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NIGERIA: Sagay, Utomi Urge FG to Learn from Lagos Condemn cancellation of first metro line

A constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay and a former presidential candidate, Prof. Pat Utomi,  Tuesday deplored the federal government for failing to make meaningful impact in the public space, asking it to learn from the historic development taking place in Lagos State.

The duo expressed the view at the Freedom Park, Lagos Island, during the public presentation of a book, ‘Fashola: The Historic Reconstruction of Lagos’, which was authored by a legal practitioner, Mr. Emeka Odikpo.

The book presentation was witnessed by the state’s former governors, including Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson (rtd) and Alhaji Lateef Jakande, while Governor Babatunde Fashola (SAN), was represented by the Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Ben Akabueze.

Speaking at the presentation, Sagay lamented that it was unfortunate that people currently holding political power at the centre had only succeeded in bringing the country to shame before the comity of nation.

He explained that people at the centre, “limits everything to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). They have no philosophy of government. They are just a group of people whose only intention is just to accumulate power and accumulate resources and enjoy themselves rather than the entire country.

“So, it is the type of government that we have. It is the PDP type of mentality. When you have a breakaway type of PDP governor like Rotimi Amaechi, who is trying to make an impact in the life of the people and establish some legacies of good governance, it is not in the character of the PDP. So, they have to destroy him.”

The constitutional lawyer also urged Fashola to look beyond Lagos politics and contest for the presidential election in 2015, noting that the kind of transformation Lagos witnessed under his administration and under his predecessor, Senator Bola Ahmed, could be replicated at the centre.
He said with the level of commitment and modest achievements recorded by his administration in Lagos so far what “is next for Fashola is to offer himself to serve the people at the national level.”

At the presentation, Utomi blamed the cancellation of Metro Line project during the administration of Jakande by the military for the traffic congestion witnessed in the state today.

He, therefore, remarked that Lagos transformation “is a mark of commitment and continuity. This is indeed a committed administration. For long, everyone has been talking about second Niger Bridge. The country will definitely learn from is happening in Lagos”.

He commended Fashola for sustaining the good work his illustrious predecessor left behind, saying for Fashola “to have continued to sustain the work left behind, he must have been driven with passion”.

On his part, Utomi decried the abolition of the metro line being constructed by former Governor of Lagos, Lateef Jakande, by the administration of former Governor Mudashiru Lawal, as military governor of Lagos, saying the metro line undertaken by Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the same time with that of Lagos State had since been completed.

“Though, Mudashiru Lawal is a good man, one of my saddest days in life was when he stopped the metro line project. Kuala Lumpur that started their metro line with Lagos at the same time then has since completed hers.

“I am happy that dream is being recreated now by the Fashola administration and many of us will live to see that dream being fulfilled.” he said, while describing the Lekki-Ikoyi suspension bridge which was captured by the book as fantastic.
Utomi said he was not an advocate of mega city, but that he would love the idea of a Lagos-Ibadan megalopolis where new towns would emerge in areas such as Ijebu-Ode, where people would live and still work in Lagos.

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