It was all fanfare in Ojokoro, a densely populated suburb in Ifako-Ijaiye Local Government Area of Lagos State, on Monday, 23 December, 2019, as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu fulfilled the commitment given to the residents, with the inauguration of 31 network of roads recently completed by the current administration.
The contract for the roads, which adds up to a total of 20.216 kilometres in length, was awarded in 2017 in two phases, but construction work was stalled shortly after, leaving the roads in deplorable condition. For about two years, the hapless residents groaned in distress plying the roads.
Sanwo-Olu, on assumption of office, reviewed the contract for the roads and promised to complete them before the end of December.
Six months after, the Governor fulfilled the promise. He led members of the State’s cabinet to the area to formally commission the newly constructed roads in a ceremony greeted by spontaneous celebrations.
The joyous residents trooped out in their numbers to receive the Governor and his entourage for the formal opening of the roads, which the Governor described as “critical assets”.
Sanwo-Olu said the Government moved to complete the 31 roads to relieve residents of the agony brought about by perennial traffic gridlock in the area, adding that the opening of the roads would reduce travel time along Lagos-Abeokuta corridor.
He said: “Ojokoro Local Council Development Area is a strategic settlement with a fast growing population and huge need for infrastructural renewal. The construction of the 31 network of roads being commissioned today was specifically executed to offer traffic relief to residents of this rapidly developing area.
“This development will improve the socio-economic activities and road connectivity within the axis. Prior to the completion of these important projects, traffic in Ojokoro area grew tremendously considering the high rate of the population growth and its attendant vehicular density. Now that we have completely transformed the roads, it is time for relief as we fulfil the promise we made to residents.”
The Governor reiterated that provision of roads and critical infrastructure remained the cornerstone of his administration’s development agenda, known as Project T.H.E.M.E.S, stressing that the delivery of good road network would help the Government manage traffic effectively.
He added that the event was an indication of his Government’s resolve to complete and deliver projects inherited from the last administration.
The Governor urged the residents to take ownership of the roads, imploring them not to allow activities that would damage the roads.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Mrs. Aramide Adeyoye, said prior to Sanwo-Olu’s intervention, the existing conduit drains had been blocked, worsening the roads’ conditions.
The residents, Adeyoye said, usually experienced perennial flooding, which washed away the surface of the roads and created gullies that made the roads impassable for motorists.
She said: “The construction of this strategic network of roads have been completed and delivered with improved features, which include reinforced concrete drains, cover slabs and walkways on both sides of the road. Some of the roads have cross culverts and outfalls drains at some specific locations.
“There are also lay-bys and some major parts of the areas also have some major public utilities, such as electric poles, transformers and streetlights with power generating sets. The street lightings have started to make positive impact on security, night life and the local economy.”
She urged the populace to protect the roads by ensuring that drainage channels are not blocked by refuse. She told the residents to turn over anyone caught vandalising the roads and their complementary amenities to enforcement agents.
Member representing Ifako-Ijaiye in the House of Assembly, Hon. Rasheed Makinde, led residents to the ceremony to appreciate the Governor’s gesture.
He pledged that those living in the area would reciprocate the gesture by keeping faith with APC and pay tax regularly.
Makinde said there would be further advocacy to sensitise residents on the danger of converting the roads to a space for commercial activities or mechanic workshops, promising that anyone caught would be handed over to the authorities.
Chairman of Ojokoro LCDA, Hon. H.I.D Tijani, said the formal opening of the roads was a Christmas gift to the residents, adding that the development would keep the faith residents had in the All Progressives Congress stronger.
The high point of the ceremony was the formal opening of the roads by Governor Sanwo-Olu in four locations, including Odun Alayo/Funsho Owoyemi Junction, Edun Akara/Olorisade Junction, Adenekan/Rabiu Junction and Udeh/Brown Rotary Junction.