Changing landscape of Lagos: At inspection of projects
Last week, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode embarked on extensive inspection tour of major ongoing projects across key sectors of the state including education, health, tourism and road infrastructure, among others.
The iconic projects, many of which the contractors have assured would be completed before the end of the year, were conceived and implemented to transform the landscape of the state and make life comfortable for residents, as well as improve on the ranking of Lagos as the fifth largest economy in Africa.
Within the first two years in office, the Governor commissioned several projects including two bridges in Abule Egba and Ajah, which were hitherto bedeviled by traffic snarl; scaled up security and emergency rescue operation with state of the art facilities and equipment; constructed several inner roads to open up the hinterland and multiple laybys to ease traffic, among other gigantic projects.
In a recent publication by the State Government, it was revealed that over 100 projects are currently ongoing across all the sectors, and the projects, upon completion, would change the face of Lagos and set the state on a sound pedestal.
As part of efforts to monitor the progress of work and see things for himself, Governor Ambode and top members of his cabinet, visited some of the sites of the projects and the tour offered a first-hand assessment on the work done so far.
The first port of call was the Oworonshoki Lagoon reclamation project, which is designed to transform the blighted area to major tourism, transportation and entertainment hubs.
Speaking at the site, the Governor clarified that contrary to some reports in the media, the project was not a housing scheme but part of the overall programme for Lagos to emerge as the entertainment hub for Africa.
“I have read some reports in the papers insinuating that this project is a housing scheme or whether we want to sell the reclaimed land. That is not the situation and this project is a special one designed to make the state emerge as the tourism hub of Africa,” Governor Ambode said.
He said 30 hectares land space have so far been reclaimed out of the 50 planned for the scheme, while upon completion, the project would end the perennial flooding in the area, and would also accommodate boutique hotel, event centres, cinema, clubs, bars, bus/ferry terminal, parking space with capacity for about 1000 vehicles, among others.
From the Oworonshoki Lagoon reclamation site, the Governor and his team moved to Ilaje and Bariga axis where network of roads were being upgraded in Ilaje, Odunsi and Ariyo streets, and a modern jetty.
While receiving the Governor and his entourage, Chairman of Bariga Local Council Development Area (LCDA), Hon Kolade Alabi said the people of the area were indeed grateful for the projects being implemented to make life comfortable and boost commerce in their neighborhood.
“Apart from the network of roads ongoing, you have also approved another 14 roads to be constructed in Bariga LCDA and we are very appreciative of this. When these projects are completed, they will change the face of our LCDA for good and also boost commerce,” Alabi said.
Responding, Governor Ambode commended the contractor handling the roads and new jetty projects, Messrs Avatar Global Resources Limited for the level of work done so far and the assurance that the projects would be delivered by July.
He recalled the deplorable conditions of the roads before the decision of the government to intervene, saying it was gratifying that the projects were progressing as planned and would soon be commissioned.
“I want to commend the contractors for a job well done; so far so good. We have been assured that the roads and the new jetty through which other parts of the state can be linked through the waterways will be ready by July.
In a bid to further continue with the development of this axis and cater for the growth in economic activities that the projects would facilitate to the area, we are going to immediately commence the construction of a comprehensive health centre in Ashogbon,” the Governor said.
At the inspection of ongoing new Model College in Sabo area of Yaba, which is billed to be delivered in December alongside that of Angus Model College in Shomolu, the Governor said the intention of his administration is to scale up infrastructure in public schools across the state, starting with commencement of massive rehabilitation of public schools.
“What we are seeing here is our new concept of what a model college should look like and that is why in this complex we have about 36 classrooms, nine laboratories and because of the land space here, we don’t really have a recreational facility around but the ones we are building in Ojo and Shomolu, they have all the necessary recreation facilities that should actually go with a modern secondary school.
“The idea is that we want to increase the number of model colleges that we have; we also want to create a new template of how public secondary school should look like, moving forward. This is our own template; this is the way we want to begin with it; we are doing three now; we will move forward next year to expand model colleges in the State,” he said.
The Governor added that his administration accepted the fact that a lot of public schools in the State were not in proper shape, and that in addressing the challenge, the government would soon commence massive rehabilitation of public schools.
“We accept the fact that a whole lot of our public schools actually require immediate attention in terms of rehabilitation and also putting them in proper shape and so in the next few weeks, we would commence a comprehensive rehabilitation of our public schools across the State and bring them to the normal standard that a school should look like.
Our objective is to impact positively on school curriculum in public and private schools and we are committed to that as well as taking education seriously,” Governor Ambode said.
From there, the Governor moved to the Oshodi Transport Interchange being constructed for the State Government by an indigenous firm, Messrs Planet Projects.
The interchange, which is designed to redefine public transportation not only in Lagos but in Nigeria, seeks to create a world class central business district with focus on transportation, security, environment and urban renewal.
The interchange has 3-multi-storey bus terminals with waiting area, loading bays, ticketing stands, drivers lounge, parking areas, conveniences, surveillance tower and CCTV gadgets.
Other features include accessible walkways, pedestrian bridges/sky-walks to link the three terminals, shopping malls with street lighting and a dedicated security team on ground.
Upon completion, the project would bring about organised transport system, boost intra-tourism for Oshodi, bequeath iconic city gateway to the state, ensure secured and comfortable environment, as well as economic growth and job creation.
Speaking after being briefed on the level of work done so far by the contractor and Managing Director, Planet Projects, Mr. Biodun Otunola, Governor Ambode said it was gratifying that such gigantic project was being constructed by a Nigerian firm with 100 per cent Nigerian workers.
“This is a good development for Nigeria. The engineers and workers here are solely Nigerians and it shows that the future prosperity of Nigeria is assured,” he said.
The Oshodi Transport Interchange is expected to be delivered by September, 2018.
Also at the 10-lane Airport Road project being constructed by the state government, the Governor was assured by contractors handling the project that it would be delivered in December, as end of the year gift to Lagos residents and visitors.
The Governor, it would be recalled, had approved the extension of the project to Ladipo International Market axis along Oshodi Apapa Expressway, as well as construction of a pedestrian bridge at Toyota Bus Stop in response to the yearnings of traders and residents of the area.
Speaking at the U-turn flyover point along Airport Road after being briefed by Messrs Hi-Tech Construction Company, the Governor appealed to residents to bear with government for the inconvenience being experienced as a result of the construction work, saying the project was designed to change the face of Lagos for good and improve on the economy.
• Anibaba, a journalist wrote in from Ikorodu.