The Nation (Nigeria)
It’s time to travel on the Ijebu Odelekki Expressway!
HAVE you seen the justcompleted Ijebu-ode Lekki Expressway? I just can’t believe that we have such a marvel right here in Ogun State! Talk about a prime location for filmmaking! Hats off to Governor Dapo Abiodun, who promised and actually kept his word,” Adeyemi Ogunsola, a businessman and aspiring film director, enthused last Tuesday.
His excitement is not without cause: it isn’t often that promises made during electioneering are taken seriously in this clime. Both the promiser and the promisee, if one may use those terms, assume that rhetoric is part of the game of politicking, and politicians, going by experience over the decades, forget their lofty statements almost as soon as they descend from the campaign podium. The end result is quite predictable: the people, mere statistics in government departments, are perennially shortchanged and society stagnates. This is why departures from the norm, if and when spotted, need to be encouraged in the hope that officialdom will take notice and those taking the people for a ride can see what it really means to have integrity.
When, sometime last year, the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, kicked off the construction of the 14kilometre Ijebu-ode-itamapako-epe road, saying that it was meant to ease the agonies of motorists, increase the urbanisation map of the state and open the state up for investment, only those familiar with his personality, track record and governance style took him seriously.
For the majority, whose pessimism must be excused because it is rooted in the historiography of failed political promises, the governor was merely being the typical politician. Except that he was not.
Reinforcing Prince Abiodun’s solemn promise, the Project Manager, Craneburg Construction, Amine Tawk, had disclosed during an interaction with reporters in February that barring any unforeseen circumstances, the road would soon be completed, with no fewer than 30 communities reaping economic benefits. That promise aligned with Prince Abiodun’s pledge during an inspection of roads across the state, namely that the 14.7km road would be inaugurated in the second half of this year.
As the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Ade Akinsanya, noted, infrastructure development is a major agenda of the state government. The road, a dual carriageway with 10 lanes, four lanes on each side with one pull-out section, and a 14-lane toll plaza for easy payment of tolls, has been completed, to the amazement of naysayers and the joy of an appreciative populace.
It was awarded to Craneburg Construction in a public-private partnership arrangement under the Build, Use and Transfer framework. Its features are a marvel. Aesthetically, its furniture and beautiful landscape are a great sight to behold.
As many Nigerians are, no doubt, aware, the Ijebu Ode-lekki Expressway, which lies at the border areas and connects Ogun to Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital, used to be quite busy during the defunct Western Region administration led by Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory. But with wear and tear and the governmental neglect that has, sadly, become a feature of life in this clime, it soon became a nightmare to road users, and for decades spoke to the open sore of an abundantly blessed but ingloriously managed clime.
Happily, however, with the pragmatic intervention by the Ogun State government, the Ijebu-odelekki road is a vital infrastructure born anew, reinvented and emplaced