By SUNDAY ABBA, Abuja
Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has said that if there is anything he regretted as he leaves office in a matter of days, it is those few things he has the responsibility to achieve but could not due to circumstances beyond his control.
Fashola who revealed this while fielding questions from newsmen during his media presentation of 8 years stewardship in his office on Monday in Abuja said he and his team worked so hard round the clock to ensure that all projects embarked upon were completed, but for some external challenges such as late release of funds.
During the briefing tagged: “Media Presentation on Tour of Duty as Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria: A Time and Economic Resource Report (2015-2023)”, Fashola noted that he had been able to achieve the mandate of developing infrastructure to a very large extent during his 8-year ministerial stewardship in the ministry as most of the critical projects are either already completed, being completed, or have reached advanced stages of completion.
According to him, the Buhari administration inherited with a resolve to complete a lot of critical projects which, though needed rehabilitation, reconstruction, and expansion as the case may be, but were abandoned by past governments as if they had defied all solutions, and that commitment has been realised in the key projects completed or being completed such as the Second Niger Bridge, Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, Bodo- Bonny Bridge, the Abuja- Kaduna-Kano Highway among others.
He said his giant strides in the ministry were made possible by the team work ideals inculcated in the staff of the ministry and highly influenced by the progressive ideologies of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He expressed happiness that the promise by the Buhari administration to lift 100 million people out of poverty was becoming a reality, adding that so far, from all the projects carried out, the ministry had been able to generate about 412,991,000 jobs in the works and housing sector.
He said as at the time he assumed office in 2015, he meet a budget of 18 billion for road projects in the whole country, but that was increased by the President to N224 billion in the first year of his administration, followed by subsequent upward reviews.
He also revealed that over 6,000 Certificates of Ownership, Cs-of-O, were issued, adding that a total of 826 programmes and projects were carried-out in the power sector when that ministry was together with Works and Housing.
He added that in 2019 -2022, about 9,290 kilometres of roads were constructed, and about 2,270,319 linear metres of lane were marked, including about 254,690 installed road signs.
Among other things, on housing, Fashola said about 2,870 housing units have been successfully delivered in the 35 states and Federal Capital Territory, FCT, while housing projects that had been undertaken but are yet to be completed are 6,068.
“The other thing is that we’re dealing with challenges, one of which, of course, those who like numbers, and those who like hyperbole will say ‘Oh, yes, thousands and Millions of Nigerians are living in multidimensional poverty.
“They fail to see actions at local, state and federal government levels that are targeted at resolving these issues. I will speak to some of those issues and I will ask you to test and see whether or not this responds to multidimensional poverty,” he said.