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24 hours after naming road after Soyinka, Tinubu commissions Goodluck Jonathan Way

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Above: Vice President Kashim Shettima (4th left), Minister Nyesom Wike (3rd left) and others at commissioning of Goodluck Jonathan Expressway; Below: Wole Soyinka Way.

By Wisdom Acka (www.abujadigest.info)

In continuation of the commissioning of projects lined up to commemorate his one year in office, President Bola Tinubu, has commissioned Extension of the Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX), otherwise known as Goodluck Ebele Jonathan Expressway.

Tinubu, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima at the event on Wednesday, stated that the event was a celebration of the administration’s commitment to Nigeria’s prosperity.

He said: “As we gather here today to commission the extension of the Inner Southern Expressway (ISEX) by the Outer Southern Expressway (OSEX) to the Southern Parkway, we celebrate not just the completion of yet another road project by the FCT Administration, but also the commitment of our administration to engendering progress and prosperity.

His words: “Today’s commissioning is the fourth completed road that we have proudly unveiled in the Federal Capital Territory, all executed in less than one year. I am filled with gratitude to Nyesom Wike and his team, for their dedication and hard work in making this road a reality. These roads are tangible proof of our administration’s vision for a modern, prosperous and inclusive Federal Capital.”

The President recalled that he had promised to prioritise the transformation of infrastructure networks as the means of improving the economy and connecting the people.

He noted that extension of the road was more than just a road, but “symbolises connectivity, accessibility and opportunity.

“It signifies our unwavering determination to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas; ensuring that development is not confined to city centres, but reaches every corner of our great nation,” Tinubu said.

The President continued: “But let us not forget that this is just one of the many projects that have been completed across the FCT. There are still many more strategic projects in the pipeline, each designed to address the evolving needs of our Federal Capital, from upgrading existing infrastructure, initiating new projects, we are laying the ground for a more sustainable and prosperous future.”

Tinubu, again heaped praises on the FCT Minister, saying: “As we celebrate this achievement, it is crucial once again to acknowledge the concerted efforts of the FCT Minister and his team, all stakeholders involved, including private sector partners. As I said the last time, Wike is a force of human nature. Love him, hate him, but you cannot ignore him. Because at every point in time, he is striving to redefine the meaning and concept of leadership.”

The President scored Wike as “one of the best appointments ever made in the history of the current democratic dispensation in this country”.

He, however, stated: “There were loud protests when his name was initially mentioned, but I believe all my brothers and sisters who opposed his appointment are now hailing him. He’s an exemplary leader, worthy of emulation by us all. He is a very mercurial partner, unfortunately, leadership has turned down that tempo. The whole political space is populated by careful friends, friends who….but now he has stopped dancing, he has stopped singing, but he is still performing.”

Tinubu reaffirmed that his administration would “in the coming months and years….continue to prioritise infrastructural development as a cornerstone of our ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’.

“We remain committed to delivering on our promises, empowering our people, and building a nation that we can all be proud of”, he added.

Speaking earlier, Wike disclosed that the ISEX road project was awarded in January 2010 at N17 billion, but revised in 2023 to N18 billion; adding that full payment has been made on that project.

“The contractor can attest to the fact that we are not owing a dime as far as this road is concerned. It is fully paid, and it is because of your directive embedded in the ‘Renewed Hope Agenda’ that, all ongoing projects must be completed and we are happy that the residents of Abuja can see the new look of the Federal Capital Territory,” he reiterated.

The Minister explained that there were some completed projects which were not necessary for inauguratation, but it was important to mention for history’s sake.

According to him, rehabilitation of the first phase of the National Assembly complex and contract has been awarded for the second phase; saying: “But today, because we’ve finished that first phase, they’ve now gone back to their usual chambers, which are the Red chambers and the Green chambers. Now this administration has also awarded the rehabilitation of the second phase.”

Again, before we came, the former administration awarded the rehabilitation of the first phase of the a Federal Secretariat Complex to Julius Berger Nig. Ltd. As I speak to you sir, we have completed this particular project, Wike emphasized.

He also disclosed that resurfacing of roads measuring about 170 kilometers have been carried out in Maitama, Wuse, Asokoro, Garki, Gwarimpa I Districts respectively among others.

FCT Minister of State, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, on her part, expressed heartfelt gratitude to the President; adding that If the world had more people like him, it would make a difference.

On Tuesday, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu approved the naming of the Arterial road N20 from Northern Parkway to the Outer Northern Expressway (Murtala Mohammed Expressway) Wole Soyinka Way.

In his address during the commissioning of the road in Abuja, the President described Soyinka as a foremost playwright, who has brought international recognition to Nigeria and, therefore, appreciated the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, for the recommendation.

His words: “Let me say here that your momentous recommendation to name this road Wole Soyinka Way is well received. He is our foremost playwright, novelist, and Nobel prize winner, who has brought Nigeria fame and pride of international acclaim.”

The President thanked the Minister for thinking that way; saying, “We all accept your recommendation on behalf of the people and the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.

“Professor Wole Soyinka has brought immense honour and fame to Nigeria through his unparalleled contributions to literature and his unwavering commitment to human rights and social justice. Naming this highway after him is a fitting tribute to a man who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of truth, freedom, and artistic excellence,” Tinubu added.

He said the commissioning of the road was a testament to the actualisation of his administration’s agenda to transform every part of the country; noting the importance of investing in infrastructural development to sustain growth and deliver economic prosperity to the people.

The FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, in his address, explained that the Wole Soyinka Way was awarded in 2020, at the cost of N30.6 billion; noting that it was the fastest of all the projects completed in four years.

He added that with the work done in the FCT under Tinubu’s administration, it would be “very difficult” for anyone to challenge him in the FCT.

“This road was awarded in 2020. In fact, this is the fastest. It was awarded 2020, not the ones that were awarded 15 years ago, or 16 years ago. It was awarded at the cost of N30.6 billion”, he stated.

FCT Minister of State, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, on her part, expressed “deepest appreciation to the President and all those involved in the monumental task of developing this arterial road in our city.”

She, however, noted: “our tireless efforts have not transformed the infrastructural landscape of our city but has laid foundation for smoother transportation and enhanced connectivity.”

Mahmoud added that, the President’s “dedication and commitment, with excellence has made a significant impact on the lives of FCT residents and visitors alike and for that we remain eternally loyal and grateful to you, Mr. President.”

Executive Secretary, Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), Engr. Shehu Hadi-Ahmad, ealier in his project overview, stated that the aretial road N20 was “one of the principal arteries of corridors for conveyance of network of engineering infrastructure, which will take from the primary sources and convey into districts adjoining such roads.”

He disclosed that the road is located in the northern flank of the FCT, crisscrossing sectors centres, which under the Abuja Master Plan, is a confluence of about four to six districts.

● Report by Abuja Digest

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