Buhari commissions the Lagos Rail Mass Transit Blue Line at the Marina Terminal

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With the Tuesday commissioning of the Blue Line Mass Transit by President Muhammadu Buhari, Lagos now formally has a state-operated rail system. The President’s two-day business trip to Lagos for project commissioning culminated in this momentous occasion.

The President, together with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his deputy Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and other invited guests, took the train for the first time.

The electric-powered train enthralled throngs of onlookers as it traveled back and forth between the National Theatre and the famous Marina station. Residents stared in awe as Lagos made yet another mark in the delivery of infrastructure.

From Mile 2 to Marina, the 13-kilometer-long first segment of the completed lines has five stations. The rail system was built by the Lagos Metropolitan Transport Authority (LAMATA), which would carry 250,000 passengers per day.

At the event, Governor Sanwo-Olu signed a contract to start the project’s second phase, which will span a 14-kilometer stretch from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko. President Buhari oversaw the signing of the contract.

The Lagos State Government erected the John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History as a museum to encourage cultural rebirth, which the President earlier opened. The museum is located in Onikan, a creative district steeped in Lagos’ extensive history.

Sanwo-Olu said the delivery of the Blue Line Rail was the culmination of the “timeless vision” of the State Government initiated by his predecessor and All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, whom the Governor described as “the architect of modern Lagos”.

Tinubu, the Governor said, developed a comprehensive roadmap for the State’s economic prosperity through continuous implementation of the State’s Strategic Transportation Master Plan (STMP), which envisioned six metro lines.

Sanwo-Olu said the construction of the Blue Line could have been completed years before the APC took power at the centre in 2015, but said the project was slowed down by hostile policies of the then Federal Government being led by an opposition party.

He said: “Since 1999, Lagos has not enjoyed the kind of support it is receiving from the President Buhari administration since 2015. The socio-economic impacts of various projects we have commissioned during the President’s two-day visit bear testimony to the support and collaboration we have enjoyed from the APC-led Federal Government. Mr. President, we are proud in Lagos to be associated with your national vision for infrastructural transformation.

“The Blue Line we are commissioning today is a product of timeless vision by Lagos State, which dates back to the administration of former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu 20 years ago. One of his greatest legacies was the development of a roadmap for the future of Lagos, which cleared the pathway for a modern, prosperous and competitive megacity. With the rail line, a journey of two hours will now take 15 minutes. This will improve the quality of life for our citizens, while Lagos will grow to be one of the most resilient megacities.”

The Blue Line will be operational following the completion of a 750 Volt-ampere dedicated power supply source, according to Sanwo-Olu. The Governor said that the President’s famous Marina station, which can handle 28,000 people per hour, was intended to serve as Africa’s metro hub.

The development of the State’s ambitious rail infrastructure project, according to the governor, is intended to improve commuter mobility and boost productivity to jump-start the State’s economy. He predicted that the Red Line’s ongoing construction, which spans 37 kilometers from Agbado to Ebute Metta, will be finished by the end of May.

Sanwo-Olu praised former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola for having the guts to commence the Blue Line project in spite of objections from the then-central administration.

He said: “This rail infrastructure is for the benefit of our teeming citizens who daily endure the pain of traffic gridlock from their homes to workplaces. This is about bringing relief to your mobility challenges and ensuring Lagos works for you. We believe this will make your journey easier and better your lives. The Greater Lagos Lagos that we promised you is rising. You can see and feel it. This is a demonstration of purposeful government.”

Dr. Hamzat described the Blue Line as “the most audacious project” to be funded by a sub-national in the history of the country, noting that the Sanwo-Olu administration took the steps to complete the project given its importance to solving transportation challenges in the State.

“The excitement about this rail project is justifiable, considering the fact that it will certainly help to reduce the pressure on our roads, enhance the economic well-being of Lagosians and put our dear State on the same pedestal as others of its stature. People come first in all that we do because they are the bedrock of our government,” the Deputy Governor said.

Originally constructed in 1928, the John Randle Centre served as a focal point for leisure, entertainment, and cultural tourism. In 2018, work on its reconstruction began.

According to Sanwo-Olu, the Center complemented the State’s overall goals in arts, culture, and tourism as outlined in the recently unveiled 20-year arts and tourism master plan aimed at promoting Lagos as a travel destination.

The Center contains an exhibition hall that traces the development of Yoruba culture from its beginnings through the present and into the future.

 

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