By Ebun Sessou
PLANS were on to commence the construction of the fourth mainland bridge when the state government led by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, decided to terminate the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a consortium of firms to build the 4th Mainland Bridge on May 22, 2017. On Tuesday, May 30, the Lagos State House of Assembly set up a six-man-committee to investigate the rationale behind the cancellation. It reported back to the House on June 5, 2017.
The six-man committee chaired by the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Wasiu Sanni Eshinlokun, while the members were Majority Leader, Messers Sanai Agunbiade, Yinka Ogundimu, Moshood Oshun, Muyiwa Jimoh and Bisi Yusuf. The committee was mandated to invite the State Attorney General, Commissioner for Waterfront, Commissioner for Finance and the state Chairman of Lagos Global to clarify the termination of the contract and submit a report to the House on Monday, June 5.
In a phone interview with Vanguard,the Majority Leader, Mr. Sanai Agunbiade, one of the members of the committee, said that the report has been given to the House as expected, adding that, there is a procedure to be followed before presenting the report. “The House has a procedure. The committee has laid the report, it is now the responsibility of the House to do justice to the report”, he said. Although, the construction of the bridge was long overdue because the two past administrations have promised to construct the same bridge but it was not possible.
The 4th mainland bridge project
The proposal to construct the bridge was brought to the fore on May 26, 2016 by the present administration when the MoU for the 36 km bridge was signed. The bridge according to consortium firm, if constructed will reduce the pressures that threaten to paralyse the city’s circulation, its growth and its people.
The operation will be the insertion of a bypass; a bridge within the body of Lagos. According to the framework by the consortium firm, Missing Link Motorway Co, the fourth mainland bridge will not be yours typical infrastructure but such that will connect people in large numbers improving the natural flow through a reorganization of vehicular, waterways, and pedestrian modes of transportation.
“The two level bridge will not only function as a means for vehicular traffic on its upper level but it will stimulate and accommodate pedestrian, social, commercial and cultural interactions on its lower level. The fourth mainland bridge in conjunction with existing road networks would establish a primary ring road around Lagos. This ring road will provide alternative traffic routes from Lekki to Ikorodu, Ikeja to Ajah, relieving the third Mainland bridge of its overstretched capacity. With this improved flow of people across Lagos, the city will be relieved of traffic congestion, will maximize its great opportunities and grow better”, it said.
Raising the issue of the cancellation under urgent matters of public importance on the floor of the House, Mr Dayo Famakinwa (APC-Amuwo-Odofin) said the project would have led to massive employment and an increase in Internally Generated Revenue of the state. According to him, the project will ease movement of goods and services and lead the nation out of recession.
He said: “When the contract was signed by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, a majority of the people of Lagos were happy. But we read in the newspapers last week that the contract was cancelled and this raised a lot of concerns. We need to know what the issues are. Residents of Lagos were happy with the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state and at the centre.”
Contributing to the matter, Mr Olanrewaju Ogunyemi, the Chairman, House Committee on Education, also said the project had attracted the interest of many people in the state. Ogunyemi said the project would improve the image of the governor and the party. The lawmaker said that Governor Ambode should also explain the outcome of the SMART City Project signed with the City of Dubai to the House.
Several other lawmakers also took turns to speak on the matter, referring to the Public Private Partnership Law of 2015. They said the law made it mandatory for the state government to inform the House of any arrangement with private companies on any matter. Agunbiade, the majority leader, said it was wrong for the executive not to obey that section of the law.