Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), has handed over a total of 16 completed inner city roads in Mushin to the residents urging them to take ownership and care of the infrastructure which, according to him, are meant to add value to their living standards.
Addressing a large crowd of residents including Traditional Rulers, clerics, opinion leaders and Community Development Associations as well as Government officials, Governor Fashola said it was not enough to build and handover roads to the communities pointing out that the most important thing was to ensure that the roads were put to proper use for the good of the residents.
The Governor told the residents, “If this was all about handing over a road, the State Executive Council, the Commissioner for Works and the Special Adviser were more than able to do this. For me, it is an important opportunity to come and speak to you again about issues that concern our well being. We have built these roads with your taxes, they should serve our purpose”.
Noting that Mushin has been a very important and historic town both in the country and in the State, the Governor declared, “Mushin is a very important and historic town in the history of this country and the history of this State. It is impossible to write the story of this country, the story of the Western Region, without Mushin taking a very prominent place in that history”.
He, however, expressed regrets that over time, because of the way that the residents have chosen to live, dumping refuse on the roads, trading by the side of the streets, washing cars in the middle of the streets and turning the roads into warehouses, life has become a little more difficult than it should be because the roads no longer serve the purpose.
“So, we must all move away from the roads, we have built them with your taxes, they should serve our purpose; let every trader move to the setback. This pedestrian walk is not a trading place. Let us understand that not everybody has cars, that those who have cars, those who have okada and those who do not have cars all pay taxes. For those who do not have cars this is their own road, they should be able to walk without motorists disturbing them”, the Governor said.
He particularly urged market traders to stay inside their markets and not come to the road sides adding, “Your customers, our wives, who want to shop will come to meet you inside the market so that pedestrians who also paid for this road can also enjoy it”.
“The risk you put the pedestrians if you takeover this pedestrian walk is that they will be struggling with motorists and in the event, accidents will happen. Your children go to school; this is their own road because if they stay on the pedestrian highway it is unlikely they will have accidents”, Governor Fashola further advised.
Appealing to the residents “to preserve these roads”, the Governor advised those wishing to lay internet cables to approach the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to tell them where the ducts meant for such cables are under the roads if they don’t know adding, “We need the internet and we also need the road. And we cannot have internet and then lose a road that we have built. So, it must be a win-win situation for us all the time to add onto what we have by putting on more”.
Governor Fashola, who said the 16 roads were completed over the last two years, recalled that during his budget speech this year, he spoke of over 200 roads in various stages of completion across the State adding, “This road completes the first phase of 16 roads some of which had been completed in last year’s budget work. But work continues, our contractors are still there, especially the major Isolo/Mushin Road to Daleko where work is proceeding in earnest”.
The Governor, who also recalled that the State Government recently went to the bond market to raise N87 billion, pointed out, “That money is going to pay contractors, some for the roads that have been finished, some for the roads that are under construction, for hospitals, for schools and so on, for your children and for you”. He explained further, “Now, the only reason we could borrow that money is for you; because those who lent us the money know that you will pay your taxes, because every debt that we contract we repay”.
Wishing all Lagosians a happy Christmas and New Year, Governor Fashola appealed to them, especially residents of Mushin Local Government Area, to continue to keep the peace pointing out that it is only by living in peace and in tolerance of each other that the people would witness development and improvement in the quality of their lives.
“We are coming to the end of another year. Christmas is approaching. We should all keep the peace, remain tolerant of one another, respect each others’ diversities; some people don’t speak English, some people don’t speak Yoruba; some are from the North, but the blood that flows through our veins has no tribal colour, the water that we drink has no ethnic origin and the money that we spend has no tribal colour.
“So, if we really focus on those important things, there is no Muslim meat, there is no Christian meat, if you go to the market, you buy meat and go and eat. So let us focus on the things that unite us and build a prosperous State and a prosperous country”, the Governor said.
He thanked the contractors, China Civil and Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), “for a job well done” adding, “I hand over these roads to Kabiyesi, to the Chairman of the Local Government, to the Chief Imam, to the Market Women, to the Youths, to the CDA and the CDC to use it well”.
In his welcome address earlier, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said by building the roads in Mushin, the State Government has demonstrated its recognition of the need to move the Local Government forward adding,
“As a Government, we believe that we must transform our city roads and Mushin happens to be one of them”.
Assuring the people that work is still ongoing on the roads that are yet to be completed in the area, the Commissioner, however, warned, “These roads are not for mechanics and traders. Let us take ownership and control of the roads”. He also appealed to the residents to pray for continued peace in the area pointing out that it is the only way to guarantee development.
The roads handed over, which had features for improved living like service ducts, kerbstone construction, street lighting and lane marking/kerb painting, included Badejo Kalesanmi Street, Kelani Street, Akinyemi Street, Paul Okuntola Street, Apesin Street, Folarin Street, Ajana Street, Akendo Street, Eniola Street, Ishaga Road, Ronke Street, Akinlawon Street, Olanibi Ojekunle Street, Oyewuwo Street, Kekereowo Babalola Street and Sadiku Street.
Also in attendance at the occasion were members of the State Executive Council including Secretary to the State Government Dr. (Mrs.) Oluranti Adebule and Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engineer Ganiyu Johnson, Chairman of Mushin Local Government Area, Hon. Babatunde Adepitan, Chairman House Committee on Works and Infrastructure, Hon. Bolaji Ayiola, Chairman Odiolowo Local Council Development Area, Hon. Adeyemi Alli, residents, Market women and traders among others.