Connecting Lagos

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Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, recently inaugurated the Lagos-Ogun boundary network of 21 roads in Alimosho Local Government Area. Sunday Ehigiator who covered the event, reports

Residents of Alimosho Local Government Area have never enjoyed the dividend of democracy as much as they enjoy now since time immemorial. Though they live in the biggest federal constituency in Nigeria; their status was never commensurate with the level of infrastructural development as seen in the local government till the intervention of the Lagos State governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. The roads, which connect Lagos with Ogun State from Agbado Oke-Odo Local Council Development Area, were fitted with walkways, drainage system, laybys, service ducts, lane marking and street lights, among others.

The project which also included two bridges at Ikola Road and Aiyetoro boundary area in the local government was contracted to Visible Construction Limited; kicked off in March 2017 and was inaugurated exactly 13 months after by Ambode.

The newly constructed 21 roads which include Ikola Road; with a bridge (7.2km), Aiyetoro Road; with a bridge (1.28km), dualisation of Ray Power Road (2.7km), Amikanle Road (3.34km), Oko Filling Road (1.660km), Ogunseye Road (1.870km), Osenatu Ilo Road (0.7km), Aina Aladi Road (1.109km), Oluwasanya Road (0.6km), Igbehinadun Road (0.4km), Community Road (0.8km), Isoto Road (0.7km), Palace Road (0.7km), Timothy Afolabi (0.745km), Peak Thomas Bright Crescent (0.490km), Baale Street (0.710km), Joe Ikebudu (0.460km), Bishop Oderinde (0.270km), Alhaji Ganiyu Salami (0.520km), Kadiri Adebambo Street (0.533km), and Church Street (0.710km), has its length kilometres totaled at 27.433km, and its inauguration attended by Lagos State First Lady, Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, state deputy governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Oluranti Adebule, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Senator Olamilekan Adeola, Member, House of Representatives, Hon. James Faleke, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, The All Progressives Congress Leader, and House Leader of Nigeria’s 8th House of Representatives, amongst others.

In his welcome address, the Lagos State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Ade Akinsanya said “I am delighted to welcome His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the governor of Lagos State and other distinguished guests to this auspicious occasion of the inauguration of the Lagos – Ogun State boundary network of 21 roads in Alimosho LG. Today, all over the world being Easter Monday is celebrated as a day that gives hope and joy to all people. And so today, here we are opening up this area for an improved quality of life and boosting trade, commerce and investment opportunities between Lagos and neighbouring Ogun State. Just across this bridge is Ogun State. This is in furtherance of South-west integration mantra that His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is so passionate about and proactively addressing. This particular location of Aiyetoro Bridge has only a single carriageway. This has now been dualised spanning 1.28km with 40-metre bridge and improvement carried out on the existing single carriageway with a bridge. This bridge would complement the dualisation of Aiyetoro Road and also provide relief to the existing inadequate bridge. This is the first location of the four-legged inauguration of 21 roads we are doing today. We present to you the network of roads to help ease the burden of plying bad roads. The community must rise up to protect this important public asset by ensuring that it is put to good use and not turned to a market or car park for vehicles and trucks. On this note, I welcome you once again to this momentous occasion of the inauguration of this strategic network of roads by Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode; the governor of Lagos State.”

Delivering a goodwill message during the occasion, Comrade Abiodun Coker, Chairman of Ayobo/Ipaja Community Development Committee, said “I feel honoured and privileged to address this August gathering. As a community leader, we began a political revolution to transform our community. Together, we continued to fight to create a government which represents us all, and not just the one per cent; a government based on the principle of social infrastructural and environmental justice. We as a community in Ayobo Ipaja LCDA decided to gather here today to welcome and support, and show appreciation to our amiable God-given governor of our time Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. I am proud of the community comparing how we were then, and seeing the achievement with the good outcome today here in Ayobo Ipaja LCDA.

“The Executive Governor had embarked on various projects within our LCDA, these include the construction of the major road. Ipaja-Ayobo, Baruwa inward, Pako-2 Story, Megida Olayemi Road and the ongoing Bale Kaka Road. And now the inauguration of a bridge to link our neighbouring communities in Ogun State which will lead to an improved socio-economic life of residents.

