The significance of the project is underscored by the attention given to it by this administration.
After he was sworn in on May 29, 2019, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu did not waste time to go to the construction site to inspect what needed to be done to move the project forward.
Prior to that time, work on the massive project had stopped. The road had witnessed delays during the lifetime of the previous administration. The abandoned project had caused tremendous anguish to the residents and visitors of the entire stretch up to Badagry and into West African countries.
As a fresh governor, Sanwo-Olu had this to say at the time: “In this month of June we shall be moving to site. Work will commence on this road, so all the T’s and I’s will be done this week so as to move to site immediately. We will ensure that we firm up discussion with CCECC and move to site because work has been abandoned here for almost four years.”
When the special adviser to the governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr Aramide Adeyoye took charge after her appointment, she mentioned during a tour that the Lagos-Badagry Expressway would be ready in the life of this administration, not many people took her serious going by the less than snail speed things had progressed prior.
Speaking during a tour of the (then) very dilapidated international gateway, according to Adeyoye, the road was prioritized for construction as part of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s effort to boost international economic activities because of its “economic importance to the African Sub-Region and the gateway of Nigeria that connects Seme, Republic of Benin, and other neighboring countries.”
As at four years ago, work had stalled around Maza Maza. Heaps of gravel and sand; craters and all manner of pits dotted the road. This caused unimaginable traffic snarl for those who dared to put their vehicles on that road.
Motorists lamented the perennial traffic jam, armed robbery, accidents, mugging and other vices that attended the bad situation.
Traders lamented loss of man hours as the area is home to some of the largest markets in Africa. From Alaba International market to the Trade Fair complex – the Ojo area is a sprawling trading zone. This alone should make the authorities take the road construction serious.
The expressway was first completed in 1977. It’s about 60kilometers long. It is also a federal road starting from Orile, near the National Art Theatre and terminating at Seme, Badagry.
Seme is the country’s most vital border town. A gateway to the rest of West Africa. The road is part of the trans-national coastal highway which should terminate in Cameroon.
Other assets on the route include FESTAC town, Satellite town, Africa’s largest military barracks, Ojo cantonment, Navy bases, Army Signals Corps, Lagos State University, Post Graduate Medical school, Lagos State University of Education, Agbara industrial estate, and several other residential estates and business concerns.
For the traders in the axis, which are mostly people from the South East, the progress recorded on the road could not have come at a better time.
“My brother the governor has saved us. Before we trek to and from shop. You can imagine trekking from Okoko to Trade Fair everyday. If you can’t trek, you pay Okada. Sometimes those ones collect up to ₦1,000 per trip,” Timothy Eze told our correspondent.
Speaking further, Chief Cajetan Ugbo, another business man who operates a cluster of shops at Alaba market but lives in Amuwo Odofin said, “you know I was going to market ones a week and I don’t drive. My business suffered, but today I go to shop everyday and I drive because this new governor has almost completed the road.”
Also, a gigantic new General Hospital is rising at Agric bus stop on the expressway. This will complement the general improvement of the lives and livelihoods of residents of the area, most of whom are indigenes of the South East.
The talk that the Lagos state government do not deliberately invest to improve the lives of people from that region has been proven to be false. That expressway is perhaps the largest investment by the state on any Infrastructure in terms of size and funding. A 10-lane road with a BRT corridor and a rail track (the blue line) is the best anyone can ask for in any part of the country at this time.
The sheer size, resources and depth of actual construction shows the commitment by the authorities to make life better for people in the area. When put in naira and kobo, citizens will best appreciate the work the Sanwo-Olu government and by extension the Muhammadu Buhari administration has done.
The federal government has made the rest of the expressway motorable from Afromedia down to Badagry. This is what the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government failed to do for 16 years. It took the Babatunde Fashola government’s creativity to pick up the gauntlet when everything looked gloomy. A greater Lagos is indeed rising!