REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR, AT THE FLAG OFF, FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION AND EXPANSION WORKS ON THE LAGOS-IBADAN DUAL CARRIAGEWAY SECTIONS I AND II ON FRIDAY 5TH JULY, 2013 AT SHAGAMU INTERCHANGE.
1. We are gathered here today, to flag-off the reconstruction and expansion of sections I and II of the Lagos-Ibadan dual carriageway, one of the busiest and most important roads in our Nation.
2. This event fulfils my promise to accelerate these projects after the termination of the concession agreement between the Federal Government and Bi-Courtney for the reconstruction of the road. It also reflects our commitment as an administration to practically and relentlessly meet the yearnings of our people and also to improve our national transport infrastructure.
3. The Lagos-Ibadan expressway, constructed, between 1974 – 1978, is among the earliest dual carriageways in our Country. The road is an important economic artery that connects our Nation’s economic nerve centre: sea ports; airports and other vital businesses to many of the states of our federation. At the regional level, the road constitutes a section of the strategic Trans Saharan Highway, which links Lagos on the Atlantic Ocean to Algiers on the Mediterranean Sea.
4. This strategic national infrastructure is therefore of great socio-economic importance, not only to Nigeria, but also to the people of Africa. It is for this reason and noting that a comprehensive renovation and reconstruction was long overdue that the Federal Government in 2009, acting in good faith, entered into a concession agreement under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme to deliver on the road and alleviate the hardships on millions of road users.
5. The state of disrepair of the road; the recurring fatal accidents; unprecedented traffic jams and security breaches, which compromised public health and safety are not issues a democratic government can ignore. In the public interest therefore, we have had to terminate the agreement after four years of evident non-performance.
6. On termination, we acted swiftly late last year when we deployed two reputable road construction companies to carry out emergency repair works on the road to ease traffic as interim measures.
7. Today, I am happy to inform you that we are ready to bequeath to Nigerians a better and more durable road after 35 years when the first construction was made. Two competent construction companies – Messrs Julius Berger Plc and RCC Nigeria Limited, who emerged as successful bidders, and were subsequently contracted will ensure timely completion of this very important dual carriageway.
8. We have made adequate funding arrangements to see the projects all the way through to completion and by the special grace of God, we are certain to deliver on our promise and pledge, on schedule.
9. Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s epic reconstruction flag-off marks just a part of the current strategic and determined efforts of Government in establishing a strong, comprehensive and durable national infrastructure network – in Rail, Roads, Aviation and Inland waterways, coupled with a new regime of disciplined re-orientation in regular maintenance, and backed by competent, professional staffing.
10. Fellow citizens, let me use this opportunity to appeal to all road users to be patient and mindful of road diversions during this time, while we hold the contractors to their bond of timely and quality delivery of there service.
11. It is now my honour and privilege to flag-off the reconstruction and expansion of the Lagos-Ibadan dual carriageway, sections I and II.
12. I thank you.