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Excitement in Ogun over Abiodun’s re-engineering work on Atan-Lusada-Agbara Road

The residents of Atan, Lusada, Igbesa and Agbara communities, recently heaved a sigh of relief as the Governor Dapo Abiodun-led administration in Ogun State, turned the sod on the rehabilitation work of the Atan-Lusada-Agbara Road.

Alhough the road which leads to the largest industrial estate in Nigeria – Agbara – belongs to the Federal Government, it had suffered neglect. Despite the fact that the road is key to the economic development of the country, its state of disrepair had taken serious toll on several industries located on the axis.

The axis also hosts one of the largest free trade zones in Nigeria, Ogun Guangdong FTZ, Igbesa.

The immediate past administration under the leadership of Senator Ibikunle Amosun raised the hopes of thousands of residents, motorists and companies along the road, when it began construction of an overhead bridge at the Igbesa Junction, but the project, like several others were abandoned.

The pillars of the abandoned overhead bridge have not only worsened the road, the crater created by the excavation work had aided flooding of the community around the project site.

Since inception, however, the Dapo Abiodun-led administration has signified its interest in fixing the road. The governor had declared that all infrastructural projects abandoned by his successor would be completed, albeit with a proviso.

According to Abiodun, only projects that have direct economic impact on the lives of the Ogun State people would be continued and completed. This, the governor has demonstrated by completing some of the road projects in the above category. A key example is the completion of the overhead bridge and inroad at Kuto, Abeokuta.

Panseke-Adigbe-Opako and Lafenwa-Rounda-Ayetoro Roads are other two major roads abandoned by the immediate administration in the state, but were continued by the incumbent government.

Apart from the Atan-Lusada-Agbara industrial road, Paplanto-Sagamu Interchange road was another key road on the radar of Abiodun-led administration. Though both roads belong to the Federal Government, the Ogun State government, under the leadership of Abiodun, had sought and got approval to take ownership of Atan-Lusada-Agbara Road, with the view of finding lasting solutions to the deplorable condition of this road, to ease movement of goods across the axis.

As a government that hinges its operations on public-private partnership, Abiodun’s government had mooted the PPP approach to fix the Agbara industrial road. At every occasion, the governor had made it clear that the cost to fix the road was humongous, hence, his desire to enlist the synergy of the private sector. But while the preparation was ongoing, the governor had directed the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to carry out palliative work on the road to ease vehicular movement. The palliative work which began from the Atan junction, indeed helped as falling of articulated vehicles reduced drastically, especially when it rains.

Meanwhile, the joy of residents, small business owners and industrialists along the industrial road knew no bound, when the governor officially flagged off the reconstruction work of Atan-Lusada-Agbara road, on Thursday, April 29.

With this bold step, business and industrial activities along the axis would receive a boon, while investors’ confidence in his administration’s quest to espouse good governance.

An earlier visit to the industrial road showed that heavy duty equipment had been moved to the site, ahead of the official flag off of the road project.

Observation of the ambience equally showed that residents were delighted that their woes would soon be turned joy.

At the turning of sod ceremony by the governor, indigenes of the town trooped out in large number to witness the event, while top government functionaries, traditional rulers, industrialists, community leaders, business owners and the youths, also witnessed the ceremony.

Also in attendance were the Senate Committee Chairman on Works and former governor of Kebbi State, Adamu Aliero, Senator representing Lagos West and the Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, Adeola Olamilekan, otherwise known as Yayi. Other senators at the event are Ayo Akinyelure, Bamidele Opeyemi and Michael Nnachi. A member representing the Ota Federal Constituency at House of Representatives, Jimoh Ojugbele was also present at the landmark occasion.

Welcoming the people to the event, Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Ade Akinsanya, noted that the construction of the road would not only boost economic activities of the area but would equally improve individual prosperity of indigenes of the community and beyond.

Akinsanya added that the construction of the 10.25Km Lusada-Igbesa road was borne out of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement with the Ogun Guandong Free Trade Zone Igbesa, being an upshot of China Africa Investment.

This, according to him, has demonstrated the Ogun state commitment to work with private industries and investors to develop infrastructure, adding “Lusada- Igbesa road has now worn a new look with necessary modern and durable features that can stand a test of time”.

In his remarks, the Managing Director of Hi-Tech Construction Company, the company handling the project, Bekker, said his company was excited to be part of the project, assuring the company would do a quality job it is reputed for in the country. He added that the road, when completed, it would reduce cost of production and ease of doing business on the economic corridor.

On his part, the Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) in Ogun State, Salim Adegunwa, saluted Governor Abiodun for keeping his electioneering promise to his members and sought the governor’s intervention in the area of multiple taxation.

