Right of Reply
Olu Abayomi defends the performance of the Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode with respect to the construction of roads in the Ajah axis of Lekki Peninsula, explaining that the roads are captured in the 2018 budget of the state
In a determined, but rather futile attempt to make a political capital out of the challenges faced in the construction of the roads at the swampy terrain of the Lekki-Ajah axis , one Femi Animashaun recently went to the extreme. That was in his article with the title: “Ambode’s Reputation on the Line”. Literally brewing with untrammeled emotion, suffused with hyperbolic terms, he mixed facts with fanciful fiction. To state that all the drains or gutters in the area are completely blocked and the potholes have degenerated into craters is pure fallacy. Were it so, the entire Ajah would have been submerged by the ocean tide by now!
Similarly, the spurious claim that the area has been completely abandoned is far from the truth. For instance, the place in question, like its counterparts in other local government areas of the state benefited from the 144 roads constructed across the 20 local government areas back in 2016. Notable amongst these of course, is the Ajah bridge, constructed to ease the traffic gridlock in the ever-busy and densely populated part of the fast-evolving mega city. This was in fulfilment of the earlier promise the governor, Akinwunmi Ambode had made in December 2015, that the government had approved the construction of flyover for two of the state’s high-density traffic zones- Ajah round about and Abule- Egba junction.
Subsequently, the promises made by the goal-getting and highly focused Ambode during the town hall meeting, precisely on August 2017 were aptly captured in the 2018 state budget. This incidentally, has only recently been passed into law by the Lagos State House of Assembly. And to make good his promise, the Lagos State Government released the sum of N5.563 billion to contractors to flag off the construction of the 181 roads spread across the 20 Local Governments Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state. That was in early February, 2018.
Another laughable aspect of the writer’s appeal is that: “the governor should not reconstruct the road but patch the potholes”. Admitted, that with the rains coming early in the year due to climate change, some structures on ground would be adversely affected, it does not make any economic sense to patch sections of the road only for them to open up in less than a season. To give meaningful value to the money earmarked for the projects as spelt out in the 2018 budget, reconstruction would make them more sustainable.
Perhaps, unknown to Animashaun, it would have amounted to a breach of the constitution if work had commenced on the 8 kilometre-Ajah-Lamgbase-Addo stretch of road when it was not captured in the 2017 state budget. It is worthy of note that amongst the roads in the Lekki-Ajah axis to benefit from the 2018 budget are the Eleko -Iberekodo road, the Oribanwa to Lakowe link road and the Otolu Township road. Others include the Ojuoto/Ajegunle Road and Lekki-Epe Expressway.
Indeed, it amounts to fuelling the ill-feeling of inequity and injustice to place undue emphasis on whatever infrastructural transformation being currently witnessed along the Epe axis. This is an area that was neglected for a long stretch of 16 years! It could boast of only the Magistrate court built by the Babatunde Raji Fashola –led administration.
In a similar vein, the Epe Chalet reconstructed and renamed Jubilee Chalet under the Ambode administration was constructed during the Jakande era. There was not a single road constructed there despite the proposal of it being part and parcel of the Lekki Free Trade Zone. What is more, the Master Plan is to have an airport and a sea port. What the forward-looking Ambode administration is doing in Epe is to open it up for international business, which it rightly deserves, being a coastal area of the state.
So far, the new set of roads in Epe have started to make the desired impact as they are taking the pressure off the traffic hub along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Commuters now prefer to ply along the Ijebu-Ode to Epe town en route to the city. Furthermore, the construction of the dual carriage way from Epe through Itokun to Ijebu-Ode will definitely promote the proposed South-West Regional Integration.
Such is the virile vision that elder statesmen such as Chief Olu Falae and Chief Bode George have openly commended the potentially profound impact such would have on attracting global business to Lagos as a state and Nigeria, as a country. It therefore, smirks of sheer mischief to misconstrue such development as a mark of nepotism.
As clearly captured in the words of the honourable Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ade Akinsanya: “The roads will be done in phases. Already phase one has been released. This phase involves 57 roads cutting across the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas. To enhance immediately mobilization to site, 30 percent had been given to all the contractors upfront. This is in line with the magnanimity of Ambode’s administration to ensure service delivery all year round.”
He highlighted the fact that due process was observed in awarding the contracts, adding that bids were opened on November 1, 2017 after which they were evaluated and considered. He said there are 57 contractors involved in the first phase of the construction with a mandate to deliver in six months.
According to him, the governor is totally committed to ensuring that Lagosians continue to enjoy good governance.
“There are many projects going on simultaneously across the state and the roads to be constructed will further open up the LGAs and LCDAs for economic prosperity”, he added.
Taking an objective and unbiased appraisal of the governor’s commitment on infrastructural development, one would admonish him to keep up both the pace and focus towards realising his set goals. All the hue and cry from his traducers and sponsored critics would come to nothing. What matters most are his achievements that cumulatively uplift the quality of life of the good people of Lagos state, the Centre of Excellence.
Indeed, it amounts to fuelling the ill-feeling of inequity and injustice to place undue emphasis on whatever infrastructural transformation being currently witnessed along the Epe axis