Colonial Inheritance, Postcolonial Neglect, and the Management of Nigerian Railway by Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES)

  • T Ayoola


The Nigerian Railway (NR) network was constructed and managed from 1898 to 1960 by British colonial authorities. The infrastructure inherited at independence was old, dilapidated, inefficient and inadequate. Instead of transforming this infrastructure, Nigerian bourgeoisie neglected it in favour of road transport development. Additionally, there was a general mismanagement of the industry. These developments adversely affected rail transportation, especially in the late 1970s; when the military government was constrained to invite Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) to manage it from 1978-1982. Although RITES were able to carry out some changes such as staff training, construction of staff quarters, repairing locomotives and wagons, relaying of track, motivation and promotion of staff, establishment of financial accountability, increment in freight and passenger traffics, and so on; they did not radically transform the inherited antediluvian transport infrastructure. This was because RITES got a limited brief of simply rehabilitating NR‟s operations and infrastructure. Nonetheless, had the government built on the reforms carried out, the railway industry would not have collapsed in the 1990s. The study disproved the assertion that the techno-managerial agreement between the Nigerian government and RITES to revive NRC was a complete waste of time and money.

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eISSN: 0075-7640
print ISSN: 0075-7640