By Kingsley Adegboye
Against the backdrop of the slow pace at which some critical road projects in Lagos are moving, coupled with the attendant challenges faced by movement of people and goods, Lagos State gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress APC, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has pledged to improve on the quality of living standards in the state if elected governor in the coming general elections.
Echoing the commitment of his principal and his passion to ensure the completion of ongoing critical road projects that include the Lagos Badagry Expressway, Sanwoolu’s Running mate, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, while fielding questions from respondents on Radio programme last week, assured Lagosians of their commitment to ensuring early completion of the expressway.
According to Hamzat, both Badagry and Lekki-Epe expressways are so critical to the economy of Lagos, that no effort must be spared to ensure their early completion. To this end, issue of the proposed 4th Mainland Bridge may be delayed.
“Specifically, the ongoing 60-kilometre Lagos-Badagry Expressway project being executed by the state government must be completed as early as possible. The project has two major intermodal transport schemes namely; the Lagos-Badagry Expressway and the Light Rail Mass Transit with their accompanying infrastructure- 10 lanes superhighway taking off from Eric Moore interchange and traverses westward through Orile Iganmu, Alaba Oro, Mile 2, Festac, Agboju, Iyana Iba, Okokomaiko, Iyana Era, Ijanikin, Agbara, Ibereko and terminated at Badagry.
“The goal is to connect Lagos with the ECOWAS countries. The initiative would no doubt, enhance the commercial and other business activities between the affected neighbouring countries”. Hamzat said.
Besides, he acknowledged the importance of Lekki-Epe Expressway, which he said would be expanded and reconstructed, especially, from where it stopped now to the Lekki Free Trade Zone LFTZ, in Akodo.
“Just like the Badagry Expressway, Lekki-Epe axis is also critical, in view of the ongoing enormous development taking place in the axis, there is need to review the issue of Fourth Mainland Bridge. For now, the project must be put in abeyance, because technical reports from experts revealed that the volume of traffic along the axis cannot cope with additional ones that the 4th Mainland bridge will engender.
“What we intend to do, if we form government is to begin the construction of Coastal Roads from Ajah axis to Ibeju-Lekki, and possibly compete the abandoned portion of the Expressway from Ibeju to Epe; linking it to Ijebu-Ode, where trucks and other articulated vehicles coming to LFTZ would avoid Ijebu-Ode-Itoikin road”, Said the APC Deputy Governor candidate, who assured that their government would massively invest to boost the already existing facilities as well as initiating new ones across the state.
Hamzat, a former Lagos Commissioner for Science and Technology, as well as Works and Infrastructure, said his principal, Sanwo-Olu and himself were not novice to government, having being in the system for quite a while.
On the challenges of the ever growing population of Lagos, which its agreed that is currently over 20 million, with a projected figure of close to 30 million in the next decade, Hamzat emphasized the need to be proactive ahead of the time.
“Lagos population is humongous, despite her being the smallest State in Nigeria with a land area of 3, 577 square kilometres. This translates that it occupies a paltry 0.4 per cent of total land area of Nigeria, which is 923,768 square kilometres”, he said, adding that Lagos has more than two million vehicles on her roads, out of about12 million vehicles on the Nigeria roads as a whole.
Drawing from statistical figures obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Hamzat disclosed that about 260, 000 people come into the state daily, while only about 20-25 percent of this figure return to their original places of migration. This huge migration influx to the city, he noted, is over stretching the existing infrastructure and facilities, thereby making for an urgent need to be innovative in providing infrastructure in the state.
He assured that their plan would be to expand and improve on existing infrastructure project. ‘Government is a continuum and we will continue with existing projects to the benefit of Lagos. Our focus remains ‘Towards a Greater Lagos: A Collective Effort’, he added.