Ogun State government has sought the permission of the federal government to dualise three major Federal roads, linking the state and Lagos under the public, private sector partnership arrangement.
The roads are, Ikorodu – Ogijo – Shagamu road, Epe – Ijebu – Ode road and Lagos – Ota – Abeokua road.
The state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, made the request when he led a delegation of elders and leaders of thought from Ogun State on courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Abiodun, who said the main reason for the visit was to thank President Buhari for recognising the late Chief MKO Abiola as the winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election and honouring him with the highest honour of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
Speaking more on the roads, Abiodun said the reason behind the request is for purely economic reasons and for the ease of connectivity and access for the citizens not just from the two states but from other parts of the country.
The governor who noted that the roads are grossly underfunded, said a billion allocation to a road like Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta that was first contracted in 2001 and yet not completed in 2019, and yet needs additional N26 billion to complete will go on for 26 years if the present model of funding continues.
The governor said: “Ogun is named the gateway state for a reason, we are the gateway to one of the biggest economies on this continent, which is Lagos. You cannot go from Lagos to anywhere else without going through Ogun State.
“Consequently, we the gateway state stand to benefit from providing all the services that Lagos may need, that will also put us in a position where we should be the economic capital of this country.
“Today, we have the largest industrial hubs in Nigeria. Every for-trend 500 company today is in Ogun state, it is there for a reason, our contagiousness to Lagos, the access, the connectivity between Ogun and Lagos.
“So for us, our vision in this administration which is to provide focused and qualitative governance, whilst providing an enabling environment for a public, private sector partnership which we believe is fundamental to economic growth of the state and individual prosperity of the citizens.
“If we indeed are to create that enabling environment, we must ensure that access, the connectivity, the ease with which people can move between Lagos, which has a primary port and Ogun which is a processing zone and Lagos which is also the market, people must be able to move with relative ease between Lagos and Ogun and between Ogun and other states. We border Republic of Benin, Oyo, Ondo and Osun states.
So for us, when we realised that we were beginning to lose that relative ease, the Lagos-Ibadan Express way today remains the primary link between Lagos and the rest of the country. And yes that road is under construction but you will notice that that corridor has far developed in excess of what was anticipated when that contract was awarded.
“So, consequently we need to look at alternative roads. Shagamu to Ikorodu is one alternative road that is parallel to Lagos-Ibadan express road. Epe-Ijebu Ode is another alternative road, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta is another alternative road. These are roads that lead to industrial corridor.
“Today, those roads, Shagamu to Ikorodu, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta are federal roads. We appreciate what the federal government is doing particularly around the whole country but we know that there is limited funds available to put in all projects.
“Those roads are grossly underfunded. For example, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta was contracted in 2001, this is 2019 that road is not completed. That road is on its fourth agendum, this year the budget for that road is about a billion naira. That road requires another N26 billion to complete and we know we cannot burden the federal government.
“So we are graciously asking them, ditto for Shagamu-Ikorodu. Those roads are extremely important to us.
If the Shagamu-Ikorodu road is given to us, it will ease the traffic that is going on the Lagos-Ibadan express way.
“If we construct Epe-Ijebu Ode road, it means people coming from East and from Ijebu no longer have to go through the Lagos Ibadan Express Way. Also if you look at the corridor that goes from Lagos-Abeokuta, if that road is indeed completed, it means all these roads will suffer less wear and tear. That same road goes to Agbara which is one of our biggest industry hub.
“So, we are asking for these roads for purely economic reasons and also for the ease of connectivity and access for our people. Our people live in Ogun and work in Lagos, atimes they have to wake up at 4am to be able to make it to Lagos at 8am. We need to improve this and this is the mandate that has been given to us.
“So what we intend to do between my Lagos State counterpart and I, is to find alternative funding for the roads. That is why we said we are going to create an enabling environment for a public, private sector partnership. We have identified public, private sector partners who are willing to invest, because these roads are commercially viable roads. We can through PPP fund this road and we will immediately commence works on them and bring them to completion in no time. Because, you can imagine if a billion naira is being budgeted yearly and there is N26 billion already on the table, which means it will probably be completed in 26 years, in the meantime wear and tear is continuous on that road, that road will probably not be finished under the current model. That is why Baba (Segun Osoba) has joined us in graciously asking Mr. President to commit that road to Lagos and Ogun State government.”
In the delegation were the deputy governor of the state, Mrs. Noimot Salako, former governors of the state, Chief Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former deputy governors of the state, Senator Gbenga Kaka and Prince Segun Adesegun.
Also in the team were sons and daughters of Abiola including Kola Abiola and Hafsat Abiola-Costello; Senator Olabiyi Durojaye, Senator Lanre Tejuoso, Oba Otudeko, some present and former members of the National Assembly in the state and traditional rulers.