While most Nigerians are wildly excited about the commencement of the construction of the long awaited Coastal Road that will run all the way across the litoral states of Nigeria, linking up the two most productive regions of our country, opening up the long abandoned coastal areas, and, arterially joining them up to the rest of the nation, former Vice President and serially failed presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar, saw fit to seek to denigrate and undermine the project upon a truly sickening cocktail of misinformation, disinformation, outright deceit and the most poorly-packaged falsehoods imaginable.

Without a scintilla of evidence, not to talk of a shred of the same, the eternal contestant for the presidency of a country he is suspected, in certain quarters, of not even being an actual citizen of, claims President Bola Tinubu has interests in the Hitech Construction Company, the firm handling the project, and is only constructing the entire stretch of 700 kilometer superhighway, with a railway line in the median, just to benefit himself!

Of course, absolute nonsense can emanate from absolutely any nation of the world but I’m yet to encounter a narrative as dreadfully unhinged and stupendous in its incredulity as the notion that an entire stretch of 700 kilometres of world-class road cum rail infrastructure could possibly benefit just one individual.

Perhaps, you’d have to be a contraption of a Cameroonian indigene of Dubai to be able to come up with such befuddling logic, quite apart from being an addicted patron of marabouts and babalawos to expect rational persons to take you seriously.

Alhaji Atiku’s ridiculous attempts at casting the project in the garb of his widely known proclivity for corrupt enrichment is neither here nor there; unlike the special purpose vehicles, SPVs, Atiku attained specialisation and occupies a competency in, the Coastal Road is a real public sector project of national significance and all relevant information pertaining thereto are in the public domain.

If he is not satisfied with what is out there, he can avail himself of the applicable freedom of information provisions like any other interested citizen.

Atiku equally tried to make a big deal out of the necessary demolishment of a small part of a resort built on the right of way of the Coastal Road and sought to sell the rather astonishing idea that a resort belonging to one man should be enough reason not to construct a road that will end up connecting tens of millions of Nigerians across one-third of our country, besides thereby also benefitting the entire nation given the transformational particulars of the project!

This is not at all surprising to me: while accusing President Tinubu of trying to benefit only himself by constructing a road to link the entire South-south to the South-west, with spurs to the entire North as well as the South-east of our country, Atiku was only confessing himself as the true apostle of what he sought to cast Tinubu as – a pathologically self-centered man, who in order to save his own private property would rather sacrifice public property that would benefit an entire nation!

Ever the divisive figure who woefully failed in hoodwinking our beloved Northern brethren and fellow compatriots into voting for him on the basis of ethnic, religious and regional ties, Atiku tried to shift base to the Niger Delta and play his putrid card at us.

Without, in any way, laying foundation, Atiku claimed the Coastal Road ought to have been commenced from Calabar and not Lagos!

I guess he hasn’t gotten over so few Lagosians voting for him in the last election and winning only one state in the entire South-west geopolitical zone.

Unfortunately, Niger Deltans similarly rejected him despite his compliment of a running mate from the region and so his totally condemnable, puerile, lame and ultimately futile attempt to create animosity between Niger Deltans and Yorubas is but a most misguided attempt to ingratiate himself with a region that has moved past him and permanently left him behind.

As a general rule, construction of a road can begin at its beginning or end, both designations being just for the sake of convenience and both of which are perfectly interchangeable.

Alternatively, construction might commence at any point along its stretch, and, indeed, it is usually the case that different sections of a stretch of highway are under construction simultaneously – how a former Vice President would not know this is simply mindboggling!

I don’t really know that much about Hitech and have absolutely no interest in holding brief for it but I assume they are headquartered in Lagos and might have found it more suitable to their overall ability to deliver the project by starting off from their base.

That said, there are actually many good reasons why construction of the the road should begin at its Lagos end.

The Lekki – Ibeju – Epe section of the Coastal Road is arguably the most intensively industrialized (and industrializing) part of our country, hosting the Lekki Free Trade Zone, the Lekki Deep Seaport, Dangote Refinery, an airport in the works, as well as what is perhaps the greatest concentration of factories, businesses and residential neighbourhoods, side by side.

It has long been the fastest developing corridor in the entire country and is currently serviced by just one major highway with no alternative routes.

The main Lekki-Epe Expressway currently servicing that corridor is already saturated with traffic and only God knows what will become of it when its heavy industries and gargantuan facilities fully come on stream.

If I had to construct a road from point A where there is little traffic to point B where traffic is excruciatingly chaotic, utilitarian logic and basic common sense dictate that I should start at point B.

It must be because Alhaji Atiku only appreciates power from the perspective of pathological ambition and self-aggrandizement that something so obvious should escape him.

In any case, there is nothing that says we shall not witness construction of another section of the road taking off soon in Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Rivers or from Calabar, in Cross River, its terminus or beginning, depending on where you end up driving from when it is completed.

I have long wondered at something quite remarkable about the sorts of persons Alhaji Atiku seems to prefer to roll with; they rather come across as not very bright, imaginative or howsoever original.

This is naturally a very worrying sign in a would-be leader: if he is so lousy at talent recruitment, what could he possible have to offer if he were ever to find his way to power?

Atiku’s boys keep coming up with the most banal, lifeless, anaemic and pedestrian contrivances upon which they hope to denigrate President Tinubu and impress their apparently easy to impress, but clearly not very impressive, paymaster.

I once asked one rather crude member of Atiku’s team whether that fellow thought, given his own endowments as to competence, acumen and abilities, he was the best Atiku’s money could buy?

So much for depending on money for everything because no one is impressed enough to follow you on the basis of their belief in your vision for their nation.

Persistence and perseverance reside light-years apart from desperation, for while they are framed by consistency and forbearance, desperation, on the other hand, is hallmarked by a shamelessness often given expression in the desperado constantly snatching at straws in dedication to an unachievable ambition.

What has become crystal clear from the trajectory of former Vice President Atiku Abubarkar’s antics, hypocrisies, mishaps and excesses in the course of vainly trying to position himself as an alternative to President Bola Tinubu, is a metamorphosis of his attitude to his President from a starting point of mere political rivalry to one that has deposited him in a truly dark place of deep-seated hatred for his erstwhile benefactor.

Unfortunately for former Vice President Atiku, the more he descends into that abyss of bitterness and hate, the more he forecloses any hope of his ever ruling this nation.

Onokpasa, a lawyer, is Chairman, Tinubu Media Support Group, TMSG, and writes from Abuja.

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