′At Ajelogo town hall meeting, Lagos gov rolls out plans for New Year
By Kehinde Aderemi
It isn’t everyday that residents do have an opportunity to interface directly with a state governor. So, for those residing at Kosofe, Ketu, Ojota, Mile12, Agboyi and other communities in the Kosofe/Ketu axis of Lagos, Thursday, January 19 would remain a memorable date.
That was the day thousands of Lagos residents trooped to the Ajelogo Housing Scheme, Ajelogo Market Road, Akanimodo, Mile 12, Ketu. The event was the first Quarterly Town Hall Meeting for 2017, hosted by Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode. It was the sixth in the series, and the programme afforded many of the residents to speak with the governor directly, even as Ambode responded immediately to their worries.
Many of the residents opportune to speak at the event requested for more roads, schools and health centres, among others, from the governor.
But before the requests came pouring down in torrents, Governor Ambode had addressed the gathering, informing them of his plans for Lagos residents this year.
He recalled how his administration built 114 roads across the state last year, and announced that 181 new ones would be built this year. He said a minimum of two additional roads would be done in each of the 20 local government areas (LGAs) and 37 local council development areas (LCDAs), noting that some would have three or four.
Just like last year, the project would also be handled by the local governments, LCDAs and Community Development Associations (CDAs), he informed. He said more roads would be added this year because residents were demanding that more roads be built by the government.
“I want to pronounce here that you should watch out next week in the newspapers. We are advertising 181 roads, which would be done in all our local governments.
“What we have found out is that if we decide to continue with two, some of those roads are not linking one another to the main road. So, most likely, you will see that if we are supposed to do some roads in some local governments, it would only make economic sense if there is a linkage. So, you will see in the advert that some local governments would have like three, some would have four roads, but the average is 181 and if you divide that by 57, that would be a minimum of three roads from each local government,” Ambode said.
The governor said that the choice of the roads to be constructed had been made by the local governments in conjunction with the engineers, assuring that before the end of the year when the road would be delivered, the people would be better for it.
A barrage of questions followed the governor’s opening address. The first set of questions was asked by a community leader, Chief R.O Ajayi. He wanted more physical infrastructure in the Agboyi area. His requests included the construction of roads in the communty, link bridges across the waters, and a pedestrian bridge. He also wanted the rehabilitation and return of Ajegunle Junior High School, among many others.
Mr. Olumide Folami wanted the state government to help the community tackle the flooding at Princess Bola Kazeem area of Ikosi, Ketu, as well as build schools and a health centre in the area.
Dr. Pascal Edomime pleaded with Governor Ambode come to assist residents of Irawo complete their road. He said the road had been built to about 70 per cent completion through communal effort. Yeye Dupe Ojo from Mile 12 wanted Ambode to fix Kujore Street and Quadri-Anibaba Road, even as she wanted a secondary school to serve Agiliti and Maidan residents.
Chairperson of the Community Development Committee (CDC) in Ikorodu West, Alhaja Dalemo Olukoga, and Prince Ladega Ibrahim Olukoga said health centres and secondary schools were lacking in Ikorodu West. They also wanted a new market, rehabilitation of Itoikin Road and transformation of the Agboyi-Ketu community.
Elder Omoniyi, from Bariga, said the Ilaje Road in Bariga was too narrow, advising the government to widen the road.
Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, wanted the governor to prioritise the construction of Adeniji-Adele Road and other roads on Lagos Island.
Even as he urged Lagos residents to cooperate more with the Ambode administration, Oba Akiolu wanted the state government to improve the standard of markets on the Island to enviable standards.
Immediate past Commissioner of Police in the state, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, while addressing the gathering, explained the steps taken by his command to tackle kidnapping and other crimes in Lagos. He urged traditional rulers and community elders to ensure that youths in their communities desist from criminal activities.
Special Adviser to Governor Ambode on Primary Health Care, Dr. Femi Onanuga, said the government was planning to add to the 288 Primary Health Centres (PHCs) across the state. He said 35 others were to be renovated, adding that the health centres would soon start offering a 24-hour daily service.
Commissioner for the Environment, Dr. Babatunde Adejare, said the Cleaner Lagos Initiative (CLI) of the present administration would take no fewer than 40, 000 people from the labour market from June this year.
The governor thereafter reacted to some of the questions raised by the residents
On the Ilaje Road, he directed that a stakeholder’s meeting be convened on the issue. And on the Irawo Road, he said the Public Works Corporation should move to site within seven days and complete the project in appreciation of the communal effort of the people.
The governor also explained that in the last quarter, his administration kicked off its “Rent-To-Own and Rental Housing Policy”, which would provide affordable housing across the three Senatorial Districts. He said 4,355 housing units were available. He said allocation would commence this week.
Ambode said his administration would build on the partnership with Kebbi State Government on rice production, just as he promised to rehabilitate the Oko-Oba Abattoir and Lairage Complex, Agege.
He also assured that his government would work on the Marwa/Depot Road, Ijegun-Egba in Amuwo Odofin, Imeke-Ajido Bridge in Badagry, Adisa Ajibulu in Oshodi, Adisa Balogun-Igboho Street in Alapere and the signalisation and junction improvement along the Lekki-Epe Expressway. He also informed that 5700 personnel had been recruited for the Neighbourhood Safety Corps, assuring that the scheme would take off immediately. He said 100 of the personnel would be deployed to each of the local governments and LCDAs.
He also assured the residents that his government would do a number of other projects this year, including the Agric-Isawo-Arepo Road in Ikorodu, Ajelogo – Akanimodo Road, Oshodi – Airport Road, Ketu-Alapere Inner Roads Phase II, Oke Oso-Araga – Poka in Epe, Topo Garage to VIP Chalet in Badagry, Ladipo Market Road and Multilayer Car Park, Mushin. He said bus terminals and depots would be built at Yaba, Ikeja, Oyingbo, Anthony, Ketu and Toll Gate. He also said more beneficiaries would receive funding from the N25 billion Employment Trust Fund before the end of January.
Prince Rotimi Agunsoye, who represents Kosofe Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, praised Ambode for initiating the town hall meetings. He said it was important for the government and the governed to meet and decide on issues of governance.
“Governor Ambode is God-sent to Lagos,” he intoned. “He is fantastic. He does what he’s supposed to do as a routine, and achievement in governance has become a routine in Lagos.
“The governor is not cosmetic. He does not do propaganda. Yet every locality in Lagos is benefiting from his administration,” Agunloye said.