President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday spoke of his administration’s future plan, saying he will continue to emphasize on high impact infrastructure to “vastly improve the people’s lives.”
The President whose second term in office begins on May 29, spoke in Lagos where he inaugurated five “Next Level” projects undertaken by outgoing Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The projects are the Ayinke House at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, which has been renamed Institute of Maternal & Child Health; the 500-seater Lagos Theatre, the Oshodi Transport Interchange, 820 mass transit buses, and the rehabilitated International Airport Road, Ikeja.
“Our government will continue to prioritize high impact infrastructure which will vastly improve the lives of our people,” he said, and thanked Lagosians for returning him and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to power in the last elections.
The President praised Ambode for his “satisfactory performance”, saying: “We should all commend him for his contribution to the growth and development of the state”.
At the Oshodi Interchange, the President said the three key projects reflected his administration’s drive in pursuing policies and programmes that will positively impact on Nigerians.
He said: “The New Oshodi Transport Interchange, the mass transit medium and high capacity public buses and the reconstructed Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road by Lagos State Government clearly demonstrate the need to continue to provide high impact projects for the development of infrastructure and opportunities for job creation at all levels.”
He added: “The mass transit buses totaling 820 buses will also move the people of Lagos State in a more comfortable and more efficient manner.
“These projects by Lagos State perfectly align with the efforts of the Federal Government to improve the country’s infrastructure, especially in the transport sector.
“To complement Oshodi Transport Interchange, the Federal Government has recently approved the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway up to Oworonshoki and Old Toll Gate which was last attended to 40 years ago.
“We have recently commissioned the new international airport terminals in Port Harcourt and Abuja, as well as the rail lines from Abuja to Kaduna. The Lagos to Ibadan Rail Line is under construction. Our government will continue to prioritise high impact infrastructure which will vastly improve the lives of our people.”
Thanking Lagosians for supporting him and the ruling APC during the last elections, Buhari said: “Earlier this morning, I commissioned the Ayinke House of the Institute of Maternal and Child Health and also the Lagos Theatre in Oregun. Your Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has performed satisfactorily and we should all commend him for his contribution to the growth and development of Lagos State.
“I once again thank all the people of Lagos State for their support for our government and our party.”
Ambode said the projects would not have been possible without Buhari’s direct influence and support.
He said: “These projects and facilities are: Oshodi Transport Interchange, Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road and 820 medium/high capacity transport buses”, adding that the high-impact projects have the utmost interest of Lagosians at heart.
“In our promise to deliver people-oriented projects and programmes, a closer look at all the projects indicate that nearly all the different pillars of our development plan as a State have been affected positively through these projects. The Institute of Maternal and Child Health at LASUTH contributes to our health and education sectors simultaneously.
“The Lagos Theatre, Ikeja is about our social development sector while the Oshodi Transport Interchange and buses come under our transport, infrastructure and commerce sectors. The Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road is an infrastructural development project.
“All these projects together form the thrust of our vision as a government and the end result is to make life better for all our people, irrespective of gender, tribe or political leanings.”
The governor said the state’s future prosperity was secured, noting:
“It is on record that our state has never had this measure of support from the Federal Government as we have enjoyed under your leadership.
“Mr. President, we believe strongly that the projects being commissioned today are our own modest contributions to national development.
“As I said earlier, these projects would not have been possible without Mr. President’s quiet but impactful decision to approve and release the payments of the Paris Club refund and the refund on federal road projects incurred by the states.
“Mr. President, the first tranche of the Paris Club refund to states approved by Your Excellency was what we used to pay the 40 per cent down-payment for the 820 buses you see here today. We are grateful, Mr. President.
“It may also interest you to know sir that, our second tranche of the Paris Club refund, in addition to the refund by the Federal Government on federal road projects executed by states, are the resources we applied to the construction of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road and this first in Africa transport interchange.
“This is our report card, Mr. President. We have used your approval and releases judiciously because we believe strongly in you, in your leadership and in your vision for our country. This is our modest contribution to the growth and development of our state and to the country in general.”
Ambode said the projects would serve the needs of Nigerians, pointing out that the Murtala Mohammed Airport Road and the U-Turn Flyover will be open for public use immediately.
He said: “The two flyovers will be open for use from May 10 after the quality assurance work is completed. Of the three terminals at the Oshodi Transport Interchange, Terminal 3 will become fully operational on May 1 while Terminals 1 and 2 will become operational by the end of May.
“We have, in the last four years, invested so much in strengthening the social and physical infrastructure base of the state economy. The dividends of these efforts are becoming manifest in all sectors of the economy.
“With the completion of these projects and given the level of commitment of the next administration as well as the continuous support of the Federal Government, I am assured that the immediate and future prospects of our state is very bright.
“Mr. President, Lagos State will continue to support your aspirations to move Nigeria to the next level. The business community in the state is desirous of partnering with your government in moving our economy forward.”
Earlier, Ambode described the Ayinke House upgrade as historic, expressing optimism that the facility would provide world class childbirth and maternal care services to Nigerians residing in Lagos.
He said: “Today, seven years after the closure of the facility, the new edifice is now a 170-bed facility with five surgical theatres. It has a 16-bed emergency care unit with three-organ support facilities, 30-bed special baby care unit, five neo-natal intensive care units, a fully equipped laboratory with support services, laboratories and a blood bank.
“Beyond the significance for the health sector, this institute is a major contribution to our education sector also; as it becomes a veritable platform for our medical students in the state university to enhance their exposure and experience with the top-class medical equipment provided”.
Ayinke House, the governor said, had been digitalised with state-of-the-art medical facilities as well as information technology services supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Present were some governors, ministers and special advisers.
They included: Governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo); Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (Ondo); Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Jubrila Bindow (Adamawa); Acting Edo Governor Philip Shaibu; Lagos State governor-elect Babajide Sanwo-Olu, deputy governor-elect Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, Communications Minister Adebayo Shittu and Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity Femi Adesina. Osun State Governor Gboyega Oyetola was unavoidably absent as he was at the Appeal Tribunal where he is challenging the voiding of his election by the election tribunal.