Last weekend, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos unveiled the muchanticipated all-steel pedestrian bridge to serve as the second pedestrian bridge at Ojota, Muritala Ayinla captures the mood of traders, residents and pedestrians
The conceptualisation of the bridge didn’t come as accident neither was the idea of constructing yet another pedestrian bridge at Ojota was muted to demonstrate wasteful spending, which many said, is common among some Nigerians leaders.
It was borne out of the need to ensure safety of Lagosians. When the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Abmode decided to effectively tackle traffic jam which became worsened almost immediately after he assumed office, little did anyone know that the solution to the traffic situation will have multiple effect on the residents.
New Telegraph gathered that part of the ‘unlock the gridlock’ strategies was not only to stop pedestrians from crossing the expressway but also mount barricade on the road to prevent them from crossing the Express ways.
Besides preventing several commuters from being knocked down by vehicles, the government also was interested in stopping the situation where motorists were forced to slow down for the crossing pedestrians on the Express ways, which in most time result into traffic jam.
Hence, the government intensified enforcement of the use of bridge for the pedestrians and consequently, the policy generated a serious human traffic on the bridge as several pedestrians numbering about 200 queued for almost15 minutes before they could access the bridge.
The development generated controversy in the social media and traditional media as many analysts wondered why accessing the pedestrians bridge could be a thug- of -war.
Concerned with reports of increasing queue on the bridge, which undoubtedly showed how important the bridge is to Lagosians particularly those living in the area, Governor Ambode immediately ordered construction of another bridge in the area, reiterating his administration’s commitment to run an all inclusive government that will leave nobody behind irrespective of the status and other differences.
While commissioning the bridge, Governor Ambode described the bridge as the best in the sub-sahara Africa, saying that the bridge was in response to the obvious need of the residents and a demonstration of his administration’s commitment to the safety of lives of the residents.
Governor Ambode, who also unveiled plans by his Administration to undertake the regeneration of Lagos Island towards becoming a hub of tourism, entertainment and transportation, listed the other projects to include the JK Randle Arcade, the Lawn Tennis Court and the reconstruction of the National Museum.
While also commissioning the ultra modern Tafawa Balewa Square Bus Terminal earlier in the day, Governor Ambode stated that the projects was the first of several others planned to be executed within the next two years.
Describing the area has being of historical significance, the Governor stated that the tourism plan of the Administration will be given expression through all the projects. Stating that part of the plan includes creating a skywalk from Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) to the Freedom Park.
Ambode noted that all the projects are part of his administration programme towards a 24/7 economy. He promised that the Onikan Stadium would be rehabilitated and sporting within the Island resuscitated, adding that creating jobs through Tourism, Entertainment and Sports are critical to the Lagos of H i s Administration’s dream.
Assuring the operators of commercial transportation at the TBS that no one will lose their space, the Governor said the Terminal is symbolic and represents the standard that his Administration will maintain. He disclosed that new buses will be injected to the area to enable quality service for Lagosian.
Earlier in his Remarks, the Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi described the projects which, he said, are comparable to those found internationally. He added that the project was also to commemorate the 50th Year Celebration of Lagos State. He stated that the project was made up of Teflon Membrane Material that can last 50 years with CCTV, Toilets and shops.
The Acting Commissioner also hailed the Governor over the Ojota pedestrian bridge, saying more lives would be saved while it would also aid smooth traffic flow in the area.
Meanwhile, immediately after the Governor commissioned the bridge with all the light switched on, the entire Ojota erupted with wild jubilation as both the young and old began to use the bridge. Even those in the moving vehicles were also waiving the Governor and admiring the new bridge.
But to ensure the safety of the bridge and other projects commissioned, Elegushi urged road union’s members and the general public to make good use of the facility and not turn them to mechanic workshop or an abode for all sort of illegal activities as the State Government would not fold it arms and watch any illegal activities thrive here.
Present at the occasion was the Oba of Lagos, HRM Oba Rilwan Osuolale Akinolu the first, the White Cap Chiefs, APC Party Leader, Senator Demola Seriki and Senator Mutiu Are and other top government functionaries.