Feature: What is the National Railway Plan of the Presidential Candidates in Nigeria?

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By Ayo Akinfe

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Surely Nigeria cannot go to the polls without the presidential candidates debating a national railway plan

Just look at how far we are behind other developing nations when it comes to kilometres of railway lines. In the 21st century, everyone is moving towards electrified trains to move goods and people around

[1] India – 67,415km
[2] Argentina – 36,966km
[3] Brazil – 29,817km
[4] Mexico – 23,389km
[5] South Africa – 22,387km
[6] Iran – 16,998km
[7] Kazakhstan – 15,530km
[8] Burma – 11,025km
[9] Pakistan – 8,100km
[10] Nigeria – 3,600km

Do you know that we do not have one kilometre of electrified railway track in Nigeria? With the Dangote refinery set to make our three state-owned ones obsolete, I would convert them into railway carriage manufacturing plants.

If we are churning our railway carriages, tracks and engines at Warri, Port Harcourt and Kaduna, it might just spur development in this sector. This should be our 10-point development plan which we aspire to achieve by 2030:

[1] We should set ourselves the target of linking all our 774 local government areas by rail by 2030

[2] Abuja and Lagos should be linked by a high speed network allowing travel within two hours

[3] We should have a coastal high speed rail link that connects Calabar to Lagos within two hours

[4] We should launch an Ecowas service linking Accra, Abidjan, Dakar, Freetown, Niamey, Bamako, Ouagadougou, Banjul, etc

[5] All components must be manufactured locally

[6] By 2030, the entire network must be electric-powered

[7] The railway network must have its own electricity generating and distribution capability so it has nothing to do with the national grid

[8] Every state capital must have an urban metro

[9] Lagos and Abuja must have underground services

[10] Every port, airport, refinery, heavy manufacturing facility and major industrial estate must have a railway link by 2030

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