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AS Agbaje declares zero-potholes, mass housing in Lagos
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate and former vice president Atiku Abubakar would be a president to all Nigerians and not to only the people who voted for him.
The former President who made the remark at the Island Club 2019 Quarterly Business Lecture in Lagos, said the difference between Atiku and the incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari would be that the former vice president would be president to all Nigerians, those who voted for him and those who did not vote for him, unlike President Buhari who allowed only those who voted for him to benefit from his government.
Talking about Atiku’s capacity to lead the nation, obasanjo said as a leader, one must understand the fundamentals of the problems that he or she had to solve, readiness to reach out to knowledgeable men and women for solutions that will benefit all humanities.
“I have been called names because of my position on Atiku. Those things that I said as far as my knowledge of Atiku is concerned are very true. What I wrote about Buhari has been confirmed to be true. The way Buhari’s government has been going has shown that, it is not ready to defend our democracy or Nigeria’s progress and so Nigerians must do it themselves”, he stated.
Continuing he said: “Atiku has done one thing which is necessary for a leader to be believed or followed. He made mistakes and had accepted his mistakes and asked for forgiveness. I forgave and I am sure Nigerians will do their part by voting for him. A leader should be susceptible to mistakes. When you have corruption under your nose you are busy preaching fight against corruption. Atiku had not claimed to be a saint and I did not describe him as such. He has accepted his mistakes and that is what a good leader should do and not look for someone to pass the bulk to”.
Expressing confidence in majority of Nigerians to vote for Atiku on the day of election, he said he was sure that they would vote for Atiku so that they would experience genuine change that they had been yearning for, pointing out that Atiku will be a president that would be in-charge of affairs and not one that would allow a group of cabal to control his government.
The former president who said he wanted to use the opportunity to clear a false news that he did not allow Atiku to preside over the Federal Executive Council, alluding to president Buhari, said that he did not have to handover to Atiku as acting president because he did have reason to absent himself from the office for 104 consecutive days in the office, adding that the Constitution was very clear on the position of the duties of the vice president, pointed out that Atiku had actually presided over the federal executive council any time he was not around.
Meanwhile, Lagos Governorship candidate of PDP, Mr. Jimi Agbaje, has promised that his government would declare an emergency on roads, rid the state of potholes and complete the Apapa-Badagry expressway in record time.
He also promised that his regime would spread even distribution of infrastructural development through the 20 local governments as well as embark on a programme of mass housing.
“As at today, Lagos has just about the worst network of tributary, primary and secondary roads amongst world’s mega cities. We are going to bring a drastic improvement to the situation by launching Operation Zero Potholes as soon as we come into government in the state,” Agbaje said. “This policy shall be the fulcrum of the emergency on roads that we shall be immediately declaring.”
In a press statement signed Tuesday by his Director of Media, Felix Oboagwina, Agbaje also promised that his government would unfold a pocket-friendly mass housing scheme targeted at the urban poor as part of his government’s plan to improve Lagos’s livability index.
He said the housing scheme would partly be directly handled by government and through creating an enabling environment for private building agencies.
According to him, his government would be bringing residents close in proximity with industrial and commercial centres.“We shall not be waiting for the Federal Government to bring palliative solutions on the roads, but we shall lead in the maintenance of the Federal highways and present our invoice for repayment,” he promised.
According to him, these programmes would happen by turning the works and housing ministries and directorates into a robust project-executing arm of the government and by placing the resuscitation of the Public Works Department on the priority list.
He said that the unhealthy condition of roads in Lagos meant that people spent much of their day in traffic, but that improvements in the road network would automatically slash travel time.
The PDP candidate said that under him, the Apapa-Badagry highway that had been left hanging for years would be completed, even if it meant funding the project and retrieving its cost from the Federal Government.
Agbaje lamented: “It is scandalous that a road project that began in 2009 with a delivery time of three years has stretched to 10 years with no end in sight. Neither the highway nor the Blue Line, the first phase of the accompanying rail-line design, has been delivered going on 10 years now. Even worse, the entire project has become a stinking cesspool of corruption. Travelling has become a nightmare. And the travelling experience in that axis has become an international embarrassment.”
Also, he promised to complete the ongoing development in the Epe region.“A study has shown that tackling traffic gridlocks will cut traveling time by 50 percent and boost tourism by 500 per cent,” he said. “You can begin to imagine the windfall in revenue generation to the state and the Federal Government.”
The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) will be given a human face, equipped with modern gadgets as well as an orientation in its area of core competence to manage traffic flow.
“Lagosians spend too much time on the road, with attendant stress that results in accidents and health issues,” he noted.
Reiterating that his government’s infrastructural development policy aimed at placing the individual at the centre of planning and implementation, Agbaje said, “We will go slow on mass demolitions; but where we must uproot residents for societal interests, their compensation and rehabilitation will be topnotch in line with international best practice and United Nations stipulations.”
On his formula for solving the Apapa gridlock, Agbaje said that he would keep it under the lid for now, but “suffice to say that we shall be forging a close collaboration with the Petroleum Target Drivers (PTD) of NUPENG, tanker employers and other players in the transportation and haulage industry.”
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