Obalende's Transformation Underway As Fashola Inspects Drainage, Other Projects
…Urges residents to play their role in mitigating impact of flooding
Apr 5, 2012 - Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Thursday inspected the drainage, road and other projects aimed at the transformation of Obalende describing it as a multi-pronged and multi-solution intervention to regenerate business and quality of life in the axis.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen after the inspection at Obalende, the Governor explained that the project is a multi -solution intervention on real property revaluation, regeneration, traffic management and control, pedestrian and commuter convenience, security, regeneration of business and night life.
Governor Fashola stated that for those who are familiar with Obalende, it is a place with a very deep and rich old history and a famous place because of its suya, which is one of those small businesses but which people cannot access anymore.
"By regenerating the area, we can bring back visitors to come and experience the ambience, night life of Obalende once again. If you look around many of the properties have devalued simply because the place has become disorganized".
"This is part of what we are trying to do. This place will be lit up at night. We have seen what the Ministry of Environment is doing about all the drainage channels that have been overtaken by development. You can also see human intervention conscripting the drainage channel, so all of this is part of what we are going to solve", he stated.
He gave an indication that the State Government was going to redesign the area which was once a location of a major bus terminus so that it can be made more user and customer friendly.
"From here we are about 100 metres from the famous Kam Salem House, which was the first Police Headquarters in Nigeria. It is a mult- pronged solution we are working on. St Gregory College road has lost its ability to connect people from Awolowo Road onto the Third Mainland. All of that will come back. We see the GTB has done some work there. We are going to finish what they started so that we can connect".
He noted that the intervention would bring a lot of relief to people who live in the area and to those who do business there, when completed.
"There is a famous hospital around this corner. I don't know how they could have fared having made that kind of investment with the degradation that we have seen here. I am sure all of these businesses will come back to life as soon as all of this intervention is completed".
"We should have improved drainage, improved management of flood even if it rains. We will see that water will drain very much more quickly and efficiently if people do not abuse the canals. We should also see solutions when Awolowo Road is conscripted by heavy traffic, people cannot exit through St Gregory Road".
"We should also hopefully see a more conducive environment to train children in St Gregory's College and breed the next generation of leaders. We are hopeful that the intervention will have a multi- faceted benefit across the sectors of the Lagos economy", the Governor stated.
On what preparations the government has made towards the prediction of 260 days of heavy rainfalls in the Lagos area in 2012, the Governor said everyone must become aware and take ownership of the drainages and drainage facilities around the neighbourhood.
"From the canals to the storm drainages, they are the most critical assets that protect our properties. If we protect them, they will work for us. The canals should not be the dumping place for vehicles, abandoned tyres. For everything that you dump to conscript the canal, you are actually endangering your own life and property. You are making yourself liable to flooding".
The Governor said there will always be rainfall as a natural phenomenon, just as rainfall is also needed for agriculture which also ensures human sustenance and economic prosperity in form of jobs. "It is a continuous balance. Farmers will not be happy if there is no rain. For those of us who live in Lagos, we are in a coastal area because we are on a low line", the Governor said.
Governor Fashola stated that there is a problem of rising water level across the world with the reported case of a whole community that was sacked by tornado in the United States on Wednesday.
He reiterated that nothing that has happened to Lagos during the rainy season is unusual, just as Europe has also come out of its own bad winter during which lives were lost.
"So we must just prepare for it. It is a phenomenon of nature and if we order ourselves very well the impact should not be too severe. We should come out of it very quickly and that is why we are doing our part. The citizens should also play their roles", he added.
Earlier, the Governor had been conducted round the various drainage channel points and intersections at Obalende by the Permanent Secretary in the Office of Drainage Services, Engineer Muhydeen Akinsanya and Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Engineer Ganiyu Johnson.
Other important government functionaries who accompanied the Governor on the inspection are Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, Commissioner for the Environment, Mr Tunji Bello and Permanent Secretary Office of Environment, Dr (Mrs) Titi Anibaba among others.