Emmanuel Bello, a former commissioner of information in Taraba state, says the minister in charge of roads should stop flying and start using roads to know how bad they are.
It is the ministry of power, works and housing, which Babatunde Fashola, presides over, that is in charge of roads.
Speaking with journalists on Monday, Bello said the elitist class do not feel the pain millions Nigerians go through on the roads because air transport “has a way of detaching the nation’s policy makers from reality”.
The public affairs analyst said more attention needs to be paid to the country’s roads because “Nigeria is still a road economy and we have to conquer the land before colonising the air.”
He said there should be nothing as federal roads so states could “wade in to reduce the hardship of their people.”
“I believe our elite don’t feel the pains millions go through daily on the roads. I have nothing against air transportation as I use it too. Our political class should do more road transportation,” Bello said.
“In fact, they should patronise public transport from time to time to appreciate the horrors and nightmares called Nigerian roads. The road from Jalingo to Numan on your way to Gombe, for instance, is a horror flick. It is a federal road but we must forget this thing called federal roads and urge state governments to wade in to reduce the hardship of their people.
“The minister in charge of the road sector must just find a way to stop flying and start using the roads. I think he should spend a week going round these roads to know what we are talking about.
“He can’t fix all the roads at once but he should do biometrics of these highways, not just in one part of the country but all over.
“I believe the governors must come together and collaborate on this one too. And we must stop seeing roads as belonging to the federal government. I think there is even a policy in place where if they fix the so-called federal roads passing through their domains, they get refunded.
“At the local government level, efforts must be made to at least grade roads and make life bearable for the farmers and other road users. We can’t claim to be serious about development until and unless we declare a state of emergency in the road sector.”