Ogun State government has sought the permission of the federal government to dualised three major Federal roads, linking the state and Lagos under the public, private sector partnership arrangement.
The roads are, Ikorodu-Ogijo – Shagamu road, Epe – Ijebu-Ode road and Lagos – Ota-Abeokua road.
Ogun state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, made the request when he led a delegation of elders and leaders from Ogun State on a courtesy visit to President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to Abiodun, the main reason for the visit was to thank President Buhari for recognising the late Chief MKO Abiola as the winner of June 12, 1993 presidential election and honoring him with the highest honor of the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).
Further speaking on the issue of road, Abiodun said the reason behind the request is for purely economic reasons and for the ease of connectivity and access for the citizens, not just from the two states but from other parts of the country.
The governor who stated that the roads are grossly underfunded, also noted that there have been a billion allocation in 2001 to the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road, yet it is not completed.
He said: “Ogun is named the gateway state for a reason, we are the gateway to one of the biggest economies on this continent, which is Lagos. You cannot go from Lagos to anywhere else without going through Ogun State.
“Consequently, we the gateway state stand to benefit from providing all the services that Lagos may need, that will also put us in a position where we should be the economic capital of this country.
“Today, we have the largest industrial hubs in Nigeria. Every for-trend 500 company today is in Ogun state, it is there for a reason, our contagiousness to Lagos, the access, the connectivity between Ogun and Lagos.
“So for us, our vision in this administration which is to provide focused and qualitative governance, whilst providing an enabling environment for a public, private sector partnership which we believe is fundamental to economic growth of the state and individual prosperity of the citizens.
“If we indeed are to create that enabling environment, we must ensure that access, the connectivity, the ease with which people can move between Lagos, which has a primary port and Ogun which is a processing zone and Lagos which is also the market, people must be able to move with relative ease between Lagos and Ogun and between Ogun and other states. We border Republic of Benin, Oyo, Ondo and Osun states.
“So for us, when we realised that we were beginning to lose that relative ease, the Lagos-Ibadan Express way today remains the primary link between Lagos and the rest of the country. And that road is under construction.
“So, consequently we need to look at alternative roads. Shagamu to Ikorodu is one alternative road that is parallel to Lagos-Ibadan express road. Epe-Ijebu Ode is another alternative road, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta is another alternative road. These are roads that lead to industrial corridor.
“Those roads are grossly underfunded. For example, Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta was contracted in 2001, this is 2019 and that road is not completed. That road is on its fourth agendum, this year the budget for that road is about a billion naira. That road requires another N26 billion to complete and we know we cannot burden the federal government.
“So we are graciously asking them, ditto for Shagamu-Ikorodu. If the Shagamu-Ikorodu road is given to us, it will ease the traffic that is going on the Lagos-Ibadan express way.
“If we construct Epe-Ijebu Ode road, it means people coming from East and from Ijebu no longer have to go through the Lagos Ibadan Express Way.
“So, we are asking for these roads for purely economic reasons and also for the ease of connectivity and access for our people. We need to improve this and this is the mandate that has been given to us.
“So what we intend to do between my Lagos State counterpart and I, is to find alternative funding for the roads. That is why we said we are going to create an enabling environment for a public, private sector partnership. We have identified public, private sector partners who are willing to invest, because these roads are commercially viable roads.”