24 Years After: Fashola Hands Over Rebuilt Oyingbo Market, Urges Lagosians To Vote Party That Delivers On Its Promises
• Says nation's democracy could deliver if electorates vote politicians and political parties that work hard to deliver on their promises
• Governor fulfills MKO Abiola's dream of a modern Oyingbo Market
Mar 15, 2015 - Twenty-four years after its demolition, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Sunday commissioned and handed over the newly rebuilt Oyingbo Market urging Lagosians to vote for a party that has a record of keeping its promises, like the All Progressives Congress (APC), in the coming General Elections.
The new and highly modernized Oyingbo Market, rebuilt on its original site in Ebute Metta, is now a four-floor structure with 270 lock up shops, 632 open shops, 48 open offices, three cold rooms, one fire service station, 66 parking spaces and 134 toilets.
Efforts to rebuild the market which has been in existence since 1938, has moved from one administration to the other. In 1991, it was demolished with plans to turn it into an ultra-modern market. The then Chairman of the Mainland Local Government, Dr. Babatunde Larinde tried to rebuild it through partnership with the private sector inviting the late business mogul, Chief MKO Abiola to lay the foundation of the new market, who also promised to help them get the attention of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in raising needed funds for the project.
However, during his governorship campaigns around the State, the then Action Congress of Nigeria Governorship Candidate (Governor of the State) Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, in response to an appeal by the leader of the market, Alhaja Bushirat Balogun, appealed to assist in rebuilding the age-old market when voted into power.
Addressing a large audience consisting of market men and women, government functionaries and business stakeholders as well as APC party supporters, at the site of the new structure, Governor Fashola recalled that the new market being handed over was a promise he made in 2007 when he was seeking election as the Governorship candidate of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
Stressing on the importance of keeping promises as a commitment to the welfare of the people and not for vote catching, the Governor further recalled, "Precisely at the junction of Apapa Road and Murtala Mohammed Way, which is just a few metres away from this spot, I promised you in 2007 that I would rebuild the Oyingbo Market which had been demolished since 1991".
He told the highly elated audience, "When I made that promise, like many promises I made to you, they were not vote catching. They were meant to respond to the yearnings of our market men and women, large contributors to our economic life in retail business. They had been displaced from the comfort of their markets and stalls and had to resort to road side trading at great risk to limb and life, in order to put food on their table. That was my understanding of the seriousness of my promise".
"Today, I am here to hand over the market in fulfillment of that promise. In this way, I hope that you can still cling to the hope that our democracy can deliver on your promises if you vote for politicians and political parties who keep to their promises and work hard to deliver on them", Governor Fashola said.
Noting that many Lagosians voted for him in 2007 based on the promise to rebuild the market, the Governor said it was based on such premise that, in spite of the challenges on the site, he kept coming there to demonstrate his commitment to keep the promise adding, "You all know, I am not seeking any political office in this election, but I cannot forget that some of you voted for me on the basis of my promise. I am here today to keep my word".
He announced that "after series of meetings with the market men and women and their leadership", Government has concluded plans to allocate 618 of the open shops to the original owners who were displaced adding, "The new Oyingbo Market is now a much more modern market than what used to be here".
"I should know because my late grandmother used to sell pots and pans of the Tower Aluminum brand in this market when I was in primary school", he recalled expressing the hope that with the new structure in place, the traders would leave the roadside and move into the "more comfortable and secure location", which, according to him, would greatly improve traffic flow in the area.
Thanking all those who made it possible for his administration to deliver on the commitment, including the "contractor, public servants, Commissioners, Special Advisers, Permanent Secretaries, directors and officers of other cadres", Governor Fashola declared, "I value your service and the people of Lagos do so".
"You set us apart from other parties and governments who have no respect for the spoken word or promises" the Governor said adding, "Your commitment ensures that we deliver on our promises".
Praying that those who do business in the market would continue to prosper, Governor Fashola recalled a famous song by the evergreen Ebenezer Obey that says "Oja Oyingbo ko mop e enikan ko wa", adding, "But today, "Oja Oyingbo, ati awon iya oloja ati awon Baba oloja won mop e APC wa".
In his goodwill remarks, the Executive Secretary of the Lagos Mainland Local Government, Hon. Omolola Essien, thanked Governor Fashola for situating the Market in the Local Government saying it would greatly improve the commercial and economic activities within the environment, open up job opportunities and provide a one-stop shopping centre for residents.
Hon. Essien, who traced the establishment of Oyingbo Market to 1991 by a former Council Chairman of the old Mainland Local Government told the Governor, "On behalf of the wonderful and grateful people of Lagos Mainland Local Government, I want to say that we are proud of you. We, therefore, wish you the best in your near future endeavour as Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode continues your good work in the part of excellence come May 29, 2915".
In her own remarks, the Iyaloja of Oyingbo, Alhaja Bashirat Abeni Balogun, also praised Governor Fashola for his excellent performance in the State in the last eight years in terms of infrastructure renewal, saying the Governor has within his tenure lifted Lagos to become a reference point for other state of the country and other countries in the world to emulate.
She, however, appealed to the Governor to, among others; assist in providing a befitting office and secretariat for the Iyaloja and her cabinet, give allocations to the various commodities associations and provide maximum security to the market and all the adjoining communities within Oyingbo "as a protection for both traders and customers patronizing the market".
In her goodwill message, the Iyaloja General, Mrs. Folashade Tinubu-Ojo, "on behalf of the entire market men and women in Lagos State", thanked Governor Fashola for the love he has for the Lagos residents, saying "You promised to build an ultra modern and standard market for all the market men and women and you are fulfilling all your promises''.
The Iyaloja General urged all the occupants of the new Market to ensure that they took good care of the market and use it for the purpose which it was built adding, "It is our Governor that has been assisting us to build all these ultra modern markets in Lagos, so we are all encouraged to do our part. We should as well continue to pay our taxes because this structure is part of what our taxes have done for us".
She also called on all registered electorates in the State to collect their Permanent Voters' Cards (PVC) and vote for all the candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming General Elections saying Lagos State has become a role model for all other States of the Federation.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat noted that the new Oyingbo Market, which, according to him, was built to meet International standard anywhere in the world, added that it stands on 8617 square metres (2 hectares of land) and could park 150 cars.
The Commissioner said in addition to 632 open shops and 270 lock up shops of different sizes, there are also a bore-hole, a water treatment plant, a sewage treatment plant, open offices for banks, about 49 Insurance companies, a cold store for fish and meat sellers, Fire Service office and fire alarm points among other facilities.
Recalling that skeptics said doubted the ability of the State Government to deliver Oyingbo Market, Hamzat declared, "You cannot dispute what you have seen; what we have here is a four floor market. It has one KVA transformer, a 100 KVA generator and security details", adding that there are also close-circuit cameras around the market.
Among those who witnessed the handing over ceremony were, Chief of Staff, Mr. Lanre Babalola, Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Hammed, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs. Sola Oworu, Commissioner for Establishment and Training, Mrs. Florence Oguntuase, Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, Special Adviser on Works, Engr. Ganiyu Johnson, Special Adviser on Health, Dr. Yewande Adeshina, Oba of Igbobi Sabe, Oba Adeniyi, State Chairman Community Development Committee(CDC), Alhaji Tajudeen Kadiri, Market Men and Women and other stake holders.