In their respective royal goodwill messages, the Olota of Ota and the Olu of Ilaro and the Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba (Prof.) Abdul-Kabir Adeyemi Obalanlege and Oba Kehinde Olugbenle

According to a commercial, hailed the governor for showing tremendous interest in the development of Ogun West senatorial district. They noted that rehabilitation of the most important road in Aworiland and Ogun State, would ease transportation of raw materials as well as finished goods to and fro the Agbara industrial estate.

Also, Hon. Jimoh Ojugbele, thanked the governor for turning the reproach of his constituency into a thing of joy to the residents. He described the day as “the happiest” of his life, adding “I will now be free and bold to visit and interact with my constituents without fear of any harassment”.

The President, Yewa-Awori Youth Council, Abayomi Oke, expressed delight that the governor hearkened onto the ‘End-Bad-Road’ protests embarked upon last year by the youth of the area. He, however, implored the governor to ensure youths along the axis are gainfully engaged in the project as manpower and labour.

The Senator who represented Ogun West at the Red Chamber between 2011 and 2015, Akin Odunsi, described the tuning of sod as a landmark event, which will bring succour to the residents and industries along the corridor.

He noted that the road had become decrepit over the years due to government neglect, commending Abiodun for deciding to fix the road, which according to him is the “gateway to the golden goose that lays golden eggs”.

For Senator Adeola, the road reconstruction is a remarkable one and legacy project for Ogun West and Ogun State in general.

According to him, the road is an integral part of Sokoto-Badagry road, which is equally an international road.

“The economic benefits of rehabilitating this road can’t be quantified. Mr. Governor, you have taken the bull by the horn and come to the rescue of this axis, after years of abandonment. At the Senate, we are aware that most of the roads that pass through Ogun belong to the Federal Government. We will ensure that adequate funding is provided for Ogun state in this regard. We will not leave you alone. What you have been able to achieve within two years in office is an indication that good governance has returned to Ogun”, Yayi pointed out.

In his remark at the event, Chairman, Senate Committee on Works, Adamu Aliero assured the Ogun State Government that the committee would ensure that the reconstruction work on Atan-Lusada-Agbara road is included in the 2022 appropriation bill.

The Senator noted that the Abiodun-led government had thought it wise to reconstruct the federal government road because of concern for the people of the state.

He described the initiative as a symbol of good governance which must be appreciated, while urging the governor to ask for reimbursement from the government at the centre upon the completion of the project.

“This road is a Federal Government road, because of concern you have for your people you decided to embark on the reconstruction of the road because of its economic value, not only to the state, but to the country. This is what good governance is all about.

“I want to urge you to ask for reimbursement from the Federal Government upon the completion of this project. This project is much more important to Ogun State and by extension Nigeria. I appreciate you for this initiative, it is a right step in the right for the benefit of the country.

“We’ll give the necessary support to ensure that this project is included in the 2022 budget,” Aliero stated.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, lauded the governor for taking the bold step to rehabilitate the industrial road, noting his ministry would continue to collaborate with the state on areas of trade and investment.

In his own submission, the lawmaker representing Ado Odo Ota Constituency 2 at the Ogun State House of Assembly, Musefiu Lamidi, said that as a representative of the concerned people in the State Assembly, he was excited that to see the road getting a new lease of life.

He added that the turning of sod for the industrial road is a testimony to the people-oriented approach of the governor and his administration.

“I am happy and excited that this road, which is very important to the economic development of our dear state, is getting deserves attention, after so many years of neglect. Agbara is undoubtedly the largest industrial estate in Nigeria, therefore, this road is not only important to commuters from Lagos to Ogun enroute the neighbouring countries, it is also vital for the state IGR.

“On behalf of other concerned lawmakers in the OGHA, I applaud this laudable step by Mr. Governor. He has indeed demonstrated that his word is his bond. We salute your promise-made promise-kept attitude towards delivery of good governance to the Ogun state people,” Hon. Lamidi said.

Addressing the gathering, Governor Abiodun said the commencement of rehabilitation work on the road would impact positively on the ease of doing business along the industrial corridor.

While saying the road will be completed in 15 months time, the governor said that though the road, which is part of the Sokoto-Badagry Expressway, belonged to the Federal Government, hinted his administration decided to embark on the reconstruction of the road in order to give succour to the residents and industries along the axis.

Abiodun, who reiterated that his government would not develop any part of the state at the expense of another, disclosed that over 172 kilometres of road had been constructed, while 120 kilometres had also been rehabilitated across the length and breadth of Ogun within two years of his administration.

The governor assured that all roads leading to industrial areas and farm settlements in the state will be prioritised to boost economic growth and development.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government for the prompt approval on the request for the transfer of the rehabilitation, reconstruction and maintenance of Atan-Lusada-Agbara road to the Ogun state.

He, however, charged the residents along the axis to take ownership of the project, disclosing that youths in the communities would be gainfully engaged during the construction of the road.

