*Assures attention on Lagos-Sango-Ota-Abeokuta, Sango-Ota-Idiroko Roads
*Announces tax credit funding for 100km Shagamu-Interchange-Papalanto-Ilaro Road
*Shagamu-Ogijo Road reconstruction by the Nigerian NNPC Ltd under tax credit scheme to be considered – PMB
By BASHIR ADEFAKA
In continuation of obvious commitment to national infrastructures reconstruction that are not only said but seen to be done by Federal and state governments of All Progressives Congress (APC) across the country, either completed or ongoing, President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, visited nation’s Gateway State of Ogun to commission five major projects of done by Governor of the state, Prince Dapo Abiodun.
Buhari also reiterated his commitment to delivering two major Federal highways of Lagos-Ibadan and Shagamu-Benin expressways, before the end of this year.
The President earned a new name of ‘Omowale’ during the visit that were packed full of hopes and deliverable promises, The DEFENDER reports.
To mark his new name, Governor Abiodun gave President Buhari a symbolic giant key to Ogun State and declared that he is now a full fledged indigene of Ogun.
By implication, the Nigerian leader should now be better addressed as “President Muhammadu Omowale Buhari”.
President Buhari had begun his military career in 1963 in Abeokuta after military training at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot in England.
He was just 20 years old when he was commissioned a second lieutenant and appointed Platoon Commander of the Second Infantry Battalion in Abeokuta.
‘‘This welcome by the large crowd brings back the nostalgia of my first arrival on this soil as a young infantry officer in the Nigerian Army at the then Lafenwa Barracks in Abeokuta, not long after independence.
“The traditional hospitality of the people of this State has not waned a bit. Today, I am “Omowale” and very happy at this homecoming to meet my brothers and sisters whose goodwill I have always enjoyed. Thank you,’’ Buhari said at the Gateway City Gate.
‘‘It is also with a sense of responsibility that I receive and cherish the honourary indigeneship bestowed on me as symbolized by the presentation of the key to the Gateway State by Governor Abiodun.
‘‘I will leave Ogun State with fond memories and look forward to enjoying the privilege of my honourary indigeneship.’’
Addressing residents of the state on Thursday, the President heaped praises on Governor Dapo Abiodun, for delivering visionary and trail-blazing projects for the people, even in the midst of prevailing and challenging circumstances occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Describing Abiodun as the ‘‘performing Governor of Nigeria’s Gateway State,’’ the President said he is a worthy example of ‘‘promises made, promises kept.’’
The President noted that the lofty projects: the Gateway City Gate; the 42-Kilometre Shagamu Interchange-Abeokuta Road; the 14km Ijebu-Ode-Epe Expressway and two Housing Estates for low, medium and high income earners at Kobape and Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta, respectively, could not have materialised without the State government’s huge investment and commitment to security of lives and property.
‘‘This has made Ogun State one of the safest and most peaceful States in the country and investors’ destination of choice.
‘‘You (Prince Abiodun) have justified the mandate of the people of Ogun State. You have represented our Party very well,’’ the President said.
The President expressed delight that the 14km Ijebu Ode-Mojoda-Epe Road commissioned by him has been reconstructed into a modern expressway by the State government.
He noted that the impressive road would complement the Sagamu-Benin Expressway that the Federal Government is currently reconstructing; also due for commissioning this year.
‘‘Just across the road is the 42-kilometer Shagamu-Interchange-Abeokuta Road which the state Government has reconstructed and equipped with street lights.
‘‘That road enjoys a direct linkage with the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway that the Federal Government is rebuilding and due for completion later this year.
‘‘I am particularly impressed by the quality and standard of your road projects, and the creative way you have deployed resources to reconstruct and rehabilitate them.
‘‘It is significant to note that the two road projects being commissioned today are federal roads. This is an example of constructive engagement, cooperation and collaboration between the States and Federal Government.
‘‘These roads also fit well into our rail transportation masterplan that connects Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital to Kano, with Ogun State having more rail stations, along the Lagos-Ibadan rail corridor.’’
On the housing programme of the Ogun Governor, the President commended its inclusiveness, saying it is equally heart-warming that it cuts across different social strata, capturing the low, medium and high income earners.
Admiring the Gateway City Gate Project, the Nigerian leader said ‘‘it is not just a Park beautification project. It depicts that something new is happening in Ogun State, a welcoming entrance into the State Capital at the centre point of the State.’’
He added that the project is also an ICON depicting the joining of hands for building the future of Ogun State in togetherness.
‘‘Your Excellency, well done! I am proud of what you have done for your State and your people.
‘‘You have made our great Party, the APC, proud too. You are a worthy example of promises made, promises kept.
‘‘These lofty projects could not have materialised without your huge investment and commitment to security of lives and property.’’
Responding to requests by the state governor to give priority to the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta and the Sango Ota-Idiroko Roads, respectively, the President assured the people of Ogun State that these roads will receive Federal Government attention.
The President announced that the Federal Government would consider extending tax credit as funding option for the reconstruction of these roads, as done for the 100km Shagamu Interchange-Papalanto-Ilaro Road.
Similarly, the President promised to consider the approval of the reconstruction of Shagamu-Ogijo Road by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited under the tax credit scheme.
The President thanked the residents of the State for the warm reception accorded him and his entourage in the Gateway State, which is his first visit to any State in the New Year.
The President also congratulated the people of Ogun State for having such a focused, deliberate and inclusive Administration under the watch of Prince Abiodun, urging them to continue to support the governor for the successful implementation of the “Building our Future Together” Agenda of his Administration.
‘‘The reward for success is more hard work to meet the increasing expectations of the people.
‘‘When state governments deliver impactful projects, in consultations with stakeholders, like we have witnessed in Ogun State, the trajectory of our national development will be enhanced.’’
Our reporter was told in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, Thursday that no APC governor would want to be left behind in the current drive for massive national infrastructure reconstruction led by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Federal Government as yardstick for achieving an industry-driven national economic growth and development.
Supporting the Ogun State governor in receiving the President on Thursday were Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Governor of Chairman South West Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN), without Governor of Osun State, Alhaji Ishaq Gboyega, conspicuously absent, while the President was accompanied by APC Caretaker Chairman and Governor of Yobe State, Alhaji Mai Mala Buni.
Former Governors of Ogun State Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Senator Ibikunle Amosun were conspicuously present in being part of the successful visit of the President.