Have you been to Epe in the last few months? If you haven’t please visit Epe and see the wonderous transformation that the city has witnessed in the last 12 months. This is because an unprecedented transformation is ongoing in Epe, a Lagos State.
To those familiar with Epe, the township is one of the oldest of the 6 divisions that Lagos State is comprised of. Others are Ikorodu, Badagry, Lagos Island, the Mainland and Ikeja. But of all, Epe has been less fortunate to witness any form of modernisation.
But a new dawn has berthed in Epe, courtesy of governor Akinwunmi Ambode, who is turning this once agrarian/fishing community into a modern community. Two projects aimed at Epe’s transformation in recent times are infrastructure provision, especially road networks and Tourism development. During the flag-off ceremony of what officials described as “the world-class Epe-Marina Lagoon reclamation project” recently, the latter was aimed at giving a quantum leap to the tourism potentials of the state. But to make tourism development meaningful, it was considered that road construction had become imperative.
The governor stated that the lagoon reclamation projects in Epe and Badagry, upon completion, would look like that of Dubai in United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Epe-Marina Lagoon reclamation project is a complete redevelopment of the project site to facilitate the development of the area and promote tourism. It comes with sand filling to the lagoon of up to about 200 meters and visualisation of the network of roads in the axis with functional walkways. The road network project stands out as one ambitious vision which places Epe on the map of fast-growing communities in Lagos with the possibility of attracting migration from the metropolis. The project, handled by Messrs Granbury Construction as contractor, is to be executed in 3 phases and involves rehabilitation of strategic/arterial/inner roads.The Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr Ganiyu Johnson, listed the roads to include Lagos Road, Oke Osho/T Junction, Aiyetoro/ Roundabout; Central Mosque Junction/Orita Marun Stream, all categorised as ‘Grade A.’ Others are Oloja Estate; Bature/Otunba Adeniyi/Omotayo/Uthman Mustapha and Raman/Ishawu Owolabi, which are in category ‘B.’ However, according to Johnson, it is imperative for people to know that properties that fall on the right-of-way (ROAs) would need to go, but that as a responsible government, the state government wants to carry everyone along in the execution of the project. Realising that there can be no gain without some level of pain and discomfort, he said the project would affect some existing structure in order to achieve the desired right-of -way and this was successfully executed, thereby keeping the project going in an acceleration speed. Currently, the road project is 60 per cent completion stage with drainage facilities almost completed, especially, from Oke-Osho/T-Junction axis, Odomola/Orita Marun-Ita -Opo. Apart from drainage facility, some section of the road are just waiting for asphalt overlay, while others are witnessing unusual progress despite the seemingly unfavourable weather, as it has been rainy ceaselessly for quite sometime.
Speaking on why the Epe-Marina and Badagry-Marina projects were embarked upon simultaneously by the state government, Governor Ambode said “We want to actually duplicate what you see in Dubai-Marina. This is a whole stretch of two kilometers of real estate and new tourist centres that we are putting in Epe and Badagry at the same time. “We believe strongly that coming out from our retreat that we said we are going to grow the IGR of Lagos State by 2017 to N30 billion and 2018 to N50 billion, we believe that some of these projects that we are commencing now are just inlets to our dream of growing the IGR.
“We know that by the time we are expanding tourism potentials of Badagry and Epe at the same time, we will be able to get new investors that will be able to come to our new locations to do other things beyond what you see about recreation, tourism or entertainment and then get a whole lot of investments into Lagos State. This is part of our dreams and dreams do come true. “We are looking at the future of tourism from both axis. You cannot put tourism in those places without doing the infrastructure that is required to allow people to come in and that is why we are also doing the road network,” the governor said.
Reacting to these initiatives, the traditional ruler of Epe, Oba Kamorudeen Animashaun, while admitting that Epe, out of the six divisions that Lagos comprised had suffered neglect for long. “We thanked God and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode for this opportunity. “We will support the project and it is compulsory, because Epe is now faced with unimaginable developmental projects.
“We have Lagos Free Trade Zone, the proposed airport, fertilizer plant by Dangote Groups and others like that. At the end of the day, it is Epe that would benefit most,” said the traditional ruler. Oba of Noforija, Babatunde Ogunlaja, while assuring the contractor of molest-free engagement in the course of executing the project, urged parents to warn their wards and children. “We don’t want the governor to regret coming with this laudable project. Let us all join hands to ensure that its successful completion,” pleaded the traditional ruler, and truly there has been a tremendous cooperation since the commencement of the project. From women group came the pleading for immediate rehabilitation of some portions along Epe-Temu, Imota Agbowa and Isiu axis where there are craters and potholes.
Mrs Khadijat Ibiyemi, one of the women leader said while the road network within Epe Township is admirable, there is a need to address the road leading from the town to places like Ijebu Ode, Ibeju, Ketu-Epe, the three major roads to Epe Township.