“However, we passionately appeal to Your Excellency to save our soul on the following difficulties that we are facing at the present time. We highly appreciate Your Excellency for the completion of the first phase of the above roads which is about 1.2km and was inaugurated February 2017. We are now looking up to your kind-heartedness on the second phase of the road which will lead to Ijon, a boundary community with Ogun State. Apart from the enhancement of the economy, security and quality of lives of the people in this area, it will also reduce travel time between Ijon and CMS to only about 20 minutes instead of the present timing of nearly 90 minutes apart from incessant damages to vehicles and incessant visits and harassment by people of the underworld. We appeal to you Sir, to please save us from the extortionists who continue to construct commercial Bailey Bridge that threatens the lives and security of our people; these people are only interested in their own commercial profits and do not care about the lives and commercial benefits of the people or government.

“To our able working governor, the resident of Victoria Garden City (VGC) is not superior to those in Ayobo Ipaja. This has been the watchword of our governor that everyone needs to feel the impact of government accordingly. Once again, accept our gratitude and appreciation.”

Ambode, who inaugurated the projects amidst celebration by elated residents in four different locations, in his keynote speech said, the delivery of the infrastructure was part of the continuous bid to transform the Alimosho federal constituency and build the new economy around the axis.

In his words: “Firstly, when I see the crowd across on my right, and I see the crowd to my left, I am assured once again, that Alimosho; the largest federal constituency in the country remains the most populated constituency in Lagos State. So, I am just going to say few words. Because what we are doing here today, is so historic and of great importance, that we must send the message rightly, so that people can understand why we are celebrating on Easter Monday, the change in the lives of our people which the resurrection of Christ is supposed to symbolise. First, we’ll salute all our political leaders. Firstly, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for having that great vision; he started this vision of making this particular federal constituency a place of pride. So, he started it with the LASU-Iba Road. So that when you move from Badagry and enter into the LASU-Iba Road, up till Igando and Egbe and coming towards this way, you will have easy transportation and no traffic delay, and he did it up to Egbe, while the present governor of State of Osun was the Commissioner of Works. So, we must remember where this whole thing started. And then, we took it, my predecessor took it; Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, up to Ipaja, all in the bid to build a new economy in this particular axis. So, we have taken it from Ipaja to Ayobo, to Command Secondary School, and then today; within the context of the bridge that we did in Aberu last year, to link Abesan with Aberu, we are inaugurating a total distance of 27.4km’s of road with two bridges. So, what is the significance of what we are doing today? I will give you the equivalent distance of what we are doing today, which we completed in the course of just one year. When you start from Ojodu Berger to Kingsway Road which is now Alfred Rewane Road; that is 27.4km that is the same equivalent of what we are doing today.

When you start from 7up in Alausa, up to the first round-about, along the Lekki/Ekpe Expressway, its 27.4km that’s what we are inaugurating today. So, you need to understand what this is all about. Now, it’s an alternative route. We don’t need to congest ourselves on the road in the Abeokuta Expressway, where you will come from Gateway Hotel and you will start driving through Ijoko, Ipaja and all that. You can take this alternative now and go all the way to Ipaja, up to Badagry. Without having anything to do with that axis, that is what we are doing today. So, understand what this is all about. It is not done by Akinwunmi Ambode’s money; I didn’t put a kobo there apart from my own taxes. It is the taxes that you have contributed that we have used to improve on this particular economy. That is my message; that we should make every part of Lagos, economically viable and also livable so that all the people in this area can have the same kind of life that others are enjoying in the other axis of Lagos. So the idea is to open-up all our suburban communities, reduce traffic congestion and then create a better life for those who pledge and voted for us. So Alimosho has been hundred per cent loyal ever since Asiwaju’s time. So, ever since Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s time, hence we refer to this area as Tinubu’s country, you have never faltered and you have never failed. So in return, it’s just good that we give you what people refer to as dividend of democracy. That is what we are doing here, so that we can connect you to the rest of Lagos. Now, just the same thing that we are doing here, we are also saying that we can connect Epe to Ijebu Ode just the same way we have connected Itele community in Ogun State here, so that we can have economic integration with the neighbouring states. We are not saying Itele is in Ogun State, but it is imperative that we do the road so the commerce is improved upon. That is the whole essence of trying to do Epe/Ijebu-Ode Road also.

