After many years of foot dragging and inaction by previous administrations over the reconstruction of the Lagos/Ibadan expressway, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on Friday flagged off the multi billion naira 127.8km road.
The President disclosed that the reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway was withdrawn from the Bi Courtney company due to evidence of non-performance by the construction firm.
The new companies awarded the reconstruction are Julius Berger Plc and Reynold Construction Company ( RCC) at the cost of N167 billion.
The road is expected to be concluded in 2017.
Performing the flag off exercise at the Sagamu interchange of the road, President Jonathan reaffirmed the commitment of his administration towards undertaking strong and comprehensive infrastructural development, to fast track development of the country.
President Jonathan arrived the venue in the same helicopter marked Nigerian Air Force NAF 540 with Governor Ibikunle Amosun at exactly 10:15am, with the Governor later complaining that he was not officially informed about the ceremony. According to him, he learnt about it on TV.
Before his arrival, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar had arrived in a Police helicopter marked 5N- KSH at 10:00am followed by the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Azubuike Ihejirieka who was on Nigerian Army helicopter marked NAF 573 accompanied by another Army helicopter, NAF 571.
Speaking at the event, which was turned into a political carnival by the South West PDP, Jonathan sued for patience by the road users as the road will be completed in the next 48months.
“This road is very important to us because it is the busiest road in Africa and fifty percent of the economic activities in the country are carried out between Lagos and Ogun States.
“The reconstruction was also being necessitated by the increasing level of carnage or death tolls along the express road”, Jonathan stated.
He later commended the governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun for the infrastructural development which his administration has embarked upon.
Earlier in his address at the event, Governor Amosun lauded the federal government for the bold step, charging them to extend the gesture to other major roads in the State which are also important for everyday business of the people.
According to Amosun: “I have to commend the federal government for the bold step taken in ensuring that this road is being attended to, but I have to let Mr President know that there are two other major roads that need urgent attention in the State.
“The 25 kilometre Sagamu-Mosimi-Ikorodu road and Sagamu Interchange-Papalanto road.
“It is worthy to be noted that about 70 percent of the petroleum products used in the country is being lifted from Mosimi area while Papalanto area is where the Olorunsogo Power Plant is being located.
“The federal government should as a matter of urgency come to these roads for the benefits of all the people”, Amsun said.
The Governor claimed his administration has expended over N2 billion on rehabilitating such federal roads.
Among the dignitaries at the event are the Minister for Works, Arch. Mike Onolememen, Minister of State for Works, Ambassador Bashir Yuguda, Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Works, Dr. A. K. Muhammed.
Party leaders and supporters from the southwestern States of Nigeria were at the event which was marred with political rivalry that nearly ended in a fight.
President Jonathan left the venue at exactly 11:15am accompanied by Governor Ibikunle Amosun.