Nigeria was designated as a developing new nation when it gained independence in 1960. However, 62 years later, we are still among the world’s most poor and backward countries. All of our economic, social, political, and human development indices are among the poorest in the world, and our deficits are among the largest.
The discovery of 56,000 abandoned projects in Nigeria verifies the country’s claim of being backward. The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, NIQS, revealed the existence of this vast number of unfinished projects in August 2021, estimating the cost at N12 trillion. In a recent lecture at the University of Ibadan, the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, affirmed this truth.
What is the cause of this heinous anomaly? According to Abba Tor, President of NIQS, most contracts in Nigeria fail owing to inadequate cost estimation. Politicians and even private persons frequently start on projects without consulting experts, and even when they do, they may not strictly adhere to expert recommendations.
The endeavour is halted by the time market reality dawns on the facilitator. Some people continue to cut corners, resulting in failures such as building, bridge, and road collapses.
Corruption lies at the heart of the majority of abandoned public initiatives. The majority of contracts are given to politically exposed, overnight construction businessmen and women who receive mobilisation fees and then leave work. Most contracts are compromised at the outset because the awarding and funding sources take a portion of the project cash and leave very little for the job.
Lack of consistency is also associated to desertion. Contracts granted by previous are often abandoned by new administrations, especially when there is a violent takeover of power. Everyone aspires to pursue his or her own “legacy” projects, which leads to “dynamic fraud.”
Nigeria would have been a lot better place for all inhabitants if the proper things had been done and these 56,000 projects had been finished as part of our development efforts. Everyone’s life would have been better and easier. Instead, the minuscule few who stole public cash associated with these projects are living great at the expense of regular Nigerians.
These capital projects would have had a significant influence on increasing wealth and job development, while the violent crimes wreaking havoc on Nigeria would be small and readily managed.
As a country, we must turn over a fresh leaf. The elections in 2023 must not be business as usual. We must elect leaders who will unite the country to put measures in place to prevent corrupt project abandonment. The legislative, courts, media, civil society, and the general public must unite to oppose corrupt leadership. Government is a continuous process, like a relay race. The passing of the baton must continue until all government initiatives are completed.
We require a new era of accountability for public officials.