First civilian governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande at the weekend urged  all stakeholders involved in the issues arising from the expanded Lekki-Epe toll road to  embrace dialogue.

Lateef Jakande.

The elder statesman who said this at his Ilupeju residence expressed happiness on the recent  inauguration of a committee by Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN) to look into all the issues  involved in the project.

Alhaji Jakande, who recently marked his 81st birthday, described Governor Fashola as a  committed and humble person who has a clear idea of his goal and what he intends to do for  the people of Lagos State.

“Let me say first and quite frankly that I am impressed by Governor Fashola. In many  respects, he has made himself a name. Many people did not know that he is capable, as  gallant as he was, because he was in the civil service.


“But my impression of him is that he has a clear idea of his goal and he pursues the goal  with determination. He is dynamic and humble; he is very much committed to development. I  feel that he has been a credit to us in Lagos State”.

While endorsing Governor Fashola’s second term in office, Alhaji Jakande declared, “I look  forward to another term of office to enable him to complete his assignment. I hope he will  get it”.

On the Lekki-Epe Expressway, Alhaji Jakande called for dialogue and consultations between  Government and those opposed to the tolling of the expanded road.

He expressed joy that the state government has already made wide consultations and discussed  extensively with the stakeholders on the issue but urged more publicity and dialogue to  convince the protesters that the project is in their own best interest.

Jakande who constructed the first road on the Lekki corridor, declared, “The important thing  is that the total area of Lekki has developed beyond recognition and it is still capable of  being developed. My advice to government is to carry the people along and let them  appreciate those circumstances that led to the tolling system. In my experience, Lagosians  will cooperate”.

On the cancelled metroline project proposed by his administration, the ex-governor said,  “Metroline is one project I regret was stopped by the military. But we had established a  corridor where the metroline would pass even before the project was cancelled”.

The former governor said Lagos would remain very relevant in the development of Nigeria  pointing out that years after the capital territory of Nigeria was moved from Lagos to  Abuja, the State has continued to act as melting pot of the whole federation.

“Lagos is a creation of God. Lagos cannot be wished away or in any way reduced in stature.  The reason is that if we go back to the history of Nigeria, those years when the struggle  for Independence started, all the great Nigerians who fought the battle, Herbert Macaulay,  Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Akintola and others, all passed through Lagos. Lagos was the pioneer  capital of Nigeria,” he said.

“Lagos is still recognised as the economic capital of Nigeria while Abuja is the political  capital. As the economic and commercial capital of Nigeria, Lagos has come to stay and it  has no rival. One can, therefore, say that Lagos and the people of Lagos have no regrets for  the change of political capital. On the contrary, the people themselves, with all the  connections that have been made, make Lagos a must for any political system that we have.  Lagos will continue to be among the leading states of the federation”.

Meanwhile Governor Babatunde Fashola yesterday cautioned critics of the concessioning of  Lekki/Epe to have a rethink as the state cannot progress without public/private partnership  (PPP) ventures.

Governor Fashola, while speaking at the opening of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi Gallery and  Library, located  close to Afrika Shrine, Agidingbi, Lagos, decried the state of roads in  the country and how the challenges of maintaining them have overburdened the various  governments.

He also said in other countries of the world, roads were concessioned to private firms for  management and maintenance.

Explaining why PPP is important, Governor Fashola said: “we ran a communications industry in  this country for almost 50 years and we could not talk to ourselves. They could not collect  bills and could not send them.

“Immediately we allowed the private sector into it, you get your telephone bill now on your  telephone. That is efficiency for me and our lives have changed through that communications  model in more ways than one.