Regenerating Lagos

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With the unveiling of state-of-the-art road construction equipment, the Lagos State Government has set its sights on tackling the road infrastructure challenges in the state and having a regenerated city, writes Peter Uzoho

The Lagos State Government on Wednesday last week, commenced its urban regeneration and renewal of the three major cities in the state: Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Ikeja G.R.A, with the unveiling of new state-of-the-art road construction equipment and inauguration of newly interlocked Joseph Hotounu Street in Lekki.

First of its kind in the state, the equipment numbering 45, including three battery powered road printers and three giant wheel loaders, were unveiled after a public demonstration of their capacity and capability to the media and government functionaries to complete the construction of interlocked road in Joseph Hotounu Street, Lekki

Others were five driving rollers, 18 hand operating rollers, one excavator, one paver, six tractors, three wheel loaders, one chip sealer, one milling machine, one hiab, one sweeper machine and one synchronous chip sealer.

The unveiling ceremony witnessed large turnout of residents of ELF/UPD Estate and Hotounu Street, who were so eager to receive the governor and to show their appreciation to him for fixing the road for them. Although, the governor was not physically present, they carried on with their mission – chanting songs of adulation and assurance, holding and displaying their placards with varied inscriptions signifying their support for the governor.

While some of the placards read: ‘Ambode is working, Lagos is moving’, others said: ‘We stand with governor Ambode; No stopping, carry go’; ‘Ambode for second term not negotiable’.

Speaking at the unveiling, Ambode who was represented by the state’s Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye, said the new equipment were procured in line with efforts to reposition the Lagos State Public Works Corporation for the urban regeneration programme aimed at addressing environmental and infrastructural challenges in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Ikeja G.R.A.

The governor said the equipment would be immediately deployed across the state for the urban renewal initiative, stressing that they would go a long way in ensuring the regeneration of the entire Lagos landscape.

“We are here to commission these machines, equipment and gadgets and to state that these range of products would be deployed immediately to the urban regeneration of Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Ikeja and they are being put in place today to further upgrade the activities of the Lagos State Public Works Corporation so that from their three centres in Badagry, Ojodu and Imota, they can take care of the rest of Lagos State,” Ambode said.

The governor further said: “We are at this site to see physically the demonstration of the capability and capacity of the equipment. I want to state emphatically that this development is a sign of the government’s commitment to the regeneration and renewal of the entire Lagos State landscape.

“The Public Works Corporation has three regional centres in Badagry, Ojodu and Imota of which the various machines would be deployed to the various areas. Essentially, this point is to regenerate Victoria Island, Ikoyi and Ikeja urban centres and it is an all-inclusive developmental process.”

The Secretary to the Lagos State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, said the paving stone machines and road printers were acquired to basically construct roads that would last longer, considering the state of the Lagos environment being waterlogged.

“We carefully thought about it before we even embarked on it. It was planned long time ago for the equipment to be acquired and having been acquired, they will be deployed immediately for road construction,” Bello said.

“One of the problems we have in Lagos is road tarring because the water table in Lagos is very high and it does not allow most of our roads to last and so we needed equipment to make our roads longer and part of it was to acquire the equipment which have just been tested.

“So, now we will be using paving stones mostly and they will last longer particularly in a terrain like Lagos and that is what we have seen today,” he added.

Also speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor on Public Works and Chief Executive Officer of Lagos State Public Works Corporation, Mr. Temidayo Erinle, while giving practical demonstration of the workings of the equipment, explained that the road printer has the capacity to pave road between six and eight metres faster and reduces man-hours.

“The road printer can make road paving of 400 to 600 metres square in a one-day working shift of eight hours. The road printer makes road construction faster, easier and cheaper,” Erinle said.

He disclosed that the State Government was in the process of further procuring interlocking making machines, and urged residents to take proper care of the road just unveiled and enjoined them not to indulge in activities that could damage it.

Meanwhile, the Managing Director, Infrastructural Development and Energy Company (INDECO), Mr. Eric Opah, whose company supplied the road printers, said they partnered the Lagos State Government which he said, was known to them as a government that was interested in protecting the environment.

“We’ve seen the way the environment is overseas, so Lagos State is adapting to that kind of first class environment. The equipment that we’ve supplied to Lagos State, as you can see, is a road printer, an equipment that will replace the high labour that our people go through in laying paving stones. It’s very cost-effective,” Opah said.

“We have about four to five of the road printers here. The printer actually lays 80 to 82 square metres per hour, and it reduces the long span that ordinary labour goes through to lay paving stones. What we’ve done is that we’ve supplied the equipment and we’ve demonstrated the capability of the equipment.

He said the same class of equipment would be used to cover other areas in Lagos, saying more of them would be supplied if another opportunity was presented to them to supply.

“We started from the Lagos State Infrastructure Work Site and we’ve transferred the equipment here. It’s going to go to a lot of places; it’s not actually prone to high broad areas like this. It’s something that is going to cover a whole lot of places. So right now, we’re only demonstrating the capability of the equipment. We will hopefully have the opportunity to supply another equipment to cover a lot of other places.

“As you can see, a lot of companies, governments, and private entities are converting to using the paving stones. I think the durability is much longer giving the topography of the roads that we have, especially in Lagos where we have waterlogged areas,” he noted.

Responding on behalf of the residents of Joseph Hotounu Street, Lekki, Mrs. Ronke Giwa, thanked the state government for fixing the road from its dilapidated state, saying the development had removed their decades of sufferings.

“Before the construction of this road, our cars were getting spoilt; we dread the rains and it had been on for decades so I like to thank Governor Ambode and the state government for giving us this road,” she said.

Also at the occasion, a group of women in uniform, numbering over 50, who identified themselves as “Ambode Babes” were also chanting their solidarity songs and support for Governor Ambode for his giant strides in the state. According to them, the governor has done wonderfully well in his first tenure in office, saying he will emerge victorious come 2019.

A member of the group, Alhaja Seki Awote, who spoke to THISDAY said: “We like our Governor, Ambode. We’re happy with what he’s doing; he has changed the face of Lagos within three years. We want to thank him for his wonderful work in Lagos State, and we’re solidly behind him come 2019. Ambode is going nowhere; he must complete his eight years before another person will come. So in Alausa, there is no vacancy in 2019. We love our governor and he loves us.”

She said their association cut across the 57 LCDAs in Lagos State, and that their mission was to keep supporting the governor to enable him do more and more.