On October 11, 2019, Premium Times conducted an interview with the former president- Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The discourse centred around the 20th year of the return of democracy to Nigeria; as well as prevalent issues around the topic. The significance, Ex-President Jonathan brought to the nation was also topical.
He stated that:
- His regime constructed the Abuja Kaduna railway system and refurbished Lagos to Kano railway line;
- Built twelve universities in states that had no Federal university;
- Built Maritime university at Delta state and Police university at Kano state;
- Established a Presidential special scholarship scheme for innovation and development.
CLAIM 1: His regime constructed the Abuja Kaduna railway system and refurbished Lagos to Kano railway line.
Verification led back to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. In August, 2006, plans to modernize and expand the Nigerian railway system were underway. This strategy was to span a 25-year time frame. The phase of this project was scheduled to be completed in four years.
In 2008, a disagreement between the presidency and the Federal Ministry of transportation, stalled the take-off of the project; having awarded an $8.3 billion contract to CCECC. This was because late ex-president Yar’adua had notable reservations with the contract details.
Then on the 26th of October 26, 2009, the Federal Government signed a new agreement with CCECC for the first phase of the project. The Nigerian Government funded the project with a loan of $500m secured from the Chinese Government.
Who completed the project?
Yet, the minister of transportation in the Buhari-led administration, spoke to the contrary. Rotimi Amaechi asserted that his administration put the finishing touches. Although, he did admit the preceding administration “partially executed” the project.
CLAIM 2: His regime built twelve universities in states that had no Federal university.
The ex-president did not build the universities from scratch, rather he established. That is converting existing structures like technical institutions, secondary schools into higher institutions.
- Kogi (Lokoja)
- Nasarawa (Lafia)
- Gombe (Kashere)
- Taraba (Wukari)
- Jigawa (Dutse)
- Katsina (Dutsin-ma)
- Ebonyi (Ndufu-Alike)
- Bayelsa (Otuoke)
- Ekiti (Oye Ekiti)
- Yobe (Gashua)
- Kebbi (Birnin Kebbi)
- Zamfara (Gusau).
In spite of the creation of these universities, evidence still suggests little help this provided to the education sector. Moreover, most of the universities lacked funding and the basic necessities required.
CLAIM 3: Built Maritime university at Delta state and Police university at Kano state.
However, this is not the case with the Police University in Kano. In March 2015, the former president, upgraded the Nigerian Police Academy in Kano to a degree-awarding institution. Still, the jury’s out on whether he built it.
CLAIM 4: Established a Presidential special scholarship scheme for innovation and development.
In 2012, the Goodluck’s administration initiated the scheme. The Federal Government soley purposed this initiative to sponsor First class honoraries (undergrads). The criteria was for any degree from recognized and approved institutions in Nigeria.
Recently though, there has been controversy around the scheme. It would seem, that the current administration is defaulting in their duties.
Sahara reporters explain how for over two years, issues of non-payment of tuition fees have been on the increase!