Mr.Babatunde Fashola

Mr. President, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen:

On behalf of the Honorable Minister of State, Ibrahim Umar El-Yakub, and other Ministers of States who have served with me, the Permanent Secretary and former Permanent Secretaries, Directors serving and retired and all the staff of the Ministry of Works and Housing, I am pleased to welcome you all to this momentous day.

A day where the Federal Government of Nigeria, working with the State Governors, Senators and House of Representative members, Traditional Rulers and with the people of Nigeria, unveils 3 (THREE) major bridges the Loko-Oweto, Second Niger and Ikom bridges, a completed Section of over 200 kilometres of Kano-Kaduna Highway and three new Federal Secretariats.

Today, Mr. President will connect Benue to Nasarawa on the Loko – Oweto Bridge, Cross River to Benue on Ikom Bridge and Anambra to Delta on the Second Niger Bridge, and literally connect many parts of Nigeria to themselves.

In the same vein, we link Kano to Kaduna on the Kaduna-Kano highway and impact Zamfara, Bayelsa and Anambra directly through the Secretariats.

This is a story of development and a story of people, all of which cannot be fully told here.

But I will try; starting from the President and the Commander-in-Chief whose leadership, support and opportunity afforded us to serve has made all these possible.

The story of the cabinet members from the Vice-President and my colleague ministers whose support for the various memoranda in Council made these projects possible.

Some of those memoranda you spent hours to debate and approve have yielded some fruit.

Our legislators in both chambers of Parliament were part of the story. They appropriated, they approved where necessary and oversighted all through the project; but they never obstructed.

The State Governors, their Commissioners and their Traditional Rulers are a story that must be told, about how Federal, State Government and Traditional Institutions can, and must work together to deliver development and prosperity.

The story of the men and women who worked on these construction sites is an unforgettable one.

Not only were these sites places of employment for them to earn a living to support their families; I saw in them men and women, boys and girls involved in the dignifying and patriotic work of nation building.

The story of the economic activity that took place at these sites is also most compelling.

Thousands of tonnes of construction materials, sand, cement, diesel, reinforcement, bitumen, aggregates were bought, sold and transported over the period.

This was a period of boom for small and family-owned businesses who supplied the contractors.

It is the clearest narrative about how infrastructure benefits the people and how this drives the services sector of the economy that employs the most people.

It is the story of how the Muhammadu Buhari policies meet the people at their point of need even if many of these people will never meet Muhammadu Buhari in person.

Another story to tell is that prosperity is already being delivered by these projects.

Travel time is reduced by more than 50% in many of the places we surveyed.

Property values of landowners have appreciated by up to 30% in the surveys conducted on land values where we have delivered infrastructure.

These are some of the attempts by Government to pushback against multi-dimensional poverty; because Loko-Oweto reduces travel time to Abuja by 4 (FOUR) hours and with the Second Niger Bridge it will take a few minutes, instead of hours to cross the River Niger, a crossing of approximately 1.5 Kilometres.

The Calabar port now has a story of improved patronage to tell, and efficient import and export business can only help in the push back against poverty.

With regards to the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, I want to tell the story of a successful working relationship with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) under the previous Managing Director, Uche Orji, and the present one, Aminu Umar-Sadiq and the management team.

They were worthy custodians and managers of the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund.

I cannot forget the story of my working relationship with your Excellency’s office through your Chiefs-of-Staff, the late Abba Kyari of blessed memory and the amiable Professor Ibrahim Gambari.

With their collaboration, the Attorney-General and the Minister of Finance, we delivered the Second Niger bridge, 200 kilometres out of the 365 kilometres of the Kano-Abuja highway and 114 kilometres of the 127 kilometres Lagos-Ibadan highway.

Mr. President it is now my pleasure to invite you Sir to dedicate and hand over the following projects for public use:

a. Zamfara Federal Secretariat, Gusau

b. Bayelsa Federal Secretariat, Yenagoa

c. Anambra Federal Secretariat, Awka

d. The Ikom Bridge, Cross River

e. Loko-Oweto Bridge (Nasarawa/Benue)

f. Muhammadu Buhari 2nd Niger Bridge (Anambra/Delta)

g. Two hundred kilometres of Kano-Kaduna dual carriageway.

Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN

Honorable Minister of Works and Housing

Tuesday 23rd May 202

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