*Gov describes APC presidential candidate as Buhari’s most worthy successor
President Muhammadu Buhari officially opened the Lagos Blue Rail Line, which runs from Mile 2 on the mainland to Marina on Lagos Island, during an inauguration ceremony. Additionally, he unveiled the Centre for Yoruba Culture at Onikan in Lagos.
The Lagos Blue Rail Line is expected to transport 250,000 passengers daily. At the inauguration ceremony, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu announced that the contract for the final phase of the project would also be signed at the event. He said, “In that historic spirit of today, we will also be signing the contract for the construction of the second Phase of the Blue Line.”
The Governor also acknowledged the support and assistance provided by the Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari’s leadership, saying, “since 1999, Lagos State has not enjoyed the kind of support that we have enjoyed since your assumption of office. The various projects that you have commissioned indeed bear testimony of the support and facilitation of the Federal Government under your watch; from the Imota Rice Mill, inspired by your successful agricultural revolution, to the Lekki Deep Sea Port, and this Blue Line Rail Project.”
During the inauguration ceremony, Governor Sanwo-Olu paid tribute to Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who is known as “the Architect of Modern Lagos” and a Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party. He said, “This Blue Line we are commissioning today is the product of his timeless vision for Lagos State, a vision that dates back almost 25 years from when he took over the reins of leadership in Lagos State. One of his greatest legacies was developing a comprehensive Road Map for the future of Lagos State; one that laid out very clearly the pathway to a modern, prosperous, and globally competitive Megacity. The Lagos State Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP) envisioned 6 Metro Lines, of which the 27km Blue Line, running from Marina to Okokomaiko, is first.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu acknowledged the challenges faced in the development of the Lagos Blue Rail Line, including a lack of support and cooperation from the People’s Democratic Party when they were in power. He said, “Over the years the journey has been eventful, and many challenges have been surmounted, including a lack of support and cooperation from the People’s Democratic Party, when they were in power. It is not a secret that the only ambition of that party was to capture Lagos, not to support progress and development. They made this clear in very many ways, including the unconstitutional withholding of critical funds, and brazen attempts to manipulate elections. To his eternal credit, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu stood his ground, and never backed down, setting out an excellent example for all of us his successors, on the importance of believing in a vision and holding firmly to it at all times.”
Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, also announced that the infrastructure of the first phase of the project has five stations: Mile 2, Suru-Alaba, Orile Iganmu, National Theatre, and Marina. The rail system is expected to transport 250,000 passengers daily when it begins commercial operations. Sanwo-Olu also highlighted that The Lagos Blue Line Rail Project is a 27-kilometer rail system from Marina to Okokomaiko, which is divided into phases for ease of implementation. It is expected to transport more than 500,000 passengers when the entire line is completed, and the contract for the second phase of the project will be signed on the same day. He said, “Our transportation strategy is multimodal, bringing together the various elements of the road, rail, and water in a seamless manner that makes commuting an interesting experience.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu emphasized that Marina, where the inauguration ceremony was held, is central to the integrated multimodal transportation system of the state, being a hub for all transportation modes. He said, “It is, therefore, not surprising that since its completion the landmark Blue Rail Line has elicited much jubilation among residents, who are excited to be part of history. The excitement, no doubt, is justifiable, considering the fact that this project will certainly help to reduce the pressure on our roads, enhance the economic well-being of Lagosians and put our dear State on the same pedestal as others of its stature. The people come first in all that we do. They are the bedrock of our government. This project is, therefore, all about them. And that is what governance is all about.”
He also thanked all those who have played key roles in the development and completion of the project. Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, also reminded that it was the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration that developed the Strategic Transport Master Plan (STMP), which laid out the foundation for a network of robust and modern transport infrastructure fitting of a 21st century City-State like Lagos. He said, “The master plan has six rail lines and one monorail, 14 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors, over 20 water routes, and a number of major roads. Thanks to Asiwaju’s creative leadership, today, we are making history with the completion of this rail line.”
Governor Sanwo-Olu emphasized the role of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA) in the implementation of the transport master plan, which was established in 2002 by Bola Ahmed Tinubu to develop an effective intermodal transport system for Lagosians. He said, “The farsighted leader that he is, Asiwaju ensured he bequeathed to the State a worthy and inventive successor, in the person of Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), who gave the project the significant push it needed. The first bricks and mortar that hold the project together were put in place by the Fashola administration. Interestingly, Governor Sanwo-Olu and I were part of the Tinubu and Fashola teams. That is the beauty of the ingenious Lagos school of governance. It not only breeds ideas, but it also builds people for the good of the society.” He also acknowledged the contributions of their Chinese partners and other behind-the-scenes workers in the completion of the project.
Earlier, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the newly built John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture. At the event, the Lagos state Commissioner for Tourism Uzamat Akinbile Yussuf said the museum will stimulate the local economy by bringing tourists from within and outside the country. Uzamat praised Governor Sanwo-Olu for his commitment to making the project a reality. She said, “I welcome Mr President, President Muhammadu Buhari, my boss, Mr Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu and other distinguished personalities to this epoch-making event, which is the official commissioning of the John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History. I must also stress that apart from this Centre being a Museum it is a multi-faceted and all-encompassing tourism asset that portrays the indigenous culture of not only Lagosians but the entire Yoruba race. It is indeed a Centre that creates avenues for younger generations to have first in-depth knowledge about our culture that is nearly going into extinction, so it is a knowledge sharing Centre.”