By Kunle Adedoyin
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday; gave a thumb up for Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, the Lagos State governor, for the audacious projects he has delivered to the people and congratulated him for his giant strides in the state.
“The Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has performed satisfactorily in delivering governance to the people of Lagos and we should all congratulate him for working for the good people of Lagos State,” he said.
Buhari gave the pass mark at the Oshodi Interchange, where he had come to commission the project and flagged off the Bus Reform Initiative with 820 medium and large capacity buses at the Oshodi.
The president had earlier commissioned the Institute of Maternal and Child Health, (Ayinke House), and the Lagos Theatre project at Oregun, in the Ojota area of the state, and the 10-lane Airport Road, all of which began in 2017.
Buhari singled out Lagos as the only state he would be visiting twice within two years, having come to the state March 29 last year when he commissioned the Ikeja Bus Terminal.
“I also came here in February during our campaign and I am very grateful to all of you for voting our government back into office and pledge my total commitment to taking our country to the peak of our development and growth,” he said.
Buhari was accompanied to Lagos by Governor Ibikunle Amosun, (Ogun), Senator Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo), Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo), Alhaji Bindo Jibrilla (Adamawa), Mr Philip Shaibu, the Deputy Governor of Edo State, and the Governor-elect of Lagos State Mr Babajide Sanwoolu and his deputy Dr Obafemi Kadiri Amzat.
Also on the president’s entourage are the Minister of Communications Dr Adebayo Shittu, and the Special Adviser to the President on Media Mr. Femi Adesina among others.
Buhari said he is happy that Ambode is leaving impressive legacies that would have a huge impact on the people of the state.
He said the terminals when fully operational will ensure that commuters are made more comfortable as they wait for more comfortable buses that will move them faster, better and cheaper.
The president said the Federal Government has contributed to the state’s infrastructure development. He cited the recent repair of Oworonsoki-Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, which has not been touched in the past 40 years, while the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line is almost at the completion stage.
When completed, the rail line would complement efforts to improve intermodal transportation as more passengers and cargo movement will be moved by rail.
He said it is worthy of note that both the Federal and the Lagos State governments are delivering on high impact infrastructure that would take care of more people at the same time.
Governor Ambode on his part said all the projects being inaugurated by the President are product of the tremendous support the state has obtained from the Federal Government.
He said while the first Paris Club disbursement was used as seed fund for the 820 buses, the second Paris Club disbursement went into the construction of the Oshodi Interchange.
“Lagos State has never had this measure of support from the Federal Government and we are grateful to Mr. President for this gesture.
All these projects are our modest contributions to the growth and development of our state and our dear country.
He said all the projects opened by the President are ready for full operation, adding that while the 10-lane expressway, including the U-turn Bridge at 7&8 Bus Stop can be used immediately after the opening, the two flyover bridges on the road would be opened for use within two weeks.
For the Oshodi Ambode said while Terminal 3 will begin full operation by May 1, Terminals 1 and 2 would come on stream by end of May.
He said the Interchange will change the travel pattern and public transportation infrastructure.
In his short brief of the Oshodi Interchange, the Managing Director of Planet Projects Mr. Biodun Otunola said the project; the first in Africa will change the skyline of Oshodi and Nigeria.
Otunola said Oshodi before was home to crime and violence, adding that with the interchange the face of Oshodi is changing and soon, it would be the most beautiful place in the state.
He said whereas anywhere you have huge crowd are the most beautiful, in Nigeria and indeed Lagos, the most crowded places are the dirtiest, a narrative he said the interchange will change.
Otunola said the interchange’s skywalk of 157 metres, is the longest in the world and everything is being delivered within 24 months.