Fashola: Zoning Agreement on Elective Offices Should Be Honoured

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Babatunde Raji Fashola

 Says FG requires N1.5tn over three years to fix roads

By Adedayo Akinwale

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has said although the issue of zoning was more of gentlemen’s agreements, political parties who entered into such agreements showl honour them.

Fashola has also said the federal government would require a minimum of N500 billion annually over the next three years, to develop its 35,000 kilometres of network of roads.

Fashola stated these yesterday in Abuja, while addressing journalists covering the activities of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The minister said, “First let’s talk about law, let’s talk about agreement, the law is the Constitution. The Constitution decides the age at which you can contest certain offices and there is nothing in the Constitution that says zoning. All are political parties, political parties are clubs where you write agreements just like a social club and we can decide that it is the youngest person who will be the Chairman of the Club or we can decide that it is the oldest person or the next female or the next male, that is the matter of agreement between people.

“But the Constitution that sets up the climate of political parties’ formation does not prescribe zoning. The truth is that what makes an agreement specification is the honour in which it is made, not whether it is written. If it was written there would be no Court cases of breach of contract because it’s a document that is written and signed that goes to court.

“But the private agreement you make with your brother and sister can be breached, (it) is honour.”

He explained that the best politics was one that would enhance good governance and impact positively on the lives of most, especially the vulnerable in society.

The APC chieftain said, “I belong to a party, APC and it is committed to good governance because I think the best politics is good governance. The beauty of it for me, is the opportunity it gives to impact people’s lives. We have elections only once in four years but we have the responsibility to provide good governance every day and that’s the culture.”

Meanwhile, Fashola has also said the federal government would require a minimum of N500 billion annually over the next three years, to develop its 35,000 kilometres of network of roads.

He said work is currently ongoing on only 13, 000 kilometres of the country’s federal roads.

Fashola told journalists in Abuja yesterday that if successive administrations had shown the kind of commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration was showing towards the development of the road infrastructure, most Nigerian roads would have been the better for it.

Fashola said, “I think that a minimum of half a trillion every year over the next two, three years will be a strong support to really advance and complete as many as the 711 contracts.

“Again, people are mistaken what I said about 711 contracts to mean roads. No. For example, from Lagos to Ibadan expressway we have one road but two contracts, one with JD, one with RCC.

“On Benin/Lokoja we have one road but we have five contractors. So, the totality of those contracts are made of 711 different contracts on many roads across the country and the total road network now under construction or rehabilitation is little over 13,000 kilometers in different stages of repairs out of total Federal network of 35,000 kilometers.“

He explained that the administration inherited a number of roads which it resolved to complete as many as possible before the end of its tenure in 2023.

According to him, some of roads being rehabilitated were started in 2007, some in 2006 and others are even older.

But that, “unfortunately for reasons that we can only imagine, at a time that the country was earning more revenues, up to $100 per barrel, the total budget of this country was N4 tr. It is now that the country is earning very less, $40 per barrel that it is budgeting N13 tr.”

Fashola also said it was important for Nigerians to stop the abuse of roads.

He noted that each road has a carrying capacity but that most Nigerian roads were made to carry more weight than they were originally designed for.