President Muhammadu Buhari has concluded his two day working visit to Lagos, where he unveiled some public and private sector projects.
On day two of the visit, the President
inaugurated the John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History at Onikan on Lagos Island and the first phase of the Blue Line Rail project.
President Buhari who arrived at the John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History in company of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at some minutes to eleven o clock in the morning toured the facility.
The original J. Randle Centre was built
in 1928 by friends of Randle, who died at a relatively young age to serve as an avenue for recreation, learning, sports and entertainment
A West African doctor, John Randle was active in politics in Lagos, during the colonial era.
The immediate past administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode redesigned the centre to serve as a place to facilitate the study and preservation of Yoruba heritage in addition to its original purpose.
The new centre consist of an Exhibition Hall, a Library, Multi-Purpose Hall, Learning Spaces, Restaurant and Lounges, a Pavilion for stage performance and a museum while retaining its swimming pool and sporting facilities.
The event was graced by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi and other traditional rulers from within and outside the State as well as eminent personalities in the entertainment Industry.
President Buhari thereafter moved to the Iconic Marina station to inaugurate the first phase of the Blue Line Rail project and witnessed the signing of the contract of the second phase.
On the twenty-first of December, last year (2022) Governor Sanwo-Olu had announced the completion of the first phase of Lagos Rail Mass Transit Blue Line from Marina to Mile two.
In a remark before the President unveiled the project, Governor Sanwo-Olu who acknowledged the visionary role of the the former Governor of the state and Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu described the light rail line as milestone
The Governor acknowledged the support of Mr President towards the development of Lagos, noting that the State had enjoyed more support from the Buhari Administration than previous ones.
“Let me boldly say that, since 1999, Lagos State has not enjoyed the kind of support that we have enjoyed since your assumption of office. The various projects that you have commissioned indeed bear testimony of the support and facilitation of the Federal Government under your watch; from the Imota Rice Mill, inspired by your successful agricultural revolution, to the Lekki Deep Sea Port, and this Blue Line Rail Project.
Mr. President – and I am sure that you
will be pleased by this too – that this Blue Line rail system will
be powered end-to-end by high voltage electricity, to be supplied by a dedicated IPP, as well as back-up systems.
What this means is that the operation of this Line will leave zero carbon emissions impact on the environment.
This Line is 13km long, and the first Phase of a 27km
line. Mr President, we will be commissioning the Red line before the end of your administration, which is in fact bigger and longer than this” the Governor said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu urged Lagos residents to own the project which will reduce travel time, improve the quality of lives of residents and make Lagos a resilient mega city.
Earlier in an address of welcome, the State Deputy Governor, Dr Obafemi Hamzat explained that the project is in line with the Lagos Transportation Master plan and people oriented.
Dr Hamzat said “Our transportation strategy is multimodal, bringing together the various elements of road, rail and water in a seamless manner that makes commuting an interesting experience.
Coincidentally, Marina, where we are making history today, is central to our integrated multimodal transport system, being a melting pot for all the transportation modes.
It is, therefore, not surprising that since its completion the landmark Blue Rail Line has elicited much jubilation among residents, who are excited to be part of history. The excitement, no doubt, is justifiable, considering the fact that this project will certainly help to reduce the pressure on our roads, enhance the economic wellbeing of Lagosians and put our dear State on the same pedestal as others of its stature. The people come first in all that we do. They are the bedrock of our government. This project is, therefore, all about them. And that is what governance is all about”.
The first phase of the Blue Rail line will move two hundred and fifty thousand passengers daily, while on full completion of the entire stretch to Okokomaiko, it is anticipated that at least, five hundred thousand people will commute daily on the rail line.
By Omolara Omosanya & Yemisi Dada,Edited by Grace Namiji