Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), Sunday inspected the Government College, Eric Moore project in Iganmu and the 1008 Housing Estate project in Ijora-Badiya reiterating that the ethos of this year’s budget was to conclude as many projects as possible during the budget year.
Fielding questions from newsmen after the inspection, Governor Fashola, who disclosed that the inspection exercise exemplifies team work said other members of the Executive Council are also engaged in going round the projects to solve problems where they exist in order to ensure efficiency and timely completion of the projects.
On the 1008 Housing Estate, for example, the Governor said the Commissioner for Works, and his Housing and Agriculture counterparts came to meet with members of Ijora-Badiya community to explain to them in more details the progress of the project.
“It is clear to the community now that nobody has been here for decades and people have lived on what is essential an illegal refuse dump. This quality of life is not acceptable in this State, at least not to me as the Governor and something must be done”, the Governor said.Commenting on the complaints by members of the community on their alleged dislocation, Governor Fashola said, “The process of building means that there must be some discomfort; you cannot make an omelet without breaking an egg”, pointing out that in the process of redeveloping in an existing community there will always be some discomfort.
He, however, declared, “Now, we are planning to build 1008 housing units here of about 21 blocks. We have decided to start with six blocks and the reason is that we want to do it gradually so that the pain and the discomfort will be minimized”, adding that there is no other way to achieve the purpose of Government in the area.
The Governor said Government was now in the process of conducting a census of those who have been dislocated as a result of the project explaining that verification would be done to ensure that names of impostors are not allowed to get into the list.Noting that there are some unexpected setbacks in the course of execution such as weather which, according to him, has slowed down the project, Governor Fashola, however, assured that the project would move faster and more efficiently as soon as the small teething problems are out of the way.
“We have spoken to the Baale, the Market women and their women leaders. We have, unexpectedly, setbacks at this time of the year, the weather, we can’t move that quickly. But we are making progress; most of the equipment that are going to be used are already here”, the Governor said adding that because the housing units would be system building, they would be done faster.
Because the Houses will be a system building not the orthodox way of building, it is going to be quicker, it is going to be much more efficient and it is going to provide local employment for people who live in this community and when it really begins to happen I think the merits of the course, the merit of the intent of Government and purpose of Government here will be truly served”, the Governor said.
On the Eric Moore Government College project, Governor Fashola explained that the delay was caused by the contractor, who according to him, has been “less than efficient” adding that the contractor has not been carrying out the project according to time schedule.“The reality, actually, is that about two months ago I realized that the contractor has been less than efficient so we determined the contract and we are in the process of getting a new contractor. I hope that we can conclude that quickly before the end of the long vacation for the children and hopefully we will be able to complete one or more of those blocks for the children”, the Governor said.
He continued, “Well, these are some of the things that we see; people sometimes can play tricks on you. But my capacity to continue to check and recheck, thankfully, is not diminished. At the time of my earlier visit, they knew I was coming so they rolled out all the paraphernalia to receive me, today they did not know I was coming”.
“So, this is the ethos of this year’s budget, concluding as many projects as possible. We cannot finish all the projects that we started, thousands of them really, but concluding as many of them as we can and we will continue to push to inspect. As I am here, the Commissioner for Works and his team are in other parts of the State inspecting projects, solving problems”, he said.
The Governor also pointed out that the projects that are being inspected are the ones with problems, adding, “The ones that are going on we don’t need to go there. And it shows you the rapidity and the diversity of the places that we are touching, how expansive our intervention has been across all local governments in the State”.
So we are busy in all local government. The other day we were in Epe, the other day we were in Badagry, the other day we were in Mile 2 and the other day we were in Agege. It is all over the place. But those that you see us there are the ones that have problems either community issues, weather issues, ecological issues. So we have to go back there and go and solve it so that we can finish and the project can then serve the purpose to benefit the people”, the Governor said.
At the Eric Moore Government College to receive the Governor and conduct him round the project was the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye. The Governor was also accompanied on the tour by Commissioner for the Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello and other top government functionaries.