The Ondo State Government and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, have jointly flagged off the construction of the N19.2 billion Araromi-Akodo/Ibeju-Lekki Road, connecting Ondo and Lagos states.
Speaking at the ceremony to mark the commencement of work on the 50-kilometre road at the Araromi Seaside, Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State, the Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, described the event as “epoch-making and indescribable.”
He declared: “This is the project for us. To link our state almost seamlessly to Lagos is the big deal. It has been our vision and we thank God that it is now being realised.”
Akeredolu, expressed optimism that the project would be delivered before the expiration of the tenure of the current NDDC Board, thanking the Commissio for partnering with his administration to provide good governance to the people.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the NDDC Governing Board, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba SAN, stressed that the Commission was focusing on projects that would truly integrate the Niger Delta region. He, therefore, urged all the governors in the region to emulate their Ondo State counterpart in collaborating with the NDDC.
He said that people should discard the notion that NDDC projects were hardly completed; assuring that the Ondo regional road project would be executed faithfully. He also assured that the Omotosho-Okitipupa electrification project would be completed soon.
In his speech at the occasion, the NDDC Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, recalled that the Commission had on Tuesday, April 4, 2017, signed a Memorandum of Understanding, with the Ondo State Government, to build the 50.918km road.
He noted that the project was very important because it would open up new frontiers, for growth, prosperity and regional integration.
He said: “The Araromi-Akodo/Ibeju-Lekki Road will connect the agricultural-rich communities of Araromi seaside – Igbo Erelu, Eba, Awodikora, Elefon, Ode-Omi, Imedu, Igboguna, Akodo in Ondo State with Ise in Ibeju – Lekki area of Lagos States. It is the first part of the very important coastal road project which the Federal Government has conceived to link our coastal towns with a strategic road network. On completion, it will cut travel time between Ondo State and Lagos to less than one hour, and facilitate easy evacuation of agricultural produce from these communities.”
Ekere explained that the main alignment from Irokun to Ise was 36.035km, with seven different spurs totaling 14.883 kilometres. He observed that because of the difficult terrain, it would cost a total of ₦19, 274, 195, 882.70 at an average cost of ₦378, 534, 032.81/km.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer praised the Ondo State Governor for collaborating on the project and signing the MOU within six weeks of assuming office. “He brought a sense of urgency for collaborative development of our Niger Delta Region to the table,” he said.
“Today’s occasion celebrates the limitless possibilities for growth and development when state governments and partners in the region team up with the NDDC for the common good. It is also a pointer to the new direction of the Commission. In our 17 years, NDDC has undertaken landmark, ground-breaking projects that have truly broken new grounds for growth and prosperity. We have built a lot of road, bridges, jetties, schools, hostels, health facilities, etc. These have met the immediate need for the transformation of our states and communities and primed us to shift gear.”
Ekere said that under the current NDDC Board, more attention would be focused on projects that would engender sustainable and comprehensive regional economic and social integration of the Niger Delta.
He added: “Very shortly, the Commission will conclude and execute similar partnership projects with Edo and Delta State Governments for the construction of the Benin-Abraka Road and Omadino-Okerenkoko-Escravos Road. We are also looking to partner with the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, for the construction of the Abak-East-West Road.”
Ekere re-stated the resolve of the NDDC to engage with all the nine Niger Delta Governors as the Commission was not in competition with any state. “We are looking at the big picture and our role is to resolve the developmental challenges of the region and support the development ambitions of the states by working together as partners.” he said.