Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Rain Oil Limited, Engr. Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie on Wednesday gave a critical examination of the Nigeria infrastructure and.concluded that Nigeria needed to go back to the basics as the nation stopped growing after 1980.
Engr. Ogbechie, a widely traveled Nigerian oil magnate, said all existing critical infrastructure in Nigeria were those built in the 60s, 70s and 80s, adding that Nigerian government needed to overhaul the system for it to work again.
The Rain Oil CEO touched on all the major infrastructure in the country, including aviation sector, road sector, seaport, refineries, and many others, insisting that almost every infrastructure in the nation has decayed and needed to be upgraded for better and optimum performance.
Dr. Ogbechie spoke in Asaba during the 2020 annual lecture and award night organised by the Asaba branch of the University of Benin Alumni Association.
The Uniben Engineering graduate who said he was very good at Mathematics and had A1 in the subject, spoke on the theme “Emerging Trends in Africa Development: The Nigeria Experience.”
He said there are a total of about 1.35billion people in Africa with Nigeria being the most populous country on the continent. He said by 2050, following the rise in Nigeria population, the country would be the third most populous country in the world.
He said trade within the Africa continent was a difficult one arising from the poor connectivity of the 54 countries in the continent.
On the Nigeria nation, he felt pained that the country has continuously slipped into recession, saying if the leaders of the nation have done the right thing, the country would not slip into recession.
He said that Nigerian roads have been one of the biggest perennial problems in the nation, adding that roads being used in Nigeria today were built in the 60s and 70s. He said the Niger bridge was built in 1964 but was destroyed during the civil war and rebuilt in the 70s.
Dr.Ogbechie said no.nation could grow without investing in critical infrastructure. He said with the regular traffic jam on the Niger bridge, about N75million is wasted daily on the bridge.
He said Nigeria is only producing for consumption and no investment in infrastructural development, hence he said these decaying infrastructure needed to be torn away and revamped.
He said for the aviation sector, not less than N1.2trillion is needed to turn around the nation’s aviation industry. He called on Nigerian government to go back and fix the Nigerian airports for optimum service delivery.
He looked at the seaports and said the existing seaports today were built in 1913 and the newest seaport was built in 1997. He also said that Nigeria railway lines were built in 1964 and there has been no remarkable addition since then.
He said Nigeria is the only country where you see a problem and after 30 years people are still talking about it, it has not been solved. He condemned the statement of a Nigerian minister who said Nigeria needed N100billion yearly to solve the nation’s problem within the next 30 years.
He said the only way forward in tackling Nigeria’s problem is bringing in the private sector who will build, maintain and recoup their money within a period of years