Seyi Makinde, governor of Oyo state, says with the completion Lagos-Ibadan railway, Oyo will no longer be overshadowed by Lagos.
Speaking on Monday when he inspected the project alongside Rotimi Amaechi, minister of transportation, Makinde said his state would take full advantage of the project when it becomes fully functional.
The governor added that Oyo would put everything in place in terms of infrastructure to ensure that residents derive the full economic benefits from the project.
According to him, the project will help decongest Lagos and cause people to “start spending money in Ibadan”.
“So far, a lot of effort has been put into the rail project, though a lot of things still need to be done,” Makinde said.
“I can say that so far, so good, work is going on and a lot of effort is being put into it. A lot has been achieved so far and a lot of things still needed to be done.
“But for me personally, it is a wake-up call for us in Oyo state because the track is already here and we need to pace ourselves up to meet up with what we have to do so that the handshake can be seamless and the benefits can come to our people.
Makinde with Amaechi
“Concerning the benefits it will give to the people of Oyo State, it will bring people closer here. People will start spending money in Ibadan, staying in our hotels. You can actually do your work in Lagos and come back and sleep in Ibadan.
“So, we know what we really have to do to decongest Lagos and harvest people so that we can improve our own economy and set a target to get out of Lagos’ shadow.”
He added that the state would need to construct a road to link the rail line and also ensure proper security of lives and properties around the facility.
“In the areas of employment, some companies may decide to come and set up in Ibadan because if they produce goods, it can come from the dry port here, all the way straight to Apapa port, which is where we just came from today,” he said.
“So, we see a lot of benefits economically. Even socially, people who want to come to Ibadan and Oyo State for socio-activities are now free, due to the nature of the road.
“We have to key into the programme that is being followed right now such that if we need to construct a road that will fit into this; if we need to look at the security aspect of things; the users of this facilities should be able to say they are in a safe and secure place.
“When you are starting from scratch, you have the opportunity to design your capacity, facility to match up with the challenges you are faced with. That is why we call those ones greenfield projects.”
Commenting on the progress made, Amaechi said that the completion of the project by April is no longer feasible.