Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday spoke on his accident on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Saturday, saying he had a lucky escape.
Reliving how it all happened, Chief Obasanjo said the accident was caused by a burst tyre.
He said he was on his way to attend the 80th birthday celebrations of billionaire businessman Chief Kessington Adebutu in Lagos.
A statement by his media aide, Vitalis Ortese, reads: “The Office of … Obasanjo wishes to clarify that he is hale, hearty and away in Abidjan, Cote Ivoire, where he is observing the Presidential Elections holding in that country.
“The office also wishes to confirm, that on Saturday, October 24, 2015, Obasanjo was indeed involved in an accident on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, after Sagamu roundabout, while he was on his way to join in the celebrations of the 80th birthday anniversary of Chief Adebutu in Tinubu Methodist Church, Lagos.
“The vehicle, he was travelling in suffered a burst left tyre at the rear and swerved several times but did not hit any curb or any car in front or behind until it did a 180-degree turn and faced where it was coming from, and he had to change vehicles.
“Obasanjo wishes to convey his deep appreciation to all those, who by way of calls, personal messages and prayers, and indeed members of the general public, who have shown overwhelming concern about his welfare.”
The deteriorating road has been a source of worry to the public.
It takes longer time to travel on it because of huge craters.
Trailers, trucks and other heavy duty vehicles fall on it at will, causing heavy taffic.
During its eight-year tenure – 1999 – 2007 – the Obasanjo administration did not do anything to rehabilitate the road.
The late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who succeeded him, awarded contract for the road’s rehabilitation to Bi-Courtney, but its execution was stalled by disagreement between the government and the concessionaire.
But former President Goodluck Jonathan cancelled the concession and awarded the job to Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) and Julius Berger.
Yesterday, Mr. Hakeem Olopade, a director of Motorways Asset Limited, which is working with the Federal Ministry of Works on the “delivery of a fully-enhanced Lagos-Ibadan express road”, said the tempo of work would soon increase with the re-dedication of all stakeholders to its completion on schedule.
Speaking with reporters in Lagos, Olopade said the need for due process, enhancements to earlier design and nature had been responsible for the slow pace of work on “the novel PPP-structured road.”
Olopade, who is also the Executive Director (Projects) at The Infrastructure Bank (TIB), the government’s fund arrangers for the N167 billion project, said the road remained the most crucial highway in the transport sector, and cannot be abandoned.
TIB, he said, had successfully raised the “Tranche I” of the financing of the project in line with the expectations of the government and other stakeholders; the “Tranche II” is currently being arranged.
He said the stakeholders would maximise efficiency gains in the construction phases of the project to ensure its completion to time and budget.
Olopade said financial obligations and commitments were being kept in order to keep the contractors on site while the stakeholders finalise the new designs and geometric drawings, adding: “The necessary development studies are also being finalised in good time ahead of full construction work resumption soon”.
Arrangement of funds for the project, he said, was “slightly slowed down by legal conundrum” caused by the 2012 termination of the former concessionaire agreements on the road.
Olopade said: “The rains have also recently affected full blown construction activities as some asphalt works have to be suspended till the dry season.”
The lost construction grounds, he said, would be covered by Julius Berger Plc and RCC after the rains.
Julius Berger Plc handles the six-lane Sagamu Interchange and Lagos end of the road; RCC is handling the 84-kilometre Sagamu – Ibadan (Ojoo interchange).