The whole essence of doing Ikorodu, Imota, Ita-Oke, Ijebu-Ode Road, the whole idea of economic integration must be put in place by some people, and I have decided to do that. So the same thing that we are trying to do between Mile 2, Badagry and Seme, so that every other network in Lagos can have improved economy. So, we don’t all rush to the centre, and then allow new family owners, new homeowners, to build up in other places. So here, we are doing 21 roads today, two bridges, 27.4 km and in addition to what you have said, I believe strongly that we need to dredge the Ilo River. So, we are going to move forward and I have also listened to what you have said. As part of the continuation of the improvement of this economy here, we would do the Adekoya Road, Makinde Road, Suberu-Oje Road, and then the old Otta Road. Then Ishefun, Ijan we will do it so that we connect it with the sea. So in other words, with boat ride between here and Marina and you will be there in 20 minutes.”

Responding to request for more infrastructural projects in Alimosho, the governor said as part of the continuation of the development of the axis, the state government will dredge Ilo River, rehabilitate Adekoya Road, Makinde Road, Subaru Oje Road, Old Ota Road and Ishefun-Ijan Road which will be connected to a Jetty through which people can take a boat ride to connect Lagos Marina in 20 minutes.

He also said that a modern Bus Terminal and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor would soon be constructed in the axis.

“We would do more. Based on the budget for 2018, there are more infrastructure that we have to put in this community. You deserve a bus terminal, you also deserve BRT and you would get it. We deserve more commerce and we want to do an economic integration of all the South-western states and the nearest to us is Ogun State and that’s why we are expanding the road network to enter into the boundary of Ogun State.

“We will do it between Epe and Ijebu Ode also to enter into the Ijebu-Ode Ore Express Road. That is what economic integration is, that is how to expand commerce, that’s how to create jobs for our people and by these projects, people in this community will benefit from the jobs and also benefit from the commerce and that is what inclusive governance is all about,” Ambode said.

Furthermore, Ambode urged residents of the state to go out to register and collect their Permanent Voters Cards to be able to exercise their franchise come next political dispensation.

Speaking with THISDAY, a resident of the local government Mr. Adenuga Akinosho said in the excitement that “I am very grateful to God that I am a witness of this event. This road that you are looking at has been a nightmare to residents of this environment for over 50 years. I was born here, so I know what I am saying. A lot of people have packed away from this place; in fact, there are countless, all because of this road, because so many bad things happen on this road, due to its bad state. Robbery, gang raping, cult clash and even initiations, killings, sometimes, you wake up in the morning and you meet dead bodies on the road. Before now, once it is 6 p.m. it is very dangerous to take these roads. But since the intervention of Ambode, it has all become history, we can now close our eyes and walk this road at any time without fear or panic,” he said.

Another resident of the area, a trader from Aiyetoro Mrs. Peace Sylvester said, “I am so excited. This road has been so bad that it even affects our businesses. Because of the road we are restricted to taking other better but longer routes to Lagos to buy market, and after buying it, we take the same road back, and this makes the prices we place on goods more expensive than you would get it outside here. Hence, there is low patronage. And also, once it is 5 p.m. we are already closing our shops to go home because the road is very dangerous and people are scared to pass it. But since the governor finished constructing the road, everything has changed. We now have easy access travelling to buy goods, and we can now close shop any time of the day. May God bless him.”

The relief, smiles and joy expressed on the faces of the dwellers in Alimosho Local Government could evidently be felt in the way they all came out in their thousands to welcome the governor, the colourful parade by different political and pressure groups in the local government and words of appreciation for the governor during the inauguration. They did not only pray for the governor and the state, but likewise invited top Fuji-music artistes such as Abass Akande Obesere, Saidi Osupa, and Malaica to entertain the governor at the occasion. The governor, on the other hand, brought with him, to entertain the people; his music aide Olamide Adedeji a.k.a Olamide Badoo, who thrilled the audience with his presence and some of his popular and recent hit songs.

The occasion officially ended after the governor’s unveiling of the projects credit-engravings, and customary cutting of ribbon tied across the entrance of one of the bridges.