Historical Political Economy of the Management and Development of the Nigerian Railways, 1999-2015

Tokunbo Aderemi. Ayoola, Shehu Tijjani Yusuf


During the colonial period in Nigeria, 1900-1960, the Nigerian Railway was one of the strong pillars of the Nigerian political economy. It facilitated the massive economic exploitation and the economic development of the colony. Moreover, it was one of the important legacies of British domination of the Nigerian space up until when Nigeria got her political independence from Britain in 1960. Starting from 1960, however, and up to the 1990s, the economic, financial, and social fortunes of the Nigerian Railway industry declined at a very rapid speed. Its situation during this period was further complicated by the introduction, implementation, and the negative impact of the IMF/World Bank supported neo-liberal economics undergirded Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP). By the very last year of the twentieth century, which year also marked the beginning of Nigeria’s Fourth Republic, the Nigerian Railway Corporation(NRC), the statutory body that was charged with the responsibility of managing and developing the Nigerian Railway industry, had become bankrupt and was rapidly dying and was in free fall into total collapse.As a result of the foregoing negative development, and starting with the Obasanjo Administration (1999-2007), renewed efforts were made to reorganise and modernise this important transport and socio-economic infrastructure. The various reorganisation programmes that were initiated and implemented for the Nigerian Railways from 1999-2015 were critically examined. It is argued that in view of the dependent and neo-colonial nature of the Nigerian historical political economy and the rampant corruption that has come to define it, not much would be achieved by way of radical transformation and modernisation of the railway industry in the medium to long term – unless Nigeria becomes industrialised and is then able to manufacture nothing less than sixty per cent of her needs and requirements, Currently nearly of these are still imported in the face of scarce foreign exchange earnings.

Keywords: Nigeria, railway, management, development, transformation, modernization

DOI: 10.7176/PPAR/13-3-05

Publication date: April 30th 2023

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5731 ISSN (Online)2225-0972

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