Onitsha Ports: From Yaradu’a to Jonathan to Buhari By Caleb Onyeabor

Newsie Events:- #Opinion
News of the functioning of the Onitsha River Port was greeted with wild jubilation. This is coming after over 30 years of the incapacitation of a port that is pivotal to the economic development of the southeast region and Nigeria as a whole.
The journey of the Onitsha Port did not start today. Like every Nigerian government major project, it has been subjected to years of neglect and the Hydra-headed problem of government bureaucracy and negative politics.
The Onitsha Port was built by the Shehu Shagari government in 1983. It wasn’t allowed to operate and hence, was abandoned.
It took 26 long years before the government of Yaradu’a decided to award a contract for the rehabilitation and renovation of the Onitsha port.
Three years after, in 2012, the Jonathan Government commissioned a renovated and rehabilitated Onitsha Port and claimed to be on its way to concession the ports when it lost the 2015 elections.
It took the Buhari government another 5 years to concession this port and make it functional.
It is however worrisome that it took 26 long years for the Nigerian government to recognize the importance of the Onitsha Ports to the Nigerian economy by awarding a contract for its rehabilitation and renovation. After its rehabilitation and renovation in 2012, it took another 8 years to concession the ports and make it functional.
From the period when the contract to rehabilitate the port was awarded in 2009 to the period when the ports became functional in 2020, 9 years were spent.
Although government is a continuum, the sluggishness and lack of efficiency in delivering developmental projects in Nigeria should be a national concern.
Efficiency is a very important factor in executing development projects. If the Onitsha treatment is meted out to the Baro Port, a port that the Jonathan Government commenced work on, it will take the next two successive administrations before this port will become functional.
Nigeria can’t expect to fulfill her development ambitions if the government doesn’t eliminate bottlenecks and obstacles that prolong the completion of key development projects, vision2050 will end up like 2020 and Nigerians will have to look forward to 2100.
Caleb Onyeabor writes from Enugu and can be reached on WhatsApp via +2347032829241
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