James Sowole in Abeokuta
President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday promised that the federal government will consider extending tax credit as funding option for the reconstruction of three strategic roads in the state.
The three roads that may be considered for the funding option are the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Road; the Ota-Idiroko Road and the Sagamu-Ogijo-Ikorodu Road.
The federal government had earlier approved the reconstruction of the
100km Sagamu Interchange-Papalanto-Ilaro Road to be handled by the Dangote Group.
Buhari also assured Nigerians that two major federal roads under construction –the Sagamu-Benin Expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway — would be inaugurated before the end of 2022.
The president’s promise came sequel to the request by the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, during the inauguration of five key projects in the state.
Abiodun had, in his speech, sought special funding by the federal government for more infrastructure in the state.
The governor specifically noted that the state has the highest number of federal roads than any other state in Nigeria, thus the need for the federal government’s intervention to fix those roads, which he described as strategic.
The president, who addressed residents of the state at the Sagamu-Abeokuta Interchange, commended Abiodun for delivering visionary and trail-blazing projects for the people, even in the midst of prevailing and challenging circumstances occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Describing Abiodun as the ‘‘performing Governor of Nigeria’s Gateway State,’’ the president said he is a worthy example of ‘‘promises made, promises kept”.
The president noted that the lofty projects: the Gateway City Gate; the 42-Kilometre Sagamu Interchange-Abeokuta Road; the 14km Ijebu-Ode-Epe Expressway and two housing estates for low, medium and high income earners at Kobape and Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta respectively, could not have materialised without the state government’s huge investment and commitment to security of lives and property.
‘‘This made Ogun State one of the safest and most peaceful states in the country and investors’ destination of choice.
‘‘You (Prince Abiodun) have justified the mandate of the people of Ogun State. You have represented our party very well,’’ the president said.
President Buhari expressed delight that the 14km Ijebu Ode-Mojoda-Epe Road inaugurated by him has been reconstructed into a modern expressway by the state government.
He noted that the impressive road would complement the Sagamu-Benin Expressway that the federal government is currently reconstructing, also due for inauguration this year.
‘‘Just across the road is the 42-kilometre Sagamu-Interchange-Abeokuta Road which the state government has reconstructed and equipped with street lights.
‘‘That road enjoys a direct linkage with the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway that the federal government is rebuilding and due for completion later this year.
‘‘I am particularly impressed by the quality and standard of your road projects, and the creative way you have deployed resources to reconstruct and rehabilitate them.
‘‘It is significant to note that the two road projects being commissioned today are federal roads. This is an example of constructive engagement, cooperation and collaboration between the states and federal government.
‘‘These roads also fit well into our rail transportation masterplan that connects Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital, to Kano, with Ogun State having more rail stations, along the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor,” the president said.
On the housing programme of the state, the president commended its inclusiveness, saying it is equally heart-warming that it cuts across different social strata, capturing the low, medium and high income earners.
President Buhari said the Gateway City Project, “is not just a park beautification project, it depicts that something new is happening in Ogun State, a welcoming entrance into the state capital at the centre point of the state.’’
He added that the project is also an icon depicting the joining of hands for building the future of Ogun State in togetherness.
“I am proud of what you have done for your state and your people. You have made our great party, the APC, proud too. You are a worthy example of promises made, promises kept.
‘‘These lofty projects could not have materialised without your huge investment and commitment to security of lives and property,’’ he said.
The president thanked the residents of the state for the warm reception accorded him and his entourage in the Gateway State, which is his first visit to any state in the New Year.
‘‘This welcome by the large crowd brings back the nostalgia of my first arrival on this soil as a young infantry officer in the Nigerian Army at the then Lafenwa Barracks in Abeokuta, not long after independence.
‘‘The traditional hospitality of the people of this state has not waned a bit. Today, I am ‘Omowale’ and very happy at this homecoming to meet my brothers and sisters whose goodwill I have always enjoyed. Thank you,” he said.
The president also congratulated the people of Ogun State for having such a focused, deliberate and inclusive administration under the watch of Abiodun, urging them to continue to support the governor for the successful implementation of the “Building our Future Together” agenda of his administration.
According to him, “The reward for success is more hardwork to meet the increasing expectations of the people.
‘‘When state governments deliver impactful projects, in consultations with stakeholders, like we have witnessed in Ogun State, the trajectory of our national development will be enhanced.’’
The president, who was bestowed with ‘‘honourary indigeneship’’ of the state, said: “It is also with a sense of responsibility that I receive and cherish the honourary indigeneship bestowed on me as symbolized by the presentation of the key to the Gateway State by Governor Abiodun.
‘‘I will leave Ogun State with fond memories and look forward to enjoying the privilege of my honourary indigeneship.’’
Abiodun had earlier in his speech highlighted some of the projects executed by his administration under the acronym “ISEYA”.
He said many projects executed were ready for inauguration but which cannot be done Thursday due to time factor.
He requested that the president would before the end of the year be invited to the state to inaugurate more projects.
The president was received by Ogun State Governor Abiodun and five other governors, including Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, Alhaj Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu of Info State and representative of Oyo State Governor, Mr Rauf Olaniyan.
Also at the reception was Alhaji Aliko Dangote and former governors of the state, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Chief Gbenga Daniel and Chief Olusegun Osoba.