President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to Abuja after his Wednesday’s working visit to inaugurate some developmental projects executed by the Lagos State Government.
Buhari and his entourage arrived the airport at exactly 3 p.m and left the Presidential Wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, at exactly 3:20 p.m. aboard a Nigerian Air Force 001 Boeing aircraft with registration number 5N-FGT.
Those who saw him off at the airport included Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, Gov. Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, Gov. Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, Gov. Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State and Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State.
Others were Lagos State Governor-elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Mr Obafemi Hamzat.
Some members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), members of the National Assembly, members of the Lagos State Assembly were with the President during the one-day official working visit.
Also on ground at the Presidential Lounge were the top echelon of the Nigeria Police Force, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Customs Service and the Nigeria Immigration Service.
The President and his entourage in the morning, arrived the Presidential Wing of the airport in Lagos at 10.32 a.m. amid tight security within and outside the airport.
Buhari had earlier inaugurated some developmental projects including the Institute of Maternal and Child Health at Ayinke House; an ultra-modern 170-bed Obstetrics and Gynaecology specialist hospital located within Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Lagos Theatre at Oregun, Lagos.
The President also inaugurated the Oshodi Interchange terminal for a modern transportation hub; 822 High capacity Mass Transit buses; and a 10-lane world standard International Airport Road.
While commissioning the remodeled Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road, the world class Oshodi Transport Interchange and the 820 high and medium capacity buses for public transportation, President Buhari stated emphatically that State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has performed satisfactorily.
Buhari, who commissioned the three impactful projects at a well-attended ceremony, said he was delighted to unveil the projects as they aptly reflected the drive and success of government in pursuing policies and programmes that will positively impact on its citizen.
“Earlier this morning, I commissioned the Ayinke House of the Institute of Maternal and Child Health and also the Lagos Theatre in Oregun.
“Your Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode has performed satisfactorily and we should all commend him for his contribution to the growth and development of Lagos State,” the President said.
President Buhari said the coming on board of the projects had clearly demonstrated the need to continue to provide high impact projects for the development of infrastructure and opportunities for job creation at all levels, just as he said that the development was in sync with the efforts of the Federal Government to improve infrastructure especially in the transport sector.
“To complement Oshodi Transport Interchange, the Federal Government has recently approved the reconstruction of the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway up to Oworonshoki and Old Toll Gate which was last attended to 40 years ago.
“We have recently commissioned the new International Airport Terminals in Port Harcourt and Abuja, as well as the rail lines from Abuja to Kaduna. The Lagos to Ibadan Rail Line is under construction. Our government will continue to prioritize high impact infrastructure which will vastly improve the lives of our people,” he said.
The President also seized the occasion to thank Lagosians for their support at the 2019 general election, recalling that it was his second working visit to Lagos in the last one year.
In his remarks, Governor Ambode thanked the President for his direct influence and support towards the projects which made it a reality, saying that it was on record that the State has never enjoyed such measure of support from the Federal Government as it had done in the last four years.
He said the Murtala Mohammed Airport Road and the U-Turn Flyover would be open for public use immediately, while the two flyovers would be open for use from May 10 after the quality assurance work is completed.
Governor Ambode said the Terminal 3 of the Oshodi Transport Interchange will become fully operational on May 1, while Terminals 1 and 2 would become operational by the end of May.
He said that the projects were part of his administration’s promise to deliver people-oriented programmes and projects, saying that the development plan of the State has been positively affected through the projects, including the Maternal and Child Health Centre, popularly called Ayinke House, which the President commissioned earlier in the day.
“In our promise to deliver people-oriented projects and programmes, a closer look at all the projects indicate that nearly all the different pillars of our development plan as a State have been affected positively through these projects. The Institute Of Maternal and Child Health at LASUTH contributes to our health and education sectors simultaneously.
“The Lagos Theatre, Ikeja is about our Social Development Sector while the Oshodi Transport Interchange and Buses come under our Transport, Infrastructure and Commerce sectors. The Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road is an Infrastructural Development project.
“All these projects together form the thrust of our vision as a government and the end result is to make life better for all our people, irrespective of gender, tribe or political leanings,” he said.
He said his administration invested the second tranche of the Paris Club refund, in addition to the refund by the Federal Government on Federal road projects executed by States to the construction of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road and the Oshodi Transport Interchange, the first of its kind in Africa, while the first tranche of the Paris Club refund to States approved by the President was utilised to pay the 40 per cent down-payment for the 820 buses.
“This is our report card, Mr. President. We have used your approval and releases judiciously because we believe strongly in you, in your leadership and in your vision for our country. This is our modest contribution to the growth and development of our State and to the country in general.
