By Lukman Olabiyi
The city of Badagry came alive on Saturday, January 23. It was the day the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, visited the community, spreading succour among residents and bringing smiles to many faces.
Badagry, one of the five traditional divisions of Lagos State, reaped a bountiful harvest of the development programmes of the Sanwo-Olu administration in the state that Saturday.
Residents cheered, noting that Governor Sanwo-Olu demonstrated leadership and commitment to good governance and lifting up the less privileged on many occasions. They expressed joy at the ijauguration of three major projects and flag-off of road construction in the town.
The projects are the 110-bed Maternal and Childcare Centre (MCC) and School of Anaesthesiology in Badagry General Hospital, 252 units of two-bedroom housing project in Idale, and the 5.5 kilometre-long Hospital Road being rehabilitated to create easy access to the Badagry General Hospital and the new housing estate in the town.
Akran of Badagry, Oba De Aholu Menu-Toyi 1, led traditional rulers, public office holders, chieftains and members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as thousands of Badagry residents to welcome the governor.
Excited residents, including the elderly, youths and children, lined up in different parts of the town waving and hailing the governor as he moved from one place to another. Different groups also entertained the governor and his entourage with traditional songs, drums and dance. Security agents ensured the event was orderly.
The governor went to Badagry in the company of his deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde, and other members of the State Executive Council.
The first project he launched in Badagry was the Lagos State Eco-Friendly Affordable Public Housing Scheme, which had 252 units of two-bedroom bungalows, in Idale, Badagry Local Government Area.
The housing project is a joint-venture agreement with Echostone Development, sitting on a 12.7 hectares of land in Idale. It was constructed under the supervision of the Lagos Ministry of Housing. The project was designed with eco-technology and EDGE Advanced protocol, a green building certification that makes buildings more resource-efficient. Each home has two trees and a garden. It also has a water treatment plant, central sewage plant, and power generating plant, good drainage system and a good road network.
At the inauguration of the housing scheme, Sanwo-Olu said his government went into a joint partnership with a private investor, Echostone Development Nigeria Ltd, to deliver the 252-unit two-bedroom terrace bungalows for low and middle-income families, adding that his administration acknowledged the effect of affordable housing on the socio-economic wellbeing of residents.
Sanwo-Olu said the same technology would be employed to build the proposed Workers’ Village in Ipaja later in the year. This scheme, he said, would provide 600 affordable home units to workers and their families.
“The 252 units of two-bedroom terrace bungalows being commissioned today have incontrovertibly proved our sincerity about closing the housing deficit and delivering our housing promises through relationship we have cultivated with the private sector for housing development. This Idale-Whedako Scheme is indeed a direct result of our faith in the capacity of the private sector to play a supportive role in housing development.
“This housing scheme has come with the lowest of prices, which makes it affordable to the targeted population. The payment plan will be spread over a longer period of time,” the governor said.
Commissioner for Housing, Moruf Akinderu-Fatai, said the housing project was uniquely designed and came with the convenience of low-cost maintenance in terms of water usage and energy efficiency.
“No doubt, the housing scheme has added great environmental and economic value to Badagry community,” he said.
Shortly after, the governor embarked on a 1.17-kilometre road walk with some residents before flagging off the 5.5-kilometre Hospital Road, which is being rehabilitated to create easy access to the Badagry General Hospital and the new housing estate in the town. The road, it was gathered, connects the city centre to the Badagry General Hospital.
During the governor’s walk, some residents were able to interact directly with him. Some of them informed the governor of their immediate personal and community needs, and the governor attended to some immediately while assuring them that the other needs would also be met.
The Hospital Road links five communities: Idale, Akarakunmoh, Pivota, Topo and Ajido, to the Lagos-Badagry Expressway via Joseph Dosu Road. While flagging off the project, Sanwo-Olu said the road would be expanded to double carriageway and will be done in two phases, with the first phase spanning 3.2-kilometres. He said the second phase, which is 2.3 kilometres, would commence immediately after the first phase.
“This road construction flag-off is a demonstration of our readiness to serve our citizens in this part. It doesn’t matter how far Badagry is from the state capital; we will never neglect this city in our development drive. We will continue to justify the confidence you reposed in us when you voted us in.
“The reconstruction of Hospital Road is just one of many more good things to come, here in Badagry, which is critically significant to our administration’s tourism agenda, with assets like the Agiya Tree monument, the first storey building in Nigeria, the Heritage Museum, the Eko Theatre, and long stretches of pristine beach,” the governor said.
The governor also opened the 110-bed MCC in Badagry General Hospital. He also inaugurated the rehabilitated School of Anaesthesiology.
Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, said the Badagry MCC was immediately activated for operation after its completion last November, noting that the facility had already delivered healthcare services to over 3,000 out-patients and 600 children. The facility has also done 49 successful caesarean births, Abayomi said.
He explained that the MCC would complement the capacity of the 21 primary healthcare facilities across the three local government areas in the Badagry axis.
The governor said the projects were part of his administration’s efforts to bring development in Badagry at par with other areas of the state.
With the completion of the four-floor MCC, which is already being operated, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State government had expanded healthcare infrastructure and improved access to quality health services in the town.
He said: “Today’s commissioning activities are in fulfilment of the part of the promises we gave our citizens in Badagry and I am delighted to be inaugurating three key projects that will enhance standard of living and boost development of human capital, particularly the 110-bed MCC we have completed in this part of Lagos.
“This is just a testimony to our assurance to the people and our commitment to delivering quality projects that will turn around the lives of our citizens. Not only are we handing over the MCC for public use today as an emergency service, it also caters for obstetrics and gynaecology. There are also laboratory, radiology, paediatrics and immunisation departments.”
On the rehabilitation and expansion of the School of Anaesthesiology in the Badagry General Hospital, Sanwo-Olu said the steps taken by his administration were aimed at increasing the number of trained professionals in the field, adding that such pivotal projects were being replicated in other locations across Lagos.
“The people of Badagry and the adjoining communities now have increased access to quality and safe healthcare. This will bring about complete eradication of maternal and infant mortality, as well as general improvement in all maternal and child health indices in this local government. All these benefits will in turn have a positive ripple effect on the development and socio-economic indices of Badagry,” he said.