By Ebenezer Ishola
Ikorodu Division in Lagos State, on Thursday, throbbed with palpable excitement for the inauguration of twin projects built for the youth by the State Government. Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu fulfilled his pledge, delivering a state-of-the-art mini stadium and a computerised Youth Centre in Ita-Elewa area of the ancient town.
Sanwo-Olu commissioned both facilities during his working visit to Ikorodu to inspect State Government’s capital projects across the area. A large crowd thronged the Ikorodu Town Hall, where the Governor and members of cabinet met with residents to get feedbacks on how the programmes and policies of the Government are impacting lives.
Chairmen of all the six local councils that make up Ikorodu division were in attendance with their deputies and councillors. Also, members of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC) from the division attended the event.
The Youth Centre project, initiated and completed by the Sanwo-Olu administration, is aimed at providing a conducive environment for sporting and catering for education and vocational needs of youths in Ikorodu.
The mini stadium, built with a semi-standard basketball court, was developed by the State’s Ministry of Youth Development. Office of the Senior Special Assistant on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the President and member representing Ikorodu in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jimi Benson, supported the stadium project by building spectators’ stands and the pitch.
The intervention, Sanwo-Olu said, are initiated to address growing social vices and create platform for young people to realise their potential in sports, education and vocational development.
The Governor said more youth centres were at various stages of completion in some areas across the State, including Badagry, Orile Agege, Isheri, Epe and Ikeja, pointing out that the objective was not to leave young people behind in development programmes of the Government.
He said: “The visit to Ikorodu today is to meet and engage with our citizens to see first-hand, how programmes and policies of our administration are touching and impacting lives. This visit comes with a package of treats for the youth, as I am pleased to deliver the newly completed Ikorodu Youth Centre here in Ita-Elewa. Also being commissioned is a mini stadium built by our Government.
“These youth-focused projects are to provide a conducive environment for sporting activities, while also catering for education needs and vocational development of our teeming youth population of Ikorodu and environs. With facilities like these ones, we hope to keep our young people off the streets and reduce social vices, such as drug abuse, prostitution and hooliganism.”
Ikorodu division has benefitted immensely from numerous infrastructure renewal projects initiated by the Sanwo-Olu administration in areas that include healthcare, housing, agriculture, education, drainage, roads and transportation. The Governor, last year, completed and commissioned Ijede Road, which opens into Ewu Elepe and Itamaga.
Ongoing projects of the State Government in Ikorodu include the construction of Agric-Isawo-Konu-Arepo Road, Ikorodu Roundabout, construction of Emuren Junction and Parafa Along on Ikorodu-Imota Road, upgrading of Bola Ahmed Tinubu-Igbogbo-Igbe Road, construction of Oba Sekumade Road, improvement project at Sulaimon Soderu Bypass and construction of Powerline Road in Akasoleri, among others.
Responding to Ikorodu residents’ feedbacks, Sanwo-Olu announced that construction work on the second phase of Ijede Road, which starts from Ewu Elepe into Gberigbe, would commence on Saturday, noting that the Government and the contractor had sorted all issues delaying the road project.
The Governor also informed the Ikorodu residents that the State Government had set aside funds for the overhaul of Odogunyan Expressway, a boundary road that connects Lagos and Ogun States. He said the only thing delaying the project was the counterpart funding from the Federal Government, promising that the rehabilitation work would commence on the road immediately the counterpart funds were made available to the contractor.
He said: “Ikorodu division offers the State a vast area of land for agricultural development. It is for this reason we chose the division as the site of the State-owned 32 Metric Tonnes per hour Imota Rice Mill, which is the largest in sub-Saharan Africa. We will be bringing Mr. President to commission the rice mill, which has annual production capacity of 2.5 million bags of 50kg rice.
“On business and investment front, our administration has facilitated the establishment of Libra Cycle, a Domestic Export Warehouse (DEW), sitting on 12 hectares of land in Ibeshe, and which serves as a bonded terminal providing depot services to eight of the world’s biggest shipping lines. We completed and delivered 480-unit homes in Babatunde Olushola Benson Estate, while also commissioning a 40 metric tonnes Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) Refill Plant in Igbogbo-Baiyeku Local Council Development Area (LCDA), thereby creating hundreds of jobs for young people in the supply chain.”
Sanwo-olu praised all the six council chairmen in the division for good representation which the All Progressives Congress (APC) has at the grassroots, urging them to deliver more projects that would change the lives of the residents.
Commissioner for Youth Development, Hon. Segun Dawodu, listed other facilities in the mini stadium to include volleyball court, table tennis section, 200-capacity hall, snooker and pool table, fully-equipped gymnasium, ICT Centre with Internet, counselling section for wellness and people with drug and mental challenges.
Also, there is vocational section for training of youths in different vocations. The facility is powered by 250Kva generator.
Chairman of Ikorodu Local Government Area, Hon. Wasiu Adesina, acknowledged the Governor’s transformation strides and commitment to physical development of the town, stressing that all challenges being faced by Ikorodu residents were being gradually solved.
The council boss said despite paucity of funds, all councils in the division had complemented the State Government’s efforts in road construction, strengthening of security architecture in the division, and empowerment programmes.
Adesina said: “We are delighted that you have shown exceptional courage in the manner in which you championed the course of the upgrade of Lagos State Polytechnic in Ikorodu to University of Science and Technology. On agriculture, it gives us a lot of joy that Ikorodu houses the biggest rice mill in West Africa. Your vision for Ikorodu development is becoming a reality and your policies have brought about laudable developments in the area of security, infrastructure, tourism, transportation, and job creation.”
The council boss appealed to the Governor on the upgrade of Odogunyan Industrial Estate and renovation of royal palaces in Imota, Igbogbo, Isiwu, Ipakodo, Ijede and Ibeshe.
In line with promises made to those affected by construction projects going on in Ikorodu, Governor Sanwo-Olu handed N500 million compensation to 74 claimants and worship centres whose structures were demolished to pave way for the construction of Igbe-Igbogbo-Bola Ahmed Tinubu Way.