At last! Works start on Oba Sekumade road, to be completed in 14 months …govt seeks stakeholders cooperation

The Lagos State government has sought for the cooperation of residents and road users in Ikorodu division for the reconstruction of the Oba Sekumade road.

This request was made at the Stakeholders’ meeting organized for the road project at the Ikorodu Ferry Terminal, Ebute-Ipakodo in Ikorodu West Local Council Development Area, on Thursday, October 8, 2020.

The event, which was attended by traditional Rulers and Chiefs, State and Local Governments officials, elected representatives, notable politicians, residents and other stakeholders, was indeed a proof that the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration is ready to listen to the yearnings of the people and bring relief to them regarding the reconstruction of the dilapidated Oba Sekumade road.

The well attended gathering featured an interactive session, which enabled stakeholders and residents to expressed concerns and observations regarding the project. Among the concerns raised by residents are maintenance of the road, drainage, parking space, especially for heavy duty trucks, palliative work on access roads, creation of U-turn/access into link roads and consideration for local contents in terms of employing residents as workers on the site of the project and patronising local construction materials sellers.

According to report, the road project will be completed in fourteen months and will be handled by the construction giant, Arab Contractors. The road, which will be constructed with rigid concrete pavement, will have four lanes, lay by, street lights and drainages. Also, the strategic road, which connects over 20 communities across four councils in Ikorodu division, will no doubt promote social and economic value across the division and further integrates intermodal transportation systems (road and water transportation) as its design also provides for dedicated BRT lanes, which will enable passengers to board BRT buses to their respective destinations upon disembarking from ferries operating around the vicinity.

Meanwhile, Engr. Aramide Adeyoye, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, who spoke on behalf of the State Government at the event, stated that the government had to access bonds to finance Oba Sekumade road and other roads in the State. She also disclosed that Sekumade and other roads in the State will, henceforth, be constructed with rigid pavement to ensure that they last long and adequately serve the public.

According to the Special Adviser, the State Government took a recourse to the bond market to finance the project because they did not get positive response from the Organised Private Sector for partnership on construction of roads in the State despite that same roads serve them too.

“As a matter of fact, there are three roads that we attempted to fix with rigid pavement when we came on board – this particular road (Oba Sekumade), lkosi and Oba Akran road. We tried to engage members of the Organised Private Sector to partner with us, especially for the fact that they are the ones using them,” Engr. Adeyoye said.

“We didn’t get a positive result until we got the bond and you know that bond money is like handcuff money. You must go straight in one direction and must not sway. You must use it for what you have requested to do with it. In order not to run into any problem, we decided on a tested contractor that would deliver and make our financial advisors see that we are using the money well. That is exactly what we have done.”

While providing details on the road, she said that: “The duration is fourteen months and the terrain is very well known to us with the design of the road already taken care of. In addition, because of the excess loads on it, that is why we must have it in rigid concrete pavement and not semi – rigid. The design of the road is such that it takes care of dedicated lanes for LAMATA buses so that people can join the buses once they alight from ferries.”

Engr. Adeyoye also stated that the current administration of Mr. Bababjide Sanwo-Olu has made stakeholders’ meeting compulsory before any project commences in order to make the people buy into the project and see it as theirs.

“If you notice from the inception of this administration, stakeholders’ meetings are a prerequisite. It was last year that the State Executive Council passed the resolution that there must be a stakeholders’ meeting before any project commences in Lagos State.

The reason is for people to take ownership because there is no point building something with tax payers’ money and at the end, people would not buy into it. That has been the bane of projects that we have in this country. It is important that people see projects as their own. People just think for people and give them something that they don’t desire”.

Stating why the road was awarded to the Arab Contractors, Engr. Adeyoye said that the construction giant is familiar with Ikorodu terrain and can easily access logistics needed to have smooth operation. “We are trying to fix Oba Sekumade road today, same with Ijede, Agric – Isawo as well as Igbogbo road. The contractor (Arab Contractors) is one that has worked in this locality. The reason which the contractor was picked is because they can harness logistics quickly because they have been around and will be able to coordinate themselves easily. The topography of this place is bad and tough. It’s swampy. Attempts have been made to fix it but never lasted for two reasons. The design doesn’t take note of the excess load that will be plying the road.”

She, however, encouraged monitoring by the public, whom she described as the real owners of the road and who knows the quality of work that they want.

“In terms of monitoring the project, I have told my Engineers in the monitoring team to do their job but there are other monitors who are the owners of the project. These are the people that are here at this stakeholders’ meeting and they understand what we are going to deliver to them,” the Special Adviser stated.

“I get text messages from them at all times telling me that Arab Contractors have not moved to the site as well as telling me also informing me whenever they see them on site and the number of trucks plying the road. I always get their reports. That is where ownership comes in. You have been able to express yourself and tell us where you are feeling the pains. You can put all your information on our social media handles. What you are doing is to make us be on our toes and not relax.”

The Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon SOB Agunbiade, who has been working for several years to get the road fixed, commended the government of Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Obafemi Hamzat for awarding the contract for the reconstruction of the road.

He stated that the road, when completed, would put smiles on the faces of residents and road users whom he said have suffered greatly over the years when the road had been deplorable.

“It is a thing of joy that this project has commenced today. It signals the preparedness and the determination of the government to repair the road, which has inflicted a lot of sufferings on the people,” Hon. Agunbiade said. “I never rested on the issue of the road and l fought so many battles on social media and WhatsApp groups calling for its reconstruction. The Kabiyesi had challenged me several times and I always asked for time. I had also done many press releases on social media asking our people to bear with our government.”

