President Muhammadu Buhari Tuesday inaugurated the Ore Interchange Flyover on the Shagamu–Ore–Benin Expressway in Ondo State with an assurance that the Federal Government will sustain massive investments in infrastructure across the country.
The President during a working visit to Ondo State, also commissioned the Ondo-Linyi industrial hub.
Speaking at the inauguration of the flyover at Ore town in Odigbo Local Government Area of Ondo State, the President said the Interchange would boost economic activities in the State, ease traffic congestion as well as reduce accidents often experienced on the major road.
The President used the occasion to assure the government and people of Ondo State under Oluwarotimi Akeredolu that the Federal Government will meet its obligations to the State on the construction of this Interchange Flyover in due course.
President Buhari recalled that the re-designing and construction of the road to accommodate Interchange Flyover was overdue as a result of the growing population in Ore.
”During the civil war and during my campaigns since 2002, I have become familiar with the terrain of Ore which is a connecting city between the Southwest and the Eastern parts of our country.
”As a result of this, the city has a cosmopolitan population that is in the neighbourhood of 300,000.
”This is a city that can be described as a mini-Nigeria as almost all ethnic groups of our country are happily represented here.
”Let me commend Governor Akeredolu and his team for their great efforts and professionalism in putting this project in place.
”This project is executed in line with the spirit and drive of the Federal Government which puts great emphasis on infrastructural development across our country, especially in the area of transportation, ” he said.
President Buhari praised a consortium of Nigerian Engineers for the design and supervision of the impressive-flyover of international standards.
”We are proud of you and we want to assure our people that we would continue to utilise the expertise and experience of local consultants who are competing favourably with their counterparts globally.
”Let me also advise that a maintenance system should be in place to safeguard road users throughout the lifetime of this very impressive fly-over, ” he said.
Commending the impactful performance of the current Ondo State Administration, the President affirmed that the Akeredeolu administration had cleared six months out of the seven months arrears of salaries/pensions owed by the previous administration.
He also lauded the state government for being up-to-date in payment of salaries and pensions.
”It is gratifying to note that Ondo State is one of the first few states in Nigeria that have started implementing the New Minimum Wage.
”You have been able to achieve these feats in spite of limited available resources.
”I am not surprised at this because available records show that Ondo State has recorded the highest percentage leap in Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) among the States, due to the effort of the APC government here, ” he said.
Reaffirming the resolve of the Federal Government to continue to invest heavily in the provision of infrastructure, the President announced that his administration has expended more on the provision of railway services, rehabilitation and construction of roads and bridges.
”We are confronting the infrastructure deficit head on.
”At the inception of our administration, we were faced with decayed infrastructure on our road network and railways, because of long years of neglect and lack of investment.
”However, our administration, as a result of our commitment to bridge this deficit, decided to source funds and address the issue.
”Let me commend the collaborative efforts between the Federal Government and Ondo State Government in respect of this project.
”I commend this type of collaboration between the Federal Government and other State Governments.
”No one tier of government can on its own achieve the overall development of our dear country, ” he said.
Earlier, the President while commissioning Industrial hub congratulated the Government and people of Ondo State on the remarkable achievement.
”I am impressed with what is on ground here and anticipate on the positive impact this will have on the people of this State, ” he said.
The Nigerian leader also commended the Chinese investors who saw Nigeria and Ondo State in particular as a viable investment destination.
”I want to assure you of our continued support, both at the Federal and State level, as we move forward to the next phase of this project’s lifecycle.
”May I also thank our traditional rulers and host community for their tolerance, understanding and support.
”I ask you all to sustain this cooperation and collaborative effort to ensure this investment expands and succeeds, ” he said.
Speaking at the Ore Flyover, Governor Akeredeolu told the President that the commissioning of the star projects were part of activities to commemorate the third year anniversary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led administration in the state.
While thanking the President for honouring the State with his esteemed presence, the Governor requested the refund of state funds spent on federal roads in the state.
He specifically appealed to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to facilitate the approval of the President, for the funds expended on all Federal Government projects in Ondo State, including the Interchange totaling about N10.89bn.
The projects include Aboto – Olokola Road Project, Ore – Okitipupa Road Project, Construction of the Interchange Flyover across Lagos – Benin Expressway at Ore, among others.
At the industrial hub, the Ondo Governor announced that thousands of youth are directly employed in the industrial hub which already has several factories including a medium density fibre (MDF) factory, cassava to ethanol factory, high density Fibreboard and plywood production line and a paper production factory.
”The employment ratio of Nigerians to expatriates here is in the range of 40:1 in favour of Nigerians.
”Our farmers benefit directly from supply of raw materials, and the multiplier effects have stimulated logistics, hospitality, construction, banking and other service sectors of our economy in Ondo State and Nigeria in general,” he said.
Governor Akeredolu announced that in the near future a high volume vehicle assembly and production plant, wine distillery, dairy factory, a clothing production company and a metal production company would be established in the industrial hub.