Last week, Ogun State Government unveiled the first bridge in its capital city for easy traffic flow around its central business district. Sheriff Balogun, who witnessed the event.
Since 1825, when people first settled in Abeokuta, the capital city of Ogun State, it has grown by leaps and bounds. But with its ever growing population, the capital city's road network had remained rustic, until last week.
So last week when the Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun stepped forward to unveil the first flyover even in the city, he did it to a thunder of applause.
Excitedly, the people of Ogun State came out in large numbers to witness history unfold before their eyes as Amosun cut the tape to declare the bridge open for use.
The four-lane overhead bridge begins at the end of Lalubu Road and connects to the six-lane Ibara-Totoro Road with modern features that include drainage, a median, greenbelt, walkway, street lights, modern bus-stops and a pedestrian bridge with air-conditioning.
The official opening of the Ibara Bridge was witnessed by some ex-governors of Ogun that included Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Daniel Akintonde; former Ekiti State Governor, Chief Niyi Adebayo; National Leader, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Tinubu; and the ACN National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.
Also, former and serving federal and state legislators, Chief Judge of Ogun State, top government officials, traditional rulers, captains of industry, media executives, and community representatives, among others attended the event.
According to Amosun, the massive investment in infrastructure was in fulfillment of his electoral promises to the people of Ogun State.
He said the new bridge would aid movement of goods and services, easy flow of traffic, reduce hours wasted commuting on the road, especially by car owners and thereby improving the productive time of every individual in the capital city.
"Our goal is to put our state in the league of advanced economies and make it an investors' haven, not only in Nigeria, but sub-Saharan Africa. To achieve this, we will continue to rehabilitate existing infrastructure and construct not just modern but high-tech infrastructure that will enhance the magnificence of our environment and act as a catalyst for our socio-economic development," Amosun said.
While expressing gratitude to the residents of the ancient city, "especially those whose properties gave way to these beautiful edifices that we are constructing across the state," he appealed to them to remain patient and continue to support the administration in its mission to turn things around in the state.
He, therefore, called on the private sector to take advantage of the enabling environment to partner with the state government to create wealth and achieve good returns on investment.
Amosun commended the past governors of the state, especially former Governor Olusegun Osoba for their achievements.
In his welcome address, the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Lekan Adegbite, said the flyover was a product of the vision of Amosun to transform the state.
He explained that every project in the state must comply with the Ogun standard, which sets the benchmarks for others.
He cited the international standard Ibara-Totoro Road as an example of the Ogun Standard road, which would be replicated in all the three senatorial districts of the state.
In their separate goodwill messages, Head of Interim National Government, Chief Earnest Shonekan, National Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Chief Bisi Akande, National Leader of ACN, Chief Bola Tinubu and Leader of Ogun ACN, Chief Segun Osoba, all lauded the achievements of the Senator Amosun-led administration in the area of urban renewal.
Chief Bola Tinubu described Amosun as "an actualiser of our dream and vision".
He said: "The actualiser of our dream and vision, to our party in Ogun state, I say thank you very much for making us proud. We will not criticise the previous government but we are proud that this is a different government. When we asked you to vote for change, this is the type of change that we were asking for. When we told the South-west people, particularly the people of Ogun State, there is a solution, that there is a vision and there is leadership in the person of Ibikunle Amosun, some people were in doubt and now we are looking at 100 per cent performance early in the morning. We are very proud of today and we know the other activities."
According to Chief Osoba who described the unveiling of the bridge as awesome said, "This is the first time I have seen this number of past Governors of Ogun attending a government event."
"We are here today to unveil this overhead bridge. When we were campaigning, we saw a lot of things but God almighty put us through and now we are grateful to God for not being consumed in the crises," he said.
In his short goodwill message, Akande said he was happy to be able to lead some distinguished people in the party called Action Congress of Nigeria, saying from among people the party has got such governors that are revolutionising development in a part of the country today.
He added: "I pray he will be able to serve you much longer than you expected and as such by the time he leaves office, Ogun State people would be very happy and proud to have had someone like Ibikunle Amosun at that period in time."
The Chairman of Ogun Traditional Council and Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, likened the unveiling of the first ultra modern flyover to the day electricity, pipe borne water and the railway line first came to Abeokuta.
"Amosun has changed the city from the status of a 19th century town to one in the 21st century," he said.
"If under two years, this government has been able to put in place a bridge like this and several other infrastructure, we know that in another year or two, we will be where the best state capitals of this nation are."
Also, in his goodwill message, the first Governor of Ogun State, Mr. Seyidu Ayodele commended the governor for making the dream of the people of Ogun State a reality. "The project will support socio-economic life of the people and more would be required," he stated.
The former head of interim government, Chief Earnest Sonekan said: "The more we invest in infrastructure like roads and water, among other amenities, the better the state will become," adding, more investors will invest in the state when the infrastructure is good.
An architect and a citizen of the state, Mr. Bimbo Adeyemi said the new project will bring more investors to the state.
"The area is an economic hub in the capital which is going to add more value to the lives of people the of in the state," he gushed.