President Muhammadu Buhari had a busy one-day working visit to Lagos State, yesterday, when he inaugurated five iconic projects he affirmed would improve on Nigeria’s infrastructure, particularly in the transport sector.
The projects were the Institute of Maternal and Child Health (Ayknke House), Ikeja; Lagos Theatre, Oregun; Oshodi Transport Interchange; 820 Mass Transit Buses and the International Airport Road, Ikeja.
However, National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Lagos Deputy Governor, Idiat Adebule and dozens of cabinet members, were conspicuously absent at the events.
There were no official reactions from Tinubu and others, just as attempts by Daily Sun to get reactions were unsuccessful, as those contacted to speak on the development refused to comment.
Buhari, who landed at the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, at about 10:45am, arrived Ayinke House, about 15 minutes later.
He was received by his host, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, and his counterparts from Ogun, Ibikunle Amosun; Oyo, Abiola Ajimobi; Ondo, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu; Ekiti, Kayode Fayemi and Adamawa, Jubrila Bindow. Edo State acting governor, Philip Shaibu; Lagos governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat and Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu 1, also received the president, alongside the governor.
Thereafter, the president unveiled the project, and also, toured the facility.
He left to commission the Lagos Theatre, in Oregun are a of the state, from where he retired to the Government House, Alausa, with his entourage and visiting governors.
At about 1.18pm, the president, accompanied by the governors, arrived Oshodi to commission the multi-billion transport interchange.
In his address, the president, who expressed delight at the project, said: “I am delighted to be here today (yesterday), to commission three key projects which reflect the drive and success of our administration in pursuing policies and programmes that will positively impact on our citizen.”
He said the interchange, the mass transit medium and high capacity public buses, and the reconstructed Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road, by the state government, will continue to provide high impact projects for the development of infrastructure and opportunities for job creation at all levels.
“This transport interchange, with different terminals, is going to change the face of public transportation. The mass transit buses totalling 820 buses will also move the people of Lagos state in a more comfortable and more efficient manner.”
Buhari added that the projects perfectly align with the efforts of the Federal Government; to improve the country’s infrastructure, especially in the transport sector.
“To complement Oshodi Transport Interchange, the federal government recently approved the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway, up to Oworonshoki, and Old Toll Gate, which was last attended to 40 years ago.
“We have recently commissioned new international airport terminals in Port Harcourt and Abuja, as well as the rail lines from Abuja to Kaduna. The Lagos to Ibadan rail line is under construction. Our government will continue to prioritise high impact infrastructure; which will vastly improve the lives of our people,” the president added said.
He thanked the people of Lagos state for their support, for his administration and the APC, and also, commended Ambode for his “satisfactory contribution to the growth and development of the state.”
In his remarks, Ambode thanked the president for his direct influence and support which made the projects a reality.
The governor said it is on record that the state had never enjoyed such measure of support from the federal government as it had done in the last four years.
Ambode said the Murtala Muhammed Airport Road and the U-Turn Flyover would be opened for public use, immediately, while the two flyovers would be open for use from May 10 after the quality assurance work is completed.
Terminal 3 of the Oshodi Transport Interchange will become fully operational on May 1, while Terminals 1 and 2 would become operational by the end of May.
He said the projects were part of his administration’s promise to deliver people-oriented programmes and projects. The governor said the development plan of the state has been positively affected through the projects, including the Maternal and Child Health Centre, popularly known as Ayinke House, which the president commissioned earlier in the day.
“In our promise to deliver people-oriented projects and programmes, a closer look at all the projects indicates that nearly all the different pillars of our development plan as a state have been affected positively through these projects. The Institute of Maternal and Child Health at LASUTH contributes to our health and education sectors simultaneously.
“The Lagos Theatre, Ikeja is about our social development sector while the Oshodi transport interchange and buses come under our transport, infrastructure and commerce sectors. The Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road is an infrastructure development project.
“All these projects together form the thrust of our vision as a government and the end result is to make life better for all our people, irrespective of gender, tribe or political leanings,” he said.
Ambode said his administration invested the second tranche of the Paris Club refund, in addition to the refund by the Federal Government on federal road projects executed by states to the construction of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road and the Oshodi transport interchange, the first of its kind in Africa, while the first tranche of the Paris Club refund to states approved by the president was utilised to pay the 40 percent down-payment for the 820 buses.
“This is our report card, Mr. President. We have used your approval and releases judiciously because, we believe strongly in you, in your leadership and in your vision for our country. This is our modest contribution to the growth and development of our state and to the country in general.
“Mr. President, we believe strongly that the projects being commissioned today (yesterday) are our own modest contributions to the national development of Nigeria. As I said earlier, these projects would not have been possible without Mr. President’s quiet but impactful decision to release the Paris Club refund.”