Alimosho residents roll out the drums, as Ambode opens 21 new roads, bridges
Last Monday, April 2, was Easter Monday. It was the day Christians all over the world trooped to Galilee to see the resurrected Christ.
In Lagos, millions of residents also trooped out on that day. But instead of Galilee, their destination was Alimosho area of the state. That was where jubilant members of the community, reputed to be the largest and most populated in Nigeria, as well as thousands of others from all over the state converged to witness the unveiling of 21 new roads and two bridges by the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode.
It was one day that residents of the area would not forget in a hurry. In one moment, many years of intractable gridlocks, traffic agony and psychological trauma became a thing of the past.
To celebrate the event, the residents, most of whom sported uniform aso ebi Ankara fabric, literally rolled out the drums, even as several musical and cultural groups, including masquerades, thrilled the guests.
For decades, the many communities in Alimosho, numbering over 60, had consistently groaned over their seeming negligence by successive administrations in Lagos State. Many of the roads linking the communities, as well as those connecting them with border areas in Ogun State, had totally collapsed. It was gathered that the construction of some roads was started by the previous administration. The present Ambode government, the reporter was told, thereby took over the uncompleted projects and added several more. All of them were inaugurated on Easter Monday.
The inauguration was held at four locations, Aiyetoro, Ikola Junction, Old Obasanjo Bridge and Amikanle Road.
Indeed, the 21 roads and two bridges, totalling 27.4 kilometres, connect Lagos with Ogun State and are fitted with walkways, drainage, lay-bys, service ducts, lane markings and streetlights, among others. Among the roads are Ikola Road, with bridge (formerly known as Odo Obasanjo Bridge (7.2km); Aiyetoro Road, with bridge (1.280km); dualisation of Raypower Road (2.7km); Amikanle Road (3.340km); Oko Filling Road (1.660km); Ogunseye Road (1.870km); Osenatu Ilo Road (0.700km); Aina Aladi Road (1.109km); Oluwasanya Road (0.636km); Igbehinadun Road (0.360km) and Community Road (0.750km); Isoto Road (0.730km); Palace Road (0.660km); Timothy Afolabi (0.745km); Peak Thomas Bright Crescent (0.490km); Baale Street (0.710km); Joe Ikebudu (0.460km); Bishop Oderinde (0.270km); Alhaji Ganiyu Salami (0.520km); Kadiri Adebambo Street (0.533km); and Church Street (0.710km).
In his speech at Aiyetoro, Ambode said his administration was building a new economy around the axis.
“This is what is called dividend of democracy. We are making this Alimosho axis economically viable and also liveable. We don’t need to travel anywhere to earn a living. By opening up the whole network stretching 27.4 kilometres, we have brought economy back to this place. With the walkways, street lights, these communities are becoming safer and there is more to do. By expanding the axis here, you can travel without necessarily going to the main street and go to Ojo or Badagry. That’s what your vote was for and that’s why we are returning here. We are keeping all the promises that we made,” he said.
He praised the former governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for activating the transformation of Alimosho through the construction of LASU-Iba Road, and former Governor Babatunde Fashola for taking the project up to Ipaja.
“We have taken it from Ipaja to Ayobo, Command Secondary School, Gate, Abesan, Aboru bridge and roads. What we are doing today is momentous as we are connecting over 60 communities together and we are happy to do this.”
Ambode said the roads inaugurated were veritable alternative routes to decongest traffic from the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, adding that, with the roads, residents could easily access Ipaja up to Badagry without using the expressway.
“All this was not done with Akin Ambode’s money; I did not put a kobo there apart from my own taxes. It is the taxes that you have contributed that we have used to improve on this particular economy. My message is that we should make every part of Lagos economically viable and also liveable so that all the people in this area can have the same kind of life that others are enjoying in the other axis of Lagos,” he said.
While assuring residents that more benefits would come to the axis, Ambode said his administration would dredge the Ilo River, rehabilitate Adekoya Road, Makinde Road, Subaru Oje Road, Old Ota Road and Ishefun-Ijan Road. He added the latter road would be connected to a jetty through which residents could take a boat ride to connect Lagos Marina in 20 minutes, with the assurance that a modern bus terminal and Bus Rapid Transit corridor would soon be constructed in the axis.
The governor then appealed to Lagos residents to go register to vote and collect their permanent voter’s card to be able to exercise their franchise.
The senator representing Lagos West Senatorial District, Olamilekan Adeola, said Ambode had surpassed the expectations of Lagos residents.
“We are assuring you of giving you one million votes in the coming election from Alimosho alone. Alimosho is a major beneficiary of your government. Today alone, 21 roads with two bridges have been commissioned. We have commissioned many in the past. We are taken aback with the level of work you have done in Alimosho,” Adeola said.
At the inauguration of Ikola Bridge, the Senator Gbenga Ashafa, representing Lagos East, said the roads and bridges would help make life a lot easier for the people and boost commerce in the area.
A community leader, Prince Onaolapo Olatunji, who spoke on behalf of the people of Aiyetoro, said Itele-Aworiland had changed for good forever with the completion of the projects by the state government.
Mr. Emmanuel Ohiomokhare, a journalist and head of business and economy, Daar Communications Plc, lauded the governor for developing Alimosho communities.
“I lived in Lagos for 15 years and I have watched developments in Lagos since I left in 2008. I must commend Governor Ambode for these giant strides. I’m so happy for Alimosho people. If you don’t live in these areas or have never lived there, you would not understand the joy you see on their faces,” he said.
Mr. Kayode Koyejo, another Lagos resident, also noted: “I lived in the area for 18 years, and no governor gave half as much attention as Governor Ambode is giving now. Governor Fashola started some projects, but he never completed them. Not only has Governor Ambode completed those, he added many more and completed all in record time. Kudos to him.”
The event attracted several dignitaries, government functionaries, residents, traditional rulers, politicians and journalists. Ambode’s wife, Bolanle, deputy governor, Dr. Idiat Adebule, state and federal lawmakers, council bosses and many more were there.
Before now, the Ambode administration had completed the Abule-Egba Jubilee Bridge, Ajasa-Command Road from Ile-Iwe to Command, Aboru-Abesan network of roads and many others, all in the Alimosho area.