Repeatedly, Ambode has assured residents of Epe area that the ancient town will witness infrastructural development during his administration. While speaking at a special Ramadan Lecture held at the premises of Epe Local Government Area, a few months back Ambode thanked the people for the support shown to the All Progressives Congress during the electioneering, promising that the development of Epe was uppermost in his heart.
He assured residents of the area that his government would reciprocate the gesture by carrying out infrastructural projects that would make life comfortable for them.
“I know that a lot of us contested, but the bottom line is that I belong to this community and whatever it is that we do, it is in the interest of this community. We are all going to stand together to make sure that the development of Epe is uppermost in our heart,” he said.
Ambode, who hails from Epe, enjoined residents to join hands with his government, urging them to seize the period of the Ramadan to pray for the success of his tenure in office.
He said, “I am glad Epe is one. It pleases God that what we have missed in the city for almost 40 years has come to us. It is now left for all of us to come together and join hands with this government.
“There is nothing I can do for Epe people that can be enough, but I assure you that Epe would be a new city. All I need from you now is prayer because I am ready to pay my dues in Epe and I will try my best to ensure that Epe and indeed Lagos State witness all round development and transformation.”
In the 2nd quarter of 2016 Ambode flagged off the world class Epe-Marina Lagoon reclamation project aimed at giving a quantum leap to the tourism potentials of the State. Governor Ambode, said the lagoon reclamation projects in Epe and Badagry, upon completion, would look like that of Dubai in United Arab Emirates (UAE). He assured that the Badagry-Marina Lagoon reclamation project would be completed by the end of August, this year.
The Epe-Marina Lagoon reclamation project is a complete redevelopment of the project site to facilitate the development of the area and promote tourism. The project comes with sand filling to the lagoon up to about 200 meters and dualization of the network of roads in the axis with functional walkways. Speaking on why the Epe-Marina and Badagry-Marina projects were embarked upon simultaneously by the State Government, Governor Ambode said: “We want to actually duplicate what you see in Dubai-Marina. This is a whole stretch of two kilometers of real estate and new tourist centres that we are putting in Epe and Badagry at the same time. “We believe strongly that coming out from our retreat that we said we are going to grow the IGR of Lagos State by 2017 to N30billion and 2018 to N50billion, we believe that some of these projects that we are commencing now are just inlets to our dream of growing the IGR. “We know that by the time we are expanding tourism potentials of Badagry and Epe at the same time, we will be able to get new investors that will be able to come to our new locations to do other things beyond what you see about recreation, tourism or entertainment and then get a whole lot of investments into Lagos State. This is part of our dreams and dreams do come true. “We are looking at the future of tourism from both axis. You cannot put tourism in those places without doing the infrastructure that is required to allow people to come in and that is why we are also doing the road network,” the Governor said.
Governor Ambode, who equally inspected the on-going dualization of about 25 network of roads in Epe, said the massive investment of government in the area was part of the grand plan to transform the axis and same was in line with the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) project. He expressed satisfaction with the level and pace of work done so far, saying that the quality was of international standard.
He also expressed optimism that the projects, upon completion, would decongest the heartland of Lagos as people would be encouraged to move to Epe and Ibeju-Lekki axis. Speaking to journalists at the project sites, Governor Ambode said: “We believe with this expansion, the whole lot of what we are trying to do in Epe and Ibeju-Lekki axis will be developed. “We are inspired to see how we can look at the phase two of this project as quickly as possible. This road dualization is expected to be completed in 16 months but because we are ahead of schedule, we are looking at the first quarter of next year. “With this, we have just injected 30 kilometres of standard roads into Epe and the meaning of that is, of course, changing the economy of Epe Township, real estate will be boomed and we are encouraging commerce and industrialisation.
“ This project is the backbone of the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Deep Seaport and the proposed Airport. All the State Government is doing is stimulating the economy and that is what is happening here,” he said. Governor Ambode also inspected the VIP Chalets in Epe where he disclosed that government will expand the housing scheme in the area and carry out perimeter fencing of the project site. Earlier, Governor Ambode and his team inspected the Adeniji Adele transport interchange outward Third Mainland Bridge, where he ordered massive enforcement against illegal dropping and picking of passengers at undesignated bus stops. This, the Governor said, would enhance ease of vehicular movement around that axis and drastically reduce traffic on the Third Mainland Bridge inward Obalende and Lagos Island.
The Governor also inspected the on-going rehabilitation and upgrading of Freedom Road and Admiralty Way in Lekki, as well as the on-going bridge being constructed at Ajah Roundabout. He, however, urged the people to continue to pay their taxes so that government would continue to provide the needed infrastructures. He said: “I think in the last 14 months, we have been able to show Lagosians that we can actually appropriate the taxes that they paid judiciously and then allocate it to the different sectors that really have meaning and impact to the ordinary Lagosians. “The more they see what we are doing, the more inspired taxpayers should be to perform their civic obligations and when they pay their taxes, our commitment remains the same, we will use these taxes judiciously and also expand the growth and economy of Lagos so that life becomes safer, cleaner and then more prosperous for all Lagosians,” he said