1. Mariela Reply

    Some interesting pnitos there. The question you raise “why is Nigeria considering paying an American firm to help us figure out how to solve the problem” is answered by what I call the Julius Berger mentality. This mentality has been ingrained in the thinking of our leaders since the mid 60s when Julius Berger, then a largely German concern, were enlisted as contractors of Eko Bridge. We have not looked domestically since.I am in encouragement of awarding construction contracts to local firms. However there is the obvious problems of inadequate checks and balances. There is simply no system in place to ensure that work is progressing at the prescribed pace nor is there a way to assess the quality of the work done, other than when yet another luxurious bus swerves to avoid a Grand Canyon sized pothole in the road only to plunge headlong into a 504 carrying 9 passengers. A foreign company possesses, as part of it’s corporate identity, a realisation that goodwill and the reputation of a company has a value that cannot be quantified. They will often use the quality of their work as a bargaining chip to generate further custom. The average Nigerian contractor seems to see each contract as one fat payday. A major road can be completed in one month under such circumstances with scant regard for the longevity of the surface. The solution is as you suggest; a marriage of local know-how and foreign expertise. Provided the Nigerians are not relegated to the role of suited up field hands, there is no reason why this cannot be to the benefit of Nigerian infrastructure in the long term.

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