Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Thursday, 16th April, 2015, formally handed over the rehabilitated and upgraded Wempco Road, Ogba which has also been provided with drainage, saying the road represents the symbol of the state’s unity in diversity.
The Governor who spoke before unveiling the plaque to commission the road which is also provided with streetlights, ducts, pedestrian walkways and bicycle riders lane, added that the roads does not discriminate among people who use it, whether they are black or white.
He reiterated that whether one is an Ijaw, an Igbo or Hausa, the road is where everyone unites irrespective of whether they are pedestrians, motorcyclists, motorists, children and adults alike.
Governor Fashola added that the upgrading of Wempco Road has also taken care of the problem of flooding in the area with the construction of very massive underground drainages that are almost two metres wide and deep and embedded underneath the road.
He explained that all the ducts that are used by telecommunications companies to connect their facility whether it is fibre link, cable or piping is all embedded in the road and that if they have any doubt about how to locate it, they should contact the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) office.
“Let me remind you that we have been busy in this community over the last few months, early last year, we came for the Transfer Loading Station for the sorting, management of waste on Oba Ogunji Road. Few weeks ago, I was here with our team to dedicate the Anthony Enahoro Housing Estate, today we are here essentially to complete another part of our developmental work to give you a first class road with street lights”, he stressed.
He stated that the many hours spent by people returning home during peak periods have now become a thing of the past because of the new road as they face the last leg of their journey home.
While urging users of the road to control their urge to over speed, the Governor emphasized that people who drive heavy duty trucks especially trucks that deliver raw materials and move finished products into the factories and industries around the area must have respect for other road users as the road traffic law is still in force.
He expressed the hope that all of the manufacturing companies located on the road will take responsibility and educate their drivers because they owe a duty to other road users to realize that over speeding with heavy trucks constitute very heavy dangers to other road users and members of the community.
“The fact that there is a better road should not be an incentive to over speeding that endangers people. There is a community right across you where children are growing up and their safety must be a matter of concern. You must not learn after an accident. You must prevent accidents from happening”, he said.
Fashola also explained that he envisaged a situation in which the manufacturing companies who are robust stakeholders and represented by the Managing Director of Friesland can call his colleagues together on how to improve drivers’ training and drivers’ education adding that the State has a Training Institute at Oshodi which the Ministry of Transport can use to help refresh the skills and knowledge and road safety culture of road users.
He also thanked Strabag and Arab Contractors who built the road while people were still using it, adding that it would have been easier to shut it down and that represents the challenge the State faces on roads like this.
“This was a challenge that we face on the Lagos Badagry Expressway. This is the same challenge that we faced on the Lekki- Epe Expressway, it is the same challenge on the Mile 12- Ikorodu Road. It was the same challenge we faced when we were building Funsho Williams Road, Western Avenue, having to build in the very congested area and people using the road with all the inconvenience”, he added.
He charged members of the community and the Community Development Association members to realize that the road was built with their taxes and that anybody that damages the road attacks their prosperity and that they must rise up to protect and defend it.
Governor Fashola reiterated that the contractor has already given an assurance that with proper usage and regular maintenance the Wempco road would serve for the next 25 years at the minimum.
He reiterated that the sidewalk and setbacks are not trading post and should not be converted to mechanic workshops, adding that there is a community market in the area to which all trading activities must be restricted.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Managing Director of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), Dr Dayo Mobereola said the upgraded WEMPCO road will open up businesses and bring about a better quality of life for the residents of the area.
He gave an assurance that the adverse flooding that people in the area hitherto experienced is gone forever and that the rehabilitation of the road would reduce the travel time and stimulate reduction in operation cost benefit.
“More businesses will be attracted and accessibility to businesses within the environment would improve. Also the lifestyle of people would be enhanced with the cost of maintaining vehicles reduced drastically. The provision of bicycle lane would reduce the pollution by 15 percent which would also lead to improvement of health of the people”, he stressed.
In a message of goodwill, retired Justice Ishola Olorunnimbe commended the state Governor for his courage, doggedness and ability to perform against all odds while ensuring that the road is completed to the benefit of the residents.
In another message of goodwill, the Managing Director of Friesland Dairy, Mr Frahul Colaco thanked the Governor for demonstrating a strong sense of commitment to his promise to provide a permanent solution following a devastating flood that ravaged the area in July 2011.
While thanking Governor Fashola for delivering on his words, Colaco said he hopes this would set a great example for the incoming Governor of the State.
The Governor later cut the tape and unveil the plaque to commission the upgraded road at the ceremony which was attended by members of the State Executive Council including the state Commissioners for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Mr Ademorin Kuye; and Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba; and several other dignitaries as well as residents of the area.