The Lagos and Ogun state governments are seeking Federal Government’s approval to take over the management of the Lagos – Abeokuta Expressway.
Also being proposed for takeover are the Epe-Ijebu and Ikorodu-Sagamu roads.
If granted, the approval would see the two states tolling the highway after reconstructing it to recoup their investment under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement.
According to Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, he and his Lagos counterpart Babajide Sanwo-Olu had met with President Muhammadu Buhari and requested that the road be ceded to them.
Prince Abiodun said that he took the joint request to the President in Abuja few weeks ago.
He said the President saw the propriety of their request to take over that strategic road in order to bring succour to motorists, travellers and residents on that corridor.
The Governor spoke at the weekend in in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. It was during his investitures as the honorary Patron of the Abeokuta Club and the induction of 30 members. He said the planned joint takeover of the road was part of his strategies to develop the infrastructures in Ogun.
He explained that the road would be commercialised and tolled for easy maintenance and thus ease movement of people and goods from Lagos to other parts of the country.
Besides, Abiodun said the rebuilding of the road would drive development not only on that stretch, but across the Gateway State.
The governor lamented that the last contract for the expressway was awarded and signed in 2001 with about N26 billion debt still hanging on it, saying given the N1 billion annual budget for servicing of the road every year and paucity of funds at the federal level, that road may never be completed without the PPP approach.
He said: “You cannot expect people to come to our state if they can’t move around with ease or they can’t even begin to move from Ogun State and get to other state. We all know that the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is ongoing and the truth is that the road won’t be completed until December next year.
“However, as a government, we have done a lot of road count and have come with the fact that if that road is completed, it does not have the capacity to transport the population of people that pass through that corridor.
“Consequently, I met with my counterpart, Sanwo-Olu and we decided that as a matter of urgency we need to take over some roads which include: Epe-Ijebu, Ikorodu-Sagamu and Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta roads. The motive is to reduce the volume of passengers plying the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“Sanwo-Olu and I met with the President to hand over those three roads to us. We sat down with him and he told us to put it in writing. We wrote a joint letter which have our two logos on that letter, we both signed it and I personally handed it over to Mr. President few weeks ago, asking the president to hand over the roads to us.
“The Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta was signed in 2001 and today there is a debt of about N26 billion hanging on that road, the servicing of that road is exceeding N1 billion every year and that road would never be completed by this government and it is because of the paucity of fund at the federal level.
“What we intend to do is to commercialise this road and turn it to a private-public-partnership and we have people that are awaiting to enter a PPP with us so that they will fund the road, they will toll it and this would allow the people to move from Lagos to Abeokuta with ease. It will open Ogun for development.”
On his investitures, the governor praised the club for the honour bestowed on him,
He described it as a platform for socio interaction for sons and daughters of Egba, which has become a melting point of ideas that have impacted positively to bring about progress not only to Egbaland but the entire state and beyond.
Unlike his predecessor, Abiodun assured the Egba people and the rest of the state that he would not develop any part of the state at the expense of the others.
“We would not develop any part of the state at the expense of others. In the course of my campaign, I also made a commitment that my administration would complete all ongoing projects, particularly those that will offer a line of service and be a benefit to the people of Ogun State.”
Thy governor promised not to abandon and people-oriented project.
He said: “We are presently constructing the Adigbe Bridge; we are reconstructing the Elite Road and Obantoko Road. We would also commence two housing projects in Abeokuta – one is a 200 units low-income housing estate in Ibara and the second is a 50 units middle-income to high-income estates and others across the state.
Similar projects, the governor noted, were ongoing in other parts every part of Ogun state.
“I have just been informed that Ijaiye State Hospital lacked very essential medical technology and we have also ordered for modern equipment from the United Kingdom for use of the hospital.”