Barely three months after the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s appeal to the Federal Government to expedite action on the reconstruction of the popular Lagos – Badagry expressway that has been in progress for over eleven years, the governor also made a spectacular remark before the House of Representatives Committee on Works that visited him at the Lagos House, Alausa-Ikeja. The governor in his charismatic leadership manner told the committee that he heard, that it was only Nigeria, “our giant of Africa” that was yet to fix its ECOWAS corridor among other small countries that signed the ECOWAS treaty of 2009.
Indeed, millions of diverse people travelled on the corridor to Senegal. Oftentimes, they recount their ordeal openly when they feel the nostalgia of the good travel experience from the Benin republic to other West African countries. These travellers remarks for years have become an open eyesore to this great country within the subregion and other international communities.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s huge investments in ensuring that the country attains a speedy economic revolution have yielded good accomplishments in strategic infrastructure, namely: the railway completion from the North to Niger republic and the Nigeria – Cameroon dual-carriage bridge completion, including other capital intensive projects ongoing in the country, are legacies that would outlive the current Federal Government.
Similarly, the Lagos-Badagry expressway is a “gateway to Nigeria.” It has a huge propensity for massive investment opportunities for both the Federal Government, Lagos State Government, private investors and millions of individuals to tap into its enormous tourism potentials, (asides from its significance as a major market centre) for economic recovery and development, the betterment of our nation’s economic stability and to improve the quality of lives of millions of impoverished Nigerians in dire need of stable means of livelihood.
Worthy to recall that the world-acclaimed jazz music maestro, the late Michael Jackson had acquired expansive hectares of land in Badagry for tourism development of his ancestral home before his ill-fated death occurred, which shortlived that grand ambition. Thus, it is very inhuman that investors cannot travel on this appalling route, talk less of them bringing their investments into the hinterland.
For over eleven years of the saddest road reconstruction, millions of workers, traders and health emergencies have inescapably paid severely for avoidable loss of reasonable travel times due to unwholesome neglect of the highway by the Federal Government. How on earth would government’s personnel among others leaving their offices from the Lagos metropolis by 4pm and 5pm get to their homes along the route by 11pm, 12am and 1am in the midnight, and still have to resume their duties the following day by 8am? Life expectancy is being overwhelmed!
Till date, the Lagos -Badagry expressway initiated and constructed by the Lagos State Government into a dual carriageway and commissioned on 25th May 1974 is yet to get a single budget approval since the life of the present administration of PMB in the saddle for over six years. Whereas, after the commissioning of the highway, it was the Federal Government that reaped the glory and honour of the Lagos-Badagry expressway for its international significance till now. That dramatic takeover led the former Governor of Lagos State, Late Brigadier Mobolaji Johnson (of blessed memory) to recall a popular Yoruba proverb, “a in toju onika mesan ka” before one of the Federal Government’s Ministers from the state.
Mr. Babatunde Fashola, SAN, former Governor and current Minister of Works and Housing embarked on the rehabilitation and upgrade of the road into a 10- Lane Highway with provision for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes and two-way light rail corridor from Orile to Okokomaiko, to relief the massive influx of new entrants and the residents of the state from the heavy burden of traffic jams. Presently, the state government has undertaken 18km reconstruction of the road put at 46km. So, completion by the federal government is just about 28km.
This writer is just a sonorous voice out of millions crying helplessly and begging for the attention of our dear President Muhammadu Buhari on the Lagos-Badagry highway foot-dragging since 2009. Collectively, we beg the father of our beloved country, Nigeria to reconsider the reconstruction of this deplorable road as having immeasurable economic and social value to his government, and should please, take urgent steps devoid of all political undertones to hasten the completion of the road in imminent conditions. Alas! It will be a bravo and worthy legacy on the part of our president of the federal republic of Nigeria.