Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, Sunday, 8th March, 2015 commissioned the Glover Road in Ikoyi saying the coming presidential and other elections was not about new promises but about records of service and what was done about promises made to the electorates four years ago.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at the venue of the hand over which took place in front of the residence of elder statesman, Otunba Subomi Balogun, said the road handover was another promise kept by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration recalling that the road was a promise that he made to the community when the government opened the Lekki–Ikoyi Link Bridge last year.
“I am happy to be here to come and fulfill a promise that I made to this community when we opened Lekki – Ikoyi Link Bridge, I remembered during my address at the opening of that link bridge, that it was the beginning of our work in reducing the travel time, in bringing greater connectivity and choice for commuters in this community and Ikoyi generally”, the Governor said.
According to him, with the road in place, residents would no longer have to drive all the way down through Alexandra, Gerald roads if they were going to another part of Ikoyi as government begins to upgrade more roads in Ikoyi to create choice for commuters. “Glover Road was the first road that we picked in fulfillment of that promise”, he said.
Advancing reasons why the road was the first to be delivered, Governor Fashola said “First for its historic role and also because of its length which is 1.2 kilometres which intercepts Kingsway Road and helps us to disperse and distribute traffic up to the other side of Ikoyi and for those going through Obalende and Ikoyi and those going to join the Third Mainland Bridge.
“That was the strategic purpose for Glover Road. It has nothing to do with any personality as Otunba Subomi Balogun has rightly said; he is a resident here, a community leader here and his house is here so if he benefits from it that is the purpose for which he pays taxes”, the Governor said.
Also predicting that political opponents would say his administration built the road because of the elite living there, Governor Fashola, who recalled that the area was initially dominated by white residents, said the area still has a large number of people who come there every day to earn their living adding that such ordinary Nigerians comprising both skilled and unskilled labour still come there to earn their living every morning.
The Governor declared, “Yes, Ikoyi is prime real estate, it has always been since the colonial days, in fact at one time, majority of the people who lived here were all whites, many Nigerians and Africans used to come here to work and the truth is that even as many Nigerians now live here, many people still earn their livelihood from Ikoyi.
“They do not live here; they come here every morning as drivers, they come here every morning as cooks, they come here every morning as nannies, as gardeners, there are also business premises around here, bankers, stewards in hotels, caterers, you know what they share in common? Every time they come to Ikoyi in the morning, they leave their homes and say one simple thing, ‘I am going to work”.
He said with the commissioning of the road, his administration’s work on Glover Road had been concluded, adding: “We have finished the road, the street lighting is there, the bicycle lane is there for those who want to ride bicycles the healthier way to travel especially short and middle distances, it is a safer way and for me the work continues the work is going on now in First Avenue, Ikoyi Club 1938 road, all the way through the Bank Road connecting from here through to Obalende”.
Noting that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had criticized the building of Ikoyi Link Bridge as expensive, Governor Fashola declared, “It is important to emphasis that we started the Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge in 2010, in three years we finished the first class Architectural masterpiece that has put Lagos back on the global Architectural reckoning.
“For our political opponents, they say it is expensive, they say every negative thing about it, but we used the same contractor, Julius Berger, to build that bridge and the same contractor has not been able to help them to deliver the Second Niger Bridge that the President promised since 2011, that is the different between us and them”, he said.
Among the promises also kept, the Governor said, was the commissioning of the fifth Independent Power Plant which his administration has built “to power the Lekki Water works, Ikoyi Waterworks and Victoria Island Waterworks, adding that the IPP became necessary “because we cannot get a reliable power supply from the Federal Government Grid.
“We have also lit up several streets in Lekki this evening and the driving experience of the residents of Lekki will change irreversibly for the better from tonight, the security in Lekki will be better with public street lighting and so that was why you have to tarry a little for me to get here”, he said adding that the opposition party was interested in bringing money to share to the electorate close to election times, the money they could have used to build infrastructure and better the life of citizens.
“We built you a bridge; they were bringing you money in the twilight of elections. Is it money you want or service? Do you want me to take that bridge down and give you money instead? So for those who say there is no difference in the two parties, there is a clear difference, we do the work they share the money”.
He expressed dismay that the ruling party continues to come back to the electorates with new promises without keeping the old ones, adding, “I have said time and again, that the issue in the Presidential election is not new promises by the PDP Presidential Candidate; it is his records of service and about what he has done with the promises he made in 2011”.
Reiterating that the road would reduce travel time for the users, both residents and workers, Governor Fashola said the road is the product of tax payers’ money adding that the value of the properties in the area would grow as a result of the new road while many more thousands of gardeners, cooks, stewards, and teachers would find their ways to the place they earn their livelihood every day.
On other advantages of the road, Governor Fashola, who described road as a leveler, declared, “Whether you own a car or you are a pedestrian; whether you are a cyclist or a motorcyclist, we all feel the value of a good road as we feel the impact of a bad road.
“If you are a pedestrian, there will be less mud and less water on your shoes; if you walk on good roads, your shoes will last longer. If you are a motorist, your vehicle will travel smoother and you will conserve fuel and save money; if you are a motorcyclist, the different shocks and bumps will reduce and you will have a smoother ride, your Keke Marwa and Okada will go less frequently to the mechanics and the repairer. What we all have in common is that we will save money because your taxes have helped you to build a good road”.
He urged residents to take ownership and protect the road against cutting or other abuses adding that with good care the road could last for no less than 30 years and as much as 50 years if it is kept in good condition.
“Yes, this road is situated in Ikoyi but it does not belong to the people of Ikoyi; every resident of Lagos seeking to connect through to Lekki and Obalende is entitled and legitimately authorized to drive through this road because it was built with taxpayers’ contributions; it was built by common contributions and it must be enjoyed as a common wealth”, the Governor said praying that all those who drive through the roads do so safely and continue to prosper.
In his goodwill message at the occasion, Otunba Subomi Balogun, prominent entrepreneur and elder statesman living in the area, congratulated Governor Fashola for his landmark achievements which he said have lifted the life of the people of Lagos, adding “When history records the beautifying of Lagos, particularly Ikoyi, after Bourdillon, Glover Road will rank as one of the best that you have done. You have performed creditably well”.
Earlier in his welcome address the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, noted that the 1.21 kilometre Glover Road would allow easy access to the Ikoyi Link Bridge, adding that it was practically impossible to do all roads in Lagos in one term.
“So we are strategic in selections, as we said many times, Lagos in most areas is two metres below Sea Level. What that means is that when we build roads we are not just moving people, we also move water. We also notice here that it has a bicycle lane, the essence is that we want to encourage ourselves to ride bicycles again; we used to ride bicycle in Lagos, so as to separate the cyclists from the cars’’, he added.
The Commissioner reiterated that Glover Road was another standard road that has ducts underneath which would allow the telecoms companies and power businesses as well as anybody that wants to do anything on the roads to do whatever they need to do without digging up the road for any purpose.
Among those who were at the handover ceremony are: Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, Hon. Gbolahan Yishau, APC Deputy Governorship Candidate for Lagos State, Dr (Mrs.) Idiat Oluranti Adebule, state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu, state Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Ayo Gbeleyi and his Economic Planning and Budget counterpart, Mr. Ben Akabueze as well as top government functionaries and APC chieftains.