Yesterday I was asking myself what Obafemi Awolowo would be doing were he Nigeria’s president today. Well here is an example of what I believe his rail policy would look like

Ayo Akinfe

[1] He would have got all Nigerian trains to operate using electricity. Diesel engines would have been phased out within three years of him assuming office

[2] Awolowo would have turned Nigeria into one of the world’s largest manufacturers of rail carriages and engines. Today, India calls itself the pharmacy of the world. What stops us doing something similar with rail?

[3] Knowing Awolowo and his legendary foresight, he would have introduced double decker trains. With a population of 200m, this is the kind of thinking needed

[4] Every one of Nigeria’s 774 local government areas would be linked to a national rail network. No Nigerian should be denied access to rail. Every village must be connected to the national grid

[5] By now, Nigeria would be using Maglev magnetic levitation train technology. Only China has really developed this technology so far

[6] We would have a high speed rail service linking Lagos and Abuja. It would run at about 250km per hour at the very least. This would allow the journey to be completed in three hours

[7] All our African neighbours would be placing orders for their carriages, coaches and engines with Nigeria. We should be the continent’s industrial workshop

[8] Awo would have created the Nigerian Railway Equipment Manufacturing Company with a mandate to mass produce railway tracks, signalling equipment, carriages, signal boxes, engines, etc. Our slogan should be: “Anything you want, we can deliver.”

[9] Within three years of Awo assuming office, the Nigerian Railway Corporation would have its own power plant that generated its own electricity to power the network. Remember how he built the Western Nigeria Television Service within three years

[10] Nigeria would have a Railway College of Technology where staff are trained on all spects of railway know-how. People would come from all over the world to be trained there. Under Awo, Nigeria would have about a dozen specialist vocational polytechnics