“No doubt, today’s twin event of turning of sod of Atan-Lusada-Agbara road and commissioning of the Lusada-Igbesa road is part of our administration’s commitment to provide infrastructure in order to continue to open up our border communities along the axis. It is, in fact, an assertion of our strategic and deliberate approach to reposition all our industrial hubs in our dear state. And, no doubt, Ogun West, especially the Agbara Industrial Estate in Nigeria, which is one of the biggest industrial estates, remains key to the development of Ogun State.

“In this direction, and, completion of Atan-Lusada-Agbara, which is expected in the next few months, will go a long way towards improving the quality of life and advancement of commerce in Ogun West and other industrial hubs in Ogun State.

“And, I am very optimistic that, at completion, this Atan-Lusada-Agbara Road will not only improve Ease Doing Business in this area, but bring a wholesome development to the entire Ogun West District,” Abiodun said.

Residents speak

According to a motorcycle rider at Atan Junction, Mukaila Abifarin, fixing the road would not only bring succour to motorists and the commuters, it would also unleash the economic potentials of the axis.

He added that he had thought that work had ended on the road after the palliative work, but when he learnt that proper reconstruction work would soon commence on the road, he couldn’t believe it, until equipment were moved to site.

“I am particularly happy that at the end of the day, we have a government in Ogun that remembers us here. We have suffered on this road! The past administration during campaign for second term came here to promise that work would begin on the road in earnest, but what we only saw was pillars for a bridge at the Igbesa Junction and nothing more. In fact, that has worsened the road as one cannot pass through when it rains.

“But with Governor Abiodun walking his talk on this road, I am happy. I commend the governor for his big heart and courage to undertake the rehabilitation of this road, which connects the industrial estate to the rest of the state and Lagos. This is going to bring a great relief to commuters, motorists motorcyclists, and even the multinationals at Agbara. I pray and hope that this project will be completed as scheduled,” Abifarin said.

On his part, a student of the Institute of Technology, Igbesa, Kolawole Bodunrin, remarked that construction of the Atan-Lusada-Agbara road would be regarded by him as the best achievement of Governor Abiodun.

According to the HND 1 Mass Communication student, the pains of travelling on the road while going to school in Igbesa are better imagined than experienced. He disclosed that on several occasions, vehicles he travelled in had got stuck on the road as a result of poor condition of the road.

“Traveling on this road, particularly before the palliative work was carried out recently, was harrowing. It was a bumpy ride from Atan to Agbara; the only succour for me is the smooth ride from Igbesa Junction to my school. Most of the time, I got fatigued and experienced pains on my body. Though the palliative work on the road by the incumbent administration gave us some reliefs, but with the commencement of the reconstruction of the road, we should all hope for better future and a stress-free traveling on the road,” the student noted.

For Isaac Afolami, an estate developer at Lusada town, fixing the road would further open up the axis, not only to the industrialists, but estate developers, who according to him have found it difficult to market their estates, due to the deplorable condition of the road.

He disclosed that before grading and patching of some portions of the road embarked upon by the incumbent government in the state, estate developers in the axis had committed their resources to fill some failed portions, particularly at Lusada town.

While lauding the gesture of the state governor in giving priority to the road, which he described as the most important in Ogun State, Afolami recalled that pleas made by his fellow developers to the immediate past government to fix the road fell on deaf ears, thanking Governor Abiodun for listening to their calls.

In her own views, a staff of Crawford University, Foluke Richard, expressed her delight that reconstruction work would eventually begin on the road. She noted that the road, when completed, would come handy for people traveling from Abeokuta, Sango, Ota to Badagry in Lagos State.

She added that travelers from Lagos to Idiroko enroute the Republic Benin, can travel through Atan-Lusada-Agbara road, thereby saving cost and time.

A recharge card seller at Igbesa Junction, Abeebat Gafar, said reconstructing the road would enhance business activities in Igbesa and its environs.

She added that the abandoned flyover at Igbesa axis of the road had become environmental hazard, hailing the incumbent administration in Ogun for coming to the aid of the residents of the area.

Abeebat, who noted that fixing of the road was long overdue, submitted thus: “Our hope was raised when the immediate past governor started construction of an overhead bridge at Igbesa Junction, to signal the reconstruction of the entire Atan-Lusada-Agbara road. But we were shocked that the project was abandoned as soon as it was started. As you can see, the excavation work done to erect pillars for the bridge has constituted environmental hazard. Residents experience serious flooding whenever it rains here.

“But I want to tell you that I am excited to hear that the incumbent governor has flagged off the reconstruction of this road. This is a commendable step by the governor; it actually shows his commitment to spread development evenly across the state. He is indeed not like his predecessor who concentrated infrastructural projects in Ogun Central. I sincerely pray God will give Governor Abiodun the will and wherewithal to complete this road for the benefit of not only residents and industries along Atan-Lusada-Agbara road, but the entire people of Ogun State and indeed, Nigeria as a whole”.

 

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