“Our Senatorial candidate never gave me a breathing space because he would always call anytime he passed this road to know what we were doing about it. Today, he has joined us and he will use his connection with the Governor and his Deputy, both of whom he had worked with before, to complement what Hon. Babajimi Benson, myself and Hon. Nurudeen Solaja have been doing. As we are clamouring for this, other stakeholders in the 57 LCDAs are also clamouring for their own roads to be attended to and the government must do it one at a time with the limited resources at its disposal. Yes, Lagos State has a lot of money, but the money is not enough to take care of the many contending issues in the State.”

While commending Arab Contractors for always doing good work and delivering road projects in Ikorodu on time, the ranking lawmaker charged the construction giant not to make the Oba Sekumade road an exception to its good job.

“Arab Contractors have been doing well in this area of the State. We thank you for the road that you constructed from Ipakodo to Ibeshe. You are currently on Itamaga to Ijede and also, you did Ota-Ona to Itamaga by popular demand of youths. I am sure that informed the decision to also give you the contract for the Oba Sekumade – Ogolonto road project to you and we are sure that the road will not be an exception to your good work and timely completion of contracts.

Thank you for the good job that you are doing,” he said.

“The road has been awarded and construction will start very soon. Truly, it’s been awarded to trusted and tested construction firm. We are sure that when it is completed, we would all enjoy the benevolence of the government”.

He commended the Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, both of whom he said he had troubled so much regarding the road and other issues in Ikorodu and thanked them for awarding the road for reconstruction. “I am sure that one of the messages that the Deputy Governor will be missing from today will be messages from me on the road because now that the road is about to commence, it is a case closed,” he added.

Hon. Agunbiade, while further buttressing the importance of Oba Sekiumade road, stated that the road serves over 30 communities in Ikorodu West LCDA and also links about four other councils in Ikorodu Division.

“Beyond the recommendations that this road serves as a link to over 30 communities in Ikorodu West LCDA, it also links about four councils in Ikorodu Division. It is a link road to Igbogbo/Bayeku LCDA, Ijede LCDA and Ikorodu LGA while many people pass through here.” He, however, charged the Ministry of Works and the contractors to work on inner roads to serve as access roads during construction duration and pleaded for local contents in terms of employing residents as labour and patronage of residents dealing in constructing materials.

Engr. Lateef Ayomide Somide, the Project Director, in his presentation of technical details of the project, said that the project is in line with the T.H.E.M.E agenda of the present administration with the intention to integrate intermodal transportation systems.

“In line with T.H.E.M.E agenda of Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration, where ‘T’, as the first acronym, stands for Transportation and Traffic Management, the road project encourages integrated intermodal transportation systems. This particular road is competing with this ferry terminal because the design of the terminal accommodates BRT buses and the terminal premises can take about ten buses at a time. It also accommodates passenger shelters that would take over 100 people at a time. This is a way to synchronise the road and water systems.”

He further said that a side of the road will remain open to motorists to ply throughout the duration of the reconstruction.

“The intention of the ministry is to ensure that one side of the road is constantly passable till the end of the project. The way we are going to structure the work is that we will be working on one side while the other will be passable throughout the projects.”

Engr. Somide called for cooperation of residents and other road users throughout the duration of the reconstruction.

His Royal Majesty, Oba Bashir Animasaun Sotonwa, the Sekumade of Ipakodo, in his royal message, thanked the State Government for listening to the yearnings of the people by awarding the contract for the reconstruction of the Oba Sekumade road.

The royal father assured the people that the reconstruction of the road is in good hands of the Ministry, which he said is made up of competent and dedicated professionals, while also assuring that the construction company that will handle the project has track records of excellent delivery on critical jobs.

The Chairman, Ikorodu West LCDA, Hon. (Princess) Jumoke Jimbo-Ademehin, also commended the State Government on the road which, she said, is critical to the social and economic lives of residents in the division. She also pledged total support of the council to the road project.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Infrastructures, Engr. Olujimi Hotonu, speaking earlier, spoke on the importance of the Oba Sekumade road. He also added that the stakeholders’ meeting for the reconstruction of the road further signaled the readiness of the present administration to improve infrastructures in the State and encourage economic development.

“The stakeholders’ engagement for the construction of the Oba Sekumade road, a major strategic link road that serves as alternative route for the Ikorodu-Lagos road and also connects about 20 communities in Ikorodu West LCDA to Ogolonto on the Lagos expressway, shows government’s readiness to improve infrastructure and encourage economic developments in the State.

“It is another step by the administration of the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu towards ensuring that Lagosians buy into government projects and good governance. We believe that such a forum would create the opportunity to inform all stakeholders about what the project is all about and address all concerns that may ensue in the execution of the project. Oba Sekumade road links several communities to the Lagos – Ikorodu road but it has deteriorated overtime and is presently in a highly deplorable condition. Road users experience heavy traffic, delay travel times and sometimes suffer damages to their vehicles.”

“The news today is that our Governor has responded to the yearnings and aspiration of the good people of Ikorodu. The reconstruction of Oba Sekumade road will terminate the sufferings and bring relief to the people that are living in this area and also promote socio – economic activities.”

He also stated that the project will boost the local economy and bring about direct and indirect jobs as well as open up windows of opportunities.

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