The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Sides Of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway
Motoring accident is a regular occurrence on this busiest and the most dreaded of all roads in the country. Those who survived accidents on this road would always reminisce the horrible experience that never consumed them.
The harrowing vehicular traffic on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is another feature that commuters and travelers will always pray to escape. The road is the den of notorious armed robbers, kidnappers, ritualists and yet it is the axis for the biggest religious bodies in the country.
Beside the fact that Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is noted for notoriety, on this road is located the Redeemed Christian Church of God Camp, the Deeper Life Bible Church Camp, the Mountain of Fire Church Ministry Camp, the NASFAT Muslim Camp.
Millions of worshippers troop to Lagos-Ibadan Expressway not only for business purpose but also for spiritual edification.
On this road is the most widely read newspaper company, the Punch Nigeria Limited, the best television station, Channels, the defunct Compass Newspapers Company, yet the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway had suffered neglect by successive governments over the years.
The eight-lane road had shrank to four, badly damaged with different geographical features of potholes, truncated and undulating spurs that had sent many to untimely death.
For eight years that he spent, ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo failed to fix the only route to the commercial never centre of Nigeria. He awarded the contract to a firm, Bi-Courtney but nothing was done until he left.
When ex-President Goodluck Jonathan came on board, the Federal Government revoked the contract with Bi-Courtney and commissioned Julius Berger and Reynolds Construction Company Nigeria Limited for the job.
Jonathan did some parts of the road and they were wonderfully done by RCC. He also did the laying of stones for the commencement of the Sagamu – Lagos for Julius Berger to construct, his exit stagnated the project for months.
The present government of President Muhammadu Buhari made the rehabilitation of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway a priority when it came on board.
The Federal Ministry of Works, led by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola budgeted about N31 billion for the construction of the road out of which the National Assembly approved N10 billion.
It shocked the minister leading to altercation between him and the lawmakers, in which he described them as having stark and worrisome knowledge of the process of the budget.
As at today, the Federal Government owes the contractors the sum of N8.9 billion, which of course had led to the firms abandoning the work on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
With the approval of just N10 billion, Fashola said that it was not even enough to clear the debt not to talk of completing the road that had since become a death trap for Nigerians.
It may sound unbelievable but it is true that on Monday, only two of the senators from the Southwest were at the plenary to debate the Lagos-Ibadan Railway project.
Out of the 18 senators, only two were around and it took the persuasion of the President of the senate to ensure that the project was not quashed by other members when Senator Shehu Sani raised the issue.
Disturbed by the attitude of the lawmakers towards various developmental plans to the Southwest, the Yoruba Council of Elders through his spokesman, Dr. Kunle Olajide lambasted the lawmakers, pointing out their lackadaisical attitude over the road and the rail project between Lagos and Ibadan.
He blamed the present state of the road on NASS who has refused to approve enough funds for the construction and completion of the Expressway.
To him, Fashola is not to be blamed but the lawmakers who are supposed to help him to push the budget before the senate and the House of Representatives.
Also, the Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere attributed the poor state of the road to the failure of the government to fund the project.
Speaking, the Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin said it was shameful that the Federal Government could not fund the only project it is undertaking in the Southwest.
He said that Lagos-Ibadan Expressway is the only road that serves the most commercial purpose of the country but which had been left to rot over the years.

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