By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode often says the vision of his administration is to make Lagos Africa’s model megacity and global economic and financial hub in a secure environment while providing efficient transportation system and good road infrastructure.
So, when the governor announced the plan by his administration in 2016 to rehabilitate 114 roads in the 57 local councils and LCDAs in the state in six months, amid the economic recession confronting the country, many hailed the vision but were doubtful over the successful implementation.
Ambode proved the doubting Thomases wrong by delivering the roads.
He also promised that road rehabilitation on massive scale would be a yearly ritual in all the councils in the state.
It was in fulfillment of that promise that the governor, at the first quarter of 2017 Town Hall meeting, held in Ajelogo, Akanimodo, Mile 12, disclosed that plans had been concluded to rehabilitate 181 roads this year, while the process for the award of the contract would commence soon.
The event was attended by the state Deputy Governor, Mrs. Idiat Adebule; Senator Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East; members of the state House of Assembly; the Oba of Lagos, Rilwanu Akiolu; among others.
In implementing the ‘Operation 114 Roads’ the state government, through the 20 Local Government Areas and the 37 LCDAs, as well as the Community Development Associations (CDAs), selected two roads in each of the 57 councils for rehabilitation, but in the latest exercise, some councils will have more than two roads, especially in areas where there is need to fix roads linking major roads, to improve on the road network.
During the interactive session at the Town Hall Meeting, many of the requests were mostly on roads owing to the success of the 114 roads delivered in September 2016.
“I want to pronounce here that you should watch out next week in the newspapers, we are advertising 181 roads which would be done in all our local governments.
“What we have found out is that if we decided to continue with two, some of those roads are not linking each other to the main road, so most likely you would see that if we are supposed to do some roads in some local governments, it would only make economic sense if there is a linkage. So you would see in the advert that some local governments would have, say three, some would have four roads, but the average is 181 and if you divide that by 57, that would be a minimum of three roads for each local government,” the governor said.
The choice of the roads to be rehabilitated is left to the local governments in conjunction with state government engineers, and the project is expected to be ready before the end of the year.
Giving the account of his stewardship in the last quarter of 2016, Ambode said the choice of Akanimodo, Mile 12 as venue for the Town Hall meeting was to show that the axis had not been left behind in the developmental process going on in the state, saying he had come to listen to the needs of the people and where government intervention was in dire need.
According to him, in the last quarter of 2016, his administration kicked off its “Rent-To-Own and Rental Housing Policy” aimed at providing affordable housing units across the state, disclosing that there are 4,355 housing units available with over 500 applicants pre-qualified so far.
On agriculture, Lagos, he said, is already looking to build on the success of its partnership with Kebbi State government with the launch of Lake Rice in December 2016. In the current quarter, the government, he disclosed, has concluded plans to rehabilitate Oko-Oba Abattoir and Lairage Complex, Agege in line with the promise to increase meat production output, develop the red meat value chain and restructure the complex for improved operations.
In strengthening grassroots security, Ambode assured that the Neighbourhood Safety Corps would become operational in the current quarter with the recruitment of 5,700 personnel, while 100 would be deployed to each of the local governments to complement the efforts of other security agencies in policing the state.
As the state gets set to mark its Golden Jubilee on May 27, the governor said his administration would continue with its urban regeneration initiatives by building new infrastructure and maintaining existing ones.
He listed some of the key urban regeneration projects to be executed to include Agric-Isawo-Arepo Road in Ikorodu, Ajelogo–Akanimodo Road Rehabilitation, Oshodi to Murtala Mohammed Airport Road, Ketu-Alapere Inner Roads Phase II, Oke Oso–Araga–Poka in Epe, Topo Garage to VIP Chalet in Badagry, Ladipo Market Road and Multilayer Car Park, Mushin and establishment of Bus Terminals and depots in Yaba, Ikeja, Oyingbo, Anthony, Ketu and Toll Gate, while more beneficiaries will receive funding from the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund in January.
“As we continue the task of ensuring good governance in our dear state, I am confident that 2017 will bring succor and new opportunities that will foster prosperity for Lagos State and all its residents. Our party, the APC, remains focused on making Lagos the progressive sign post for all. I thank all our party leaders and members for their loyalty and support,” the governor said.
Like Oliver Twist, residents took turns to ask questions on issues of concern to them.
A resident, Chief R.O Ajayi, inundated the governor with a barrage of infrastructural development requests for Agboyi community and environs including construction of roads, link bridges, pedestrian bridge, rehabilitation and return of Ajegunle Junior High School, among others.
Another resident, Olumide Folami, drew the attention of the governor to the flooding in Princess Bola Kazeem area, as well as the need for government to construct schools and health centre in the area.
Alhaja Dalemo Olukoga, the Community Development Committee (CDC) chairperson for Ikorodu West, and Prince Ladega Ibrahim Olukoga, also brought to the fore the need to provide health centre and secondary school for Ikorodu West, new market on available land space at Fola Ahmed Street, fixing of the Itoikin road and transformation of the Agboyi-Ketu community.
Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, in his remarks, urged Ambode to give priority to the construction of Adeniji-Adele Road and ensure the construction of other roads that deserve utmost attention in Lagos Island.
He also asked for the improvement of the standard of markets in the area, while urging total reconstruction of non-approved and unauthorised buildings already built within major markets in Lagos Island.
Akiolu pleaded with Lagosians to continue to cooperate with the state administration as well as desist from any form of clandestine meetings that may undermine the progress of the Ambode administration.
Responding to questions that bordered on security, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fatai Owoseni said with the continued support of the state government, the Command increased the number of personnel in Ketu-Epe Police Post from two to 70 to combat kidnapping and other crimes in Agbowa, Itoikin and environs, as well as transformed the hitherto abandoned Iyun Police Post to anti-kidnapping unit, while two gun boats were moved to Ejirin.
Owoseni urged traditional rulers and community elders to prevail on their subjects, especially the youths, on the need to be law abiding, shun all forms of criminal activities, and be engaged in lawful means of livelihood.
LASG response to requests
The governor, gave instant answers to some of the residents’ questions, while he directed ministries and agencies of government to intervene in areas requiring intervention.
For instance, Ambode directed that a stakeholders’ meeting should be convened on the issue of Ilaje Road in Bariga raised by one Elder Omoniyi owing to the fact that the road was narrow and some houses would have to give way for rehabilitation.
On Irawo Road, Governor Ambode ordered the Public Works Corporation to move to site within seven days and complete the project.
While responding to a question on the provision of health centres, Special Adviser to Ambode on Primary Health Care, Dr. Femi Onanuga, said the state government had 288 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) across Lagos with plans to construct another two while renovation was in progress on 35.
Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Babatunde Adejare, said the “Cleaner Lagos Initiative,” CLI, of the state administration would be implemented and a total of 40,000 people would be employed starting from June 2017.
A member of the Lagos State House of Assembly representing Kosofe II, Tunde Buraimoh, and Prince Rotimi Agunsoye representing Kosofe Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, described the forum as apt, saying it was important for government and the governed to meet and decide on issues of governance.