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Clearing 15 years of infrastructural mess

By Olasunkanmi Akoni & Monsur Olowopejo

Governor Babatunde Fashola of     Lagos recently marked his 800th day in the saddle of leadership and affirmed that the responsibility of his administration and the present generation is simply to provide the platform and environment that will unleash the power and potential of the Lagos, especially the Nigerian youth.

According to him: “We have become the continental leaders in many fields like sports, music, fashion and business to mention a few and that convinces me that we can be leaders in all fields.

“What has kept us back is that we have been engaged for too long in fighting for the survival of our country and development has not taken place at the necessary pace to match the growth in population.

“This is why life seems difficult, this is why new jobs are not emerging; this is a 30-year deficit which we are determined to reverse and this is why you must understand why we do what we do. We are building at an aggressive pace to provide more roads and create choices to ease traffic congestion; we are rebuilding and repairing classrooms and schools, new hospitals, new stadia, water works as well as markets to expand opportunities for as many of you as we can.

We are clearing canals and drainages that in some cases have not been attended to in the last 15 years or more”. Indeed this is a familiar subject for Fashola as he has often reiterated the need for high quality, road construction, maintenance and rehabilitation modalities in the state.

*Work in progress at a construction site in Lagos.
*Work in progress at a construction site in Lagos.

Last week, news men were conducted round some of the projects in order to access the level of work as well as quality of materials used for the construction.

However, to implement the state government’s dream on infrastructural development, the state Ministry of Works and Infrastructure also came up with a zonal approach method towards road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance in the state. It classified these roads according to their peculiarities.

The roads and bridges were therefore programmed into phases spanning between 2007 and 2011. Most of the projects embarked upon by the Ministry within the last 800 days are in various stages of completion across the 57 local government areas.

The Lagos-Badagry corridor is also considered of strategic importance to the development of Lagos as a megacity. This is because it serves as the principal route between the city centres on Lagos Island and the Mainland as well as the sea port areas of Apapa and Tin Can Island.

The present state of the road has become so deplorable which has led to serious traffic congestion and has become a nightmare to motorists plying this axis. Journeys which should take15-30 minutes last for between three to four hours. This intractable congestion has negatively impacted on the economic activities of the state as well as reduces the potential for future growth of business activities along this corridor.

It is in this regard that the state government says it embarked on the comprehensive re-design of the road and the subsequent placement of tender advertisement for its construction.

Many Lagosians find it gratifying that in fulfilment of its promise to transform the road into a 10 Lane super highway with BRT corridor and light rail facility, the Lagos State Government recently mobilised the contractors of the Project Messrs Julius Berger PLC to commence operation at the site. The Governor recently held a stakeholders meeting with all the interest groups along the corridors and they were reported to have  given the state government the go-ahead on the project.

Among the objectives of the project are to support existing economic activity along the corridor, to support potential (residential and economic growth, to improve the quality of life of Lagosians as well as to further promote international trade between Nigeria and its neighbouring countries.

The state government also makes boast of the execution of projects covering all the local government areas. For instance in Epe LGA construction of roads network is sad to have  reached advanced stage in areas like Epe Local Estate, Itamarun and Epe.

In order to improve dispensation of justice in the area, the council embarked on the construction of magistrate courts. However, Gov. Fashola who noted the deplorable state of the state magistrate and High Courts which impacted negatively on the administration of Justice in the state stressed the need to re-design, construct and rehabilitate all the public buildings to meet the present day challenges. Also given priority was the   provision of mini Independent Power Projects (IPP) and streetlights.

Receiving similar attention was Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area where the dualisation of Mobil Boundary Road is said to have reached 93 percent completion, a development which also applies to the construction of Wilmer Crescent / Akpiri Street and Wilmer/Osho drive and Bridge Street that is presently at 76 percent. For Olumokun/Olayinka/ Sanusi/Oduduwa Street, work is said to be at 68 percent completion.

Other projects include construction Of magistrate courts in Ajegunle and Maternal Child Care Centre at Alimosho LGA.

CITY BRIEFS

Youth, crucial to nation’s development- Commissioner
Commissioner for Youth, Sports and Social Development Prince Adedamola Adeniji-Adele has said the youth must be involved in the nation’s development so as to develop the potentials in them.

Speaking Wednesday at an award ceremony and empowerment programme organised by Women Development International Association (WODIA) in collaboration with Agbado-Okeodo Local Council Development Area (LCDA) to commemorate the International Youth Day, he reiterated his commitment to afford the youths opportunity to attain their potentials in the State.

The Commissioner who was represented by his Senior Youth Development Officer, Mrs Funmilola Disu, said youth problems would be a forgotten issue if parents and guardians can tackle the issue with holistic approach. “NGOs have a major role to play in tackling problems associated with youths. Holistic approach must be used to tackle youths problems,” he said.

Also speaking, WODIA Chairperson, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Egbeoluwa emphasised the need for vocational training among the youths. “I encourage the youth to go for vocational training in relevant trades as a way of boosting their skills and providing more job opportunities for them. A university graduate with flair for garment making, should go to relevant institutions to learn it. Never say you are too academic oriented to learn any trade.

YODEF tasks  govt on youth development
As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s United nations International Youth Day (IYD), Nigerian governments have been urged to rededicate themselves to the cause of youth development and empowerment in the country.

Making the call at a press conference to mark the IYD in Lagos with the theme: Sustainability: Our Challenge Our Future,” the President- General of the Youth Development & Empowerment Foundation (YODEF), Mr. Uche Udungwor regretted that Nigerian youths are faced with daunting challenges that invariably make their future look very bleak.

Udungwor further blamed the problems being faced by the Nigerian youths on the insensitivity and non-people-oriented policies that characterise governance in the country.

Citing many developed societies where the system and frame – work of government and of course, general policies are geared towards the well – being of her citizenry, he regretted that the case is different in Nigeria and Africa in general, adding that non-people oriented policies militate against the overall development of these countries with Nigeria ranking high in this category.

Frowning on the on-going face -off between  government and members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Udungwor  condemned government’s attitude to ASUU plights, declaring that Nigerian youths are in a state of uncertainty.


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