiatives....READ FULL ARTICLE

Bayo Onanuga, Special Adviser on Information and Strategy to President Tinubu, accused Atiku of making “false allusions” and “ill-thought-out allegations” in a bid to “denigrate and find faults” in the project.

Onanuga refuted Atiku’s claims that the highway project was previously awarded to other companies at varying costs, stating that the contract previously awarded was for a coastal rail project during the Muhammadu Buhari administrations, not the highway project.

“Contrary to the claims in Atiku’s endorsed press statement, at no time did the administrations of former Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan award contracts for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway to any company at any varied and revised amount,” the presidency clarified.

Atiku had through his media aide, Paul Ibe, accused Tinubu of re-awarding the 700km Lagos – Calabar Coastal highway project to Hitech Construction Company Limited without any record of competitive bidding or approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

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The former vice president also alleged that the award was shrouded in secrecy as the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, failed to disclose the contractual amount involved in the project.

But Onanuga also refuted Atiku’s allegations of a non-competitive bidding process and a lack of transparency in the project.

He urged Atiku to act like a statesman and do proper research instead of engaging in “fruitless exercise that does not add any value to nation-building”.

The presidential aide advised the former Vice President and his team to “return to the Library for real facts” rather than rushing to cast aspersions on President Tinubu and his administration.

Part of the statement reads, “Seeking to be a kill-joy, Atiku Abubakar engaged in red-herring by raising ill-thought-out allegations that only exposed his inadequacies and those of his team in getting the basic facts on an issue he badly seeks to nail the government.

“We have decided, however, to respond to Atiku’s misrepresentation of facts in matters of the coastal road if only to set the record straight so that unsuspecting Nigerians are not misled and misinformed. We owe it a sacred duty to ensure Atiku and his handlers do not continue to spread disinformation as they wallow in their politics of hatred.

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“Contrary to the claims in Atiku’s endorsed press statement, at no time did the administrations of former Presidents Muhammadu Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan award contracts for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway to any company at any varied and revised amount.

“So the question of costs comparison does not arise.

“The contract that was awarded was that of Lagos-Calabar Coastal rail. The rail was designed as part of the standard guage national rail network. The contract was awarded on August 4, 2021 by the Federal Executive Council presided over by former Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN at the cost of $11.17billion. The contract was to be completed in six years. The project didn’t take off.

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“The Lagos-Calabar Coastal rail project has always been on the card. It was another testament of the failure of the previous PDP-led government that it could not get it off the ground in 16 years it held sway.

“The Lagos-Calabar Coastal highway and Lagos-Calabar Coastal rail are two distinct projects. It is unfortunate that the former Vice President is confused about the two projects.”

Onanuga added, “Atiku queried the decision to start the Coastal road from Lagos and not Calabar, oblivious of the huge impact such will make on export-import flow around the industrial zones.

“We are at a loss as to what the former VP hopes to achieve with his assertion. Is it not a received wisdom that a thousand miles journey begins with a step? Whether the project begins from Lagos or Calabar, Warri or Sapele, what should gladden the heart of any patriotic Nigerian is that this important project that has been in the pipeline for several decades has finally taken off.”...READ FULL ARTICLE

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