President Buhari and Governor Abiodun
Buhari, Abiodun

Idowu Olakunle

Nigeria’s president, Muhammad Buhari on Thursday, visited Ogun State where he commissioned some monumental projects constructed by the governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun.

The president on his arrival in the State first commissioned the Ijebu-Ode-Epe Road and other four projects located in different parts of the State.

The president was received by Prince Abiodun, and five other governors, including Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State; Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi; Osun State governor, Alhaj Gboyega Oyetola; Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, as well as a representative of Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde, Engr Rauf Olaniyan.

Also on ground was Alh Aliko Dangote and former Governor of the State Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Chief Segun Osoba, among others.

Addressing residents of the state, the president heaped praises on Governor Dapo Abiodun, for delivering visionary and trail-blazing projects for the people, even in the midst of prevailing and challenging circumstances occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Describing Abiodun as the ‘‘performing Governor of Nigeria’s Gateway State,’’ the President said he is a worthy example of ‘‘promises made, promises kept.’’

The President noted that the lofty projects: the Gateway City Gate; the 42-Kilometre Sagamu Interchange-Abeokuta Road; the 14km Ijebu-Ode-Epe Expressway and two Housing Estates for low, medium and high income earners at Kobape and Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta, respectively, could not have materialised without the state government’s huge investment and commitment to security of lives and property.

‘‘This has made Ogun State one of the safest and most peaceful states in the country and investors’ destination of choice,” Buhari said.

‘‘You (Prince Abiodun) have justified the mandate of the people of Ogun State. You have represented our Party very well.”

The President expressed delight that the 14km Ijebu Ode-Mojoda-Epe Road commissioned by him has been reconstructed into a modern expressway by the State government.

He noted that the impressive road would complement the Sagamu-Benin Expressway that the Federal Government is currently reconstructing, which is also due for commissioning this year.

‘‘Just across the road is the 42-kilometer Sagamu-Interchange-Abeokuta Road which the state Government has reconstructed and equipped with street lights.

‘‘That road enjoys a direct linkage with the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway that the Federal Government is rebuilding and due for completion later this year.

‘‘I am particularly impressed by the quality and standard of your road projects, and the creative way you have deployed resources to reconstruct and rehabilitate them.

‘‘It is significant to note that the two road projects being commissioned today are federal roads. This is an example of constructive engagement, cooperation and collaboration between the States and Federal Government.

‘‘These roads also fit well into our rail transportation masterplan that connects Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital to Kano, with Ogun State having more rail stations, along the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor.’’

On the housing programme of the Ogun Governor, the President commended its inclusiveness, saying it is equally heart-warming that it cuts across different social strata, capturing the low, medium and high income earners.

Admiring the Gateway City Gate Project, the Nigerian leader said ‘‘it is not just a Park beautification project. It depicts that something new is happening in Ogun State, a welcoming entrance into the State Capital at the centre point of the State.’’

He added that the project is also iconic, depicting the joining of hands for building the future of Ogun State in togetherness.

‘‘Your Excellency, well done! I am proud of what you have done for your State and your people.

‘‘You have made our great Party, the APC, proud too. You are a worthy example of promises made, promises kept,” he said.

‘‘These lofty projects could not have materialised without your huge investment and commitment to security of lives and property.’’

Responding to requests by the state governor to give priority to the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and the Sango Otta-Idiroko Roads respectively, the President assured the people of Ogun State that these roads will receive Federal Government attention.

The President announced that the Federal Government would consider extending tax credit as funding option for the reconstruction of these roads, as done for the 100km Sagamu Interchange-Papalanto-Ilaro Road.

Similarly, the President promised to consider the approval of the reconstruction of Sagamu-Ogijo Road by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited under the tax credit scheme.

The President thanked the residents of the State for the warm reception accorded him and his entourage in the Gateway State.

‘‘This welcome by the large crowd brings back the nostalgia of my first arrival on this soil as a young infantry officer in the Nigerian Army at the then Lafenwa Barracks in Abeokuta, not long after independence.

