Africa Check, a non-partisan organization which promotes accuracy in public debate and the media, has debunked a recent assertion by President Goodluck Jonathan that under his watch, most of Nigeria’s roads have become “motorable,” saying the claim lacks evidence. A Nigerian highway in deplorable condition

“When I assumed office in 2010, out of the 35,000km of federal roads nationwide, only about 5,000km were motorable, Jonathan said as he formally declared on 11 November that he would seek another term of office. “Today, that number has increased to about 25,000km.”

Using information from various sources, including Budgit, a Lagos-based start-up which tracks government spending, Africa Check said that there is some evidence of success in revamping road infrastructure, particularly in the Abuja area, the claim is an overkill in terms of the amount and quality of the work undertaken.

“While there have been some road improvements (particularly in advance of elections, as the government seeks to win votes), there is no exhaustive proof to corroborate the president’s assertion,” Africa Check said.  “It would appear that the claims are exaggerated.”  

A key part of the enquiry is the atrocious quality of most of the roads even when they are broadcast as completed or revamped, and the government appears headed for a cul-de-sac trying to explain to voters how many death-traps can be called motorable roads.  

It would also be recalled that last week, various observers pointed out that some of the claims of achievement or “transformation” being claimed by the federal government to boost President Jonathan’s electoral chances are actually state projects.  Critics point out that Mr. Jonathan has barely addressed any of the promises he made in the 2011 electoral campaign.

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