20th July, 2010
President Goodluck Jonathan has directed the countryâ€™s Ministry of Works to immediately commence the repairs of various dilapidated roads across the country.
These include the Lagos-Benin, Abuja-Kaduna, Onitsha-Enugwu and Yola-Maiduguri roads.
The roads, especially the one which links Lagos and Benin, had been a source of worry to most Nigerians travelling through them.
The President, who posted the direction among several comments on his page in Facebook, a social networking site, said he had heard several complaints by Nigerians on the state of the roads â€œparticularly the Lagos-Benin, Abuja-Kaduna, Onitsha-Enugu and Yola-Maiduguri roads.
â€œIâ€™ve directed the Minister of Works to speed up repair works and report progress to me. I will not be satisfied with rhetorics and I will travel on Federal roads myself to see that progress has been made.â€
President Jonathan lamented the loss of lives and man hours on the roads, adding that â€œis just unacceptable and there must be progress. Under my leadership governmental activity must lead to practical results for the people not just on paper.â€
He tasked Nigerians to monitor his action and those of the ministers and the policies of the government and express their criticism where they have not been satisfied.
While stressing that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, the President declared that, â€œin a democracy, it is not really about you working for the government it is about the government working for you. So, keep a vigilant eye on us.
â€œBe interested in my actions and those of the Vice President and the entire cabinet. Take time to know your legislators and request them to work for you.
â€œWe must also keep abreast with the forward-march of our judiciary. And where you notice anything that is not in our national interest, your voice of reason must rise in response towards correction.
â€œWe must move from being onlookers to stakeholders in the affairs of our motherland.â€
He also praised the Lagos State Government for ensuring effective tree planting programme as a way to beat desertification in the state.
He tasked the governors in the northern part of the country and the ministries of agriculture and water resources to follow the example of the Governor of Lagos State, Raji Fashola, and face the challenges posed by desertification, especially in the Northern part of the country.
â€œNigeria, before oil and gas, was dependent on agriculture: Cotton, groundnuts etc in the North; palm oil, coal etc in the East and Cocoa and Timber etc in the West. Most of our food was grown locally.
â€œThus I understand the threat of desertification within the context of our overall national livelihood security. If the desert is allowed to continue its advance, we and the generation to come will be in trouble.
â€œFood crops hardly grow on desert except the land is irrigated. The environment is something that I have spent time on long before I expressed interest in partisan politics.
â€œThe Israelis turned a desert into an oasis, and locally, Lagos State with the cooperation of Federal agencies has been able to halt the erosion from the Atlantic ocean particularly around the Bar Beach area.â€
President Jonathan also commended the Akwa-Ibom State Governor, Goodswill Akpabio, for the execution of the Akwa-Ibom International Airport and the Book Project aimed at boosting the free and compulsory education programme of the State.
Jonathan, who said he just returned from the state, described the projects as sources of employment and income generation to the state.