‘‘The traditional hospitality of the people of this State has not waned a bit. Today, I am ‘Omowale’ and very happy at this homecoming to meet my brothers and sisters whose goodwill I have always enjoyed. Thank you.’’

The President also congratulated the people of Ogun State for having such a focused, deliberate and inclusive administration under the watch of Prince Abiodun, urging them to continue to support the governor for the successful implementation of the “Building our Future Together” Agenda of his Administration.

‘‘The reward for success is more hardwork to meet the increasing expectations of the people,” he said.

‘‘When state governments deliver impactful projects, in consultations with stakeholders, like we have witnessed in Ogun State, the trajectory of our national development will be enhanced.’’

The President, who was bestowed with ‘‘honourary indigeneship’’ of the state, said: ‘‘It is also with a sense of responsibility that I receive and cherish the honorary indigeneship bestowed on me as symbolized by the presentation of the key to the Gateway State by Governor Abiodun.

‘‘I will leave Ogun State with fond memories and look forward to enjoying the privilege of my honourary indigeneship.’’

Earlier, Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun while speaking at the grand reception of the President, thanked him for the visit, saying that all the projects and programmes of his administration in the State are deliberate and guided by the vision to give Ogun State a focused and qualitative governance and create an enabling environment for a Public Private Sector Partnership to thrive.

He said his administration believe in the socio-economic development of the State and individual prosperity of its people.

Speaking on the five projects commissioned by the President, Prince Abiodun said “the choice of the five projects that we are commissioning today from our many landmark projects was a daunting task. These are just a few of our achievements. We have so much more to showcase. These selected few that Your Excellency will commission are however symbolic of the various types of projects across all sectors of our dear State’s economy.

He said his “Administration in Ogun State has continued to fulfil all its promises to the people within the available means.

‘It is noteworthy that all our projects have the inputs and are informed by the needs of the people as expressed by them at different engagement fora that we provide.

“This is because we anchor our “Building our Future Together” Agenda on inclusiveness, equity, fairness, transparency, accountability, justice, and obedience to the rule of law. Under our FIVE Development Pillars with the acronym I.S.E.Y.A; that is I – for Infrastructure, S – for Social Welfare and Wellbeing, E – for Education, Y – for Youth Empowerment, A for Agriculture and Food Security, we based our choices on what the people say they want and we get their buy-in for implementation.

While going through the importance of the roads, Ogun Governor said “the five projects is an iconic monument that not only beautifies the environment, but a reflection of the new approach to governance in the State. It symbolizes the convergence, harmony, and unity amongst all the groups and sections of the State. It is not just a physical Intersection of the three Senatorial Districts; it is a symbol of the togetherness of our people and the legendary warmth and hospitality to our visitors and guests.

“The Ijebu-Ode-Epe Road, a Federal Road which Your Excellency commissioned earlier, is another strategic arterial road that links the Lekki / Epe corridor of Lagos State to the eastern corridor of Ogun State at Ijebu- Ode. With this road, socio-economic activities in the South East and South South zones of our country will receive a boost through the linkage of the road to Sagamu-Benin Expressway for easier access by motorists to Lagos, Nigeria’s largest economy,” Abiodun said.

He noted further that, “the Sagamu Interchange-Abeokuta Road is 42km in length and is the main arterial road that leads to our Capital City. It is a dual carriageway with streetlights, median and other road furniture. This road, though a federal road, was redesigned and reconstructed to address the daily challenges being experienced by commuters, and to make commuting between the State Capital and other parts of the State and, indeed, the rest of the country a safe, secure and pleasant experience.

“Two of our many housing projects, Housing Estate at Kobape in Abeokuta comprises of 526 units of 2 and 3-bedroom bungalows. The King’s Court at Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta is a middle/high income Housing Estate and has 31 of its 85 units in the first phase fully completed. The remaining 54 units are at various stages of completion.”


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