“Mr. President, we believe strongly that the projects being commissioned today are our own modest contributions to the national development of Nigeria. As I said earlier, these projects would not have been possible without Mr. President’s quiet but impactful decision to approve and release the payments of the Paris Club refund and the refund on Federal Road projects incurred by the States,” he said.
Governor Ambode said he was fully optimistic that with the coming on board of the projects, the future prosperity of the State is secured, saying that the level of investment in the last four years in strengthening the social and physical infrastructure base of the State were becoming evident in all sectors of the economy.
“With the completion of these projects and given the level of commitment of the next administration as well as the continuous support of the Federal Government, I am assured that the immediate and future prospects of our State is very bright.
“Mr. President, Lagos State will continue to support your aspirations to move Nigeria to the Next level. The business community in the State are desirous of partnering with your government in moving our economy forward,” he said.
The President, after the commissioning, went on a bus ride with dignitaries to tour the facility and also drove through the remodeled Murtala Mohammed International Airport Road.
While unveiling the newly reconstructed Institute of Maternal And Child Health popularly known as Ayinke House located within the premises of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) in Ikeja, President Buhari described it as a critical and timely intervention by the State Government in the health sector.
Ayinke House, which is Nigeria’s biggest Maternity Hospital, was upgraded from an 80-bed facility to a 170-bed healthcare centre with state-of-the-art medical equipment, as well as information technology services.
Aside the entourage of the President which included Ministers and Special Advisers, Governors of Ogun (Ibikunle Amosu ), Oyo (Abiola Ajimobi), Ondo (Oluwarotimi Akeredolu), Ekiti (Kayode Fayemi), Jubrila Bindow, Adamawa, Acting Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu; Lagos State Governor-Elect, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu and his deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat; Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, among others were in attendance.
The President, who landed at the Presidential Wing of Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja at about 10: 45am, arrived at Ayinke House about 15 minutes later, after which he unveiled the project, and also embarked on comprehensive tour of the facility.
Speaking at the event, the State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode described the development as historic, expressing optimism that the facility would provide world class childbirth and maternal care services to Lagosians and Nigerians at large.
Recalling how the journey began, Governor Ambode said the facility was commissioned exactly 29 years ago, with the late businessman and philanthropist, Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony donating the first dedicated maternal and child care facility to the State Government, in memory of his mother; hence the christened name “Ayinke House”.
He said the hospital, which started with just one surgical theatre soon assumed a life of its own as a first-class childbirth and maternal care centre in the health sector of Nigeria as well as first choice for expectant mothers.
However, the Governor said the hospital later became over-stretched beyond capacity and somehow obsolete, while in recognition of the need to sustain Bank-Anthony’s philanthropy, the State Government, during the administration of former Governor Babatunde Fashola who is now the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, awarded the contract for the expansion and reconstruction of the facility.
“Today, seven years after the closure of the facility, the new edifice is now a 170-bed facility with 5 surgical theatres. It has a 16-bed emergency care units with 3 organ support facilities, 30 bed special baby care unit, 5 neo-natal intensive care units, a fully equipped laboratory with support services, laboratories and a blood bank.
“Beyond the significance for the health sector, this institute is a major contribution to our education sector also; as it becomes a veritable platform for our medical students in the State University to enhance their exposure and experience with the top-class medical equipment provided,” Governor Ambode said, just as he revealed that Ayinke House had also been completely digitalised with state-of-the-art medical equipment as well as information technology services supported by the State Ministry of Science and Technology.
He said in view of President Buhari’s determination of making universal and basic primary healthcare as one of the cardinal priorities of his administration, the State Government, under him, had consciously worked to bring quality, affordable and modern healthcare to all our citizenry, among other initiatives in the health sector.
“Just last year, we launched the Lagos State Health Insurance scheme to allow residents access top quality medical care with a little contribution and support from the State government.
“These and other efforts are directed at improving the lives of our people, especially the women and children; and by extension the productivity of our nation,” he said.
While congratulating President Buhari on his resounding victory at the recent presidential election, Governor Ambode thanked him for finding time to personally commission Ayinke House and other projects in the State, adding that the completion of the projects would not have been possible without the President’s support, administrative direction and encouragement.
Besides, Governor Ambode commended the Management and Staff of the State’s Ministry of Health, Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, LASUTH as well as contractors for working round the clock and their enthusiasm in getting the project completed.
President Buhari also commissioned the 500-seater Lagos Theatre in Oregun, Ikeja. The ultra modern theatre is one of the four simultaneously constructed by the Ambode administration to increase arts spaces and create standard platforms for talented citizens of the State to showcase their skills.
The President who arrived the venue at exactly 11:30am was treated to a live dance performance by a young group of talented artist before taking his leave.
The Governor said the three other theatres with the same specifications are also ready for commissioning in Igando, Badagry and Epe.