The Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, SAN on Tuesday, 3rd March, 2015 officially handed over the Maidan-Aina-Agiliti network of roads and bridge in the Kosofe Local Government, stating that the successful completion of the project is a promise made and kept which is an evidence of change and good governance.
The Governor who spoke before cutting the tape to declare the road and four others including Oremerin/Ibikunle, Oniyanrin, Ajanlekoko- Oluwo and Adeyeye added that shortly after he was sworn in, in year 2007, he came to Agiliti and the plea from the residents is that flooding has cut away the community from Kosofe for over 50 years and that they would be happy if he can construct jetty or a culvert for them in view of their helplessness.
According to Fashola, his reply then was to assure the people that since they pay their taxes they would not get a jetty to navigate with their canoes but would instead get a standard bridge which is the responsibility of the responsive government that they have put in place.
He described the Maidan- Aina- Agiliti roads as another evidence of slum regeneration and urban renewal, adding that whenever he listens to the candidate of the main opposition party saying the current administration has not regenerated the slums, it is a clear demonstration that he does not know Lagos at all.
“So when I hear the pretender to my office who is trapped under the umbrella, I feel so sorry for him because it is becoming more obvious that he does not know Lagos. Because if he knows a place like Maidan- Agiliti he would not have made such statement but as I have said his knowledge of Lagos is limited to his being driven from his home to the Airport.
“I was here in 2007 and 2008 and have been here every year until we came now. It was overtaken by flood. Canoe was the only means. They asked to make them boxed culverts and to make them a jetty and somebody said the community has been separated from Kosofe for over 50 years”, he explained.
He reiterated that today, he is a happy man because the new roads and Bridge has brought prosperity to all the people in the area, with the traders commuting easily with their wares and Landlords also enjoying an increase in rate of properties due to the new roads.
Governor Fashola also said for him, a government must stand for something or it will fall for everything, stressing that for him, the project represents the value of democracy where voters can hold politicians responsible for the promises that they made to them.
“Any politician who makes you a promise and comes back after four years without fulfilling those promises and is promising you that he would do more, must be voted out. Any politician who cannot make definitive positive impact in your life within his first term of office will not do anything during the second term.
“In the second term, he is not accountable to you anymore. This is the only time you can hold him, when he is seeking reelection. In this campaign, the PDP Presidential candidate can make all sorts of promises but for me as a citizen, this issue is no longer about promises. The issue is about his record of performance. It is not about what I will do because I cannot change him if he doesn’t do anything in the next four years. This is the only time I have to hold him to account and I will vote to change him”, he reiterated.
Governor Fashola said if Nigerians vote to change the Presidential candidate of the PDP, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, the citizens would have changed a government that has disappointed them, adding that all his life, it was the military that always changed governments that performed below expectation.
”This is the first time that you have the opportunity to change a government that has not fulfilled its promises and that is what democracy is all about. It is not about whether he is my brother or handsome. Politicians are not voted to be handsome but to be improving the life of the people, not about where he comes from. The President has not offended me as a person but as a citizen he has not done his job, he has not given me electricity; he has not managed this economy well.
“The Dollar is getting stronger and my local currency is getting weaker. So if I have to buy anything imported I have to pay more. So that is not personal or religious, it is just that his best is not good enough. So I want to change him. If we change him, the message we will send to politicians is that no politician will come to you again to come and tell lies”, he added.
Continuing, Fashola stated that the forthcoming elections in reality means that the power of the voter is real because if the electorates change President Jonathan and elect General Buhari and he too does not do well, they can remove him at the next elections.
He stated that this is the first time and the greatest opportunity that the voting electorates have to hold politicians to the promises they make, adding that he as a leader came to Agiliti to redeem his promise to the residents about road and bridge.
Noting that the best politics is good policies and development and not about sharing Dollars or rice around as he has learnt that some politicians have come to town to do now, the Governor said if the Nigerian economy is in good shape it would be possible for every resident to be able to afford rice and kerosene that are being shared by the politicians that have just come to town to sway voters to support them.
“Our work is not finished, for the 800 metres stretch remaining that the residents want us to complete, let us make a promise here today that if you vote for all my party candidates at all levels during the general elections, I assure you that we will come and finish that road. It is social contract, you want something, I promise you that I would do it.
“You stand in the sun and in the rain and you will vote. Once you finish voting, be sure that you will see me in the sun and in the rain and I have been there for the last eight years. Because I always remember that you voted for me in the sun, you stood in the rain, I cannot hide under the canopy when it is my turn to fulfill my part, you have fulfilled your vote. That is why today you are seating down under canopy while I am in the sun. This is the real opportunity for you to show that you are the masters”, he explained.
The Governor warned that if the people fail to change the Government at the centre now, the Dollar that is now exchanging for over N210 may go as high as N300 to One Dollar, adding that instead of the Federal Government providing a solution to the ongoing fuel scarcity, it is accusing the All Progressives Congress (APC) of being responsible for it.
He thanked his Special Adviser on Works, Engineer Ganiyu Johnson who commenced work on the project and the state Commissioner for Works, Dr Femi Hamzat who completed it, all the staff who worked on the project and the main contractors, Messrs CCCEC for a job well done.
Speaking earlier, the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr Femi Hamzat said the new roads include Ibikunle Oremerin, Oniyanrin, Ajanlekoko- Oluwo and Adeyeye and have all been designed to handle flooding that comes with opening of Oyan Dam in the area.
He added that the Bridge which is 300 metres length is also heavily fortified with 364 piles and can last up to 300 years, just as the roads have been provided with service ducts to prevent cutting for laying pipes.
He urged the residents and the Community Development Associations to take ownership of the roads and Bridge that have been provided to improve commuting as it has been provided for them with tax payers money.
Messages of goodwill were delivered by several people including the Consul General of the Chinese Embassy in Lagos, Mr Liu Khan who commended the high level of cooperation existing between China and Nigeria.
While commending the Lagos State Government for the confidence reposed in the Chinese company, he added that several projects worth billions of dollars have been successfully handled by the CCCEC Company in Nigeria and that avenues still exist for more of such bilateral agreements between both countries.
Also in separate messages of goodwill, the Executive Secretary of Ikosi- Isheri LCDA, Mr Afolabi Bamishe, the Hausa Community leader in the area, Alhaji Shehu Usman and the Igbo Community leader, High Chief Kelvin Nwaoha all commended the Governor for redeeming a promise made to the people.
Alhaji Usman said some private schools that have closed shop because of the former bad state of the roads in the area have now reopened and admitting students which has made learning an enjoyable experience for them.
They all promised to ensure that in the forthcoming general elections, the APC had a clean sweep of votes in the area as a show of appreciation for the good works which the administration has carried out for the people.
The Governor later cut the tape to formally hand over the roads and bridge at the event which also had members of the State Executive including the state Commissioners for Local Government and Chieftaincy, Mr Ademorin Kuye; Information and Strategy, Mr Lateef Ibirogba; in attendance, party leader in the area, Chief Bushura Alebioshu and some candidates in the next elections including Chief Tunde Braimoh and traditional rulers as well as residents of the area who turned out en masse to welcome the Governor and his entourage in appreciation of a job well done in the area.