With the commissioning of Blue Line Mass Transit by President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, Lagos now has a state operated rail system.
This historic moment climaxed the President’s two-day working visit to Lagos for projects commissioning.
The inaugural ride on the train was performed by the President in company of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his Deputy, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, and other invited dignitaries.
The electric-powered train made a round trip between the iconic Marina station and National Theatre, enthralling crowds of citizens along the corridor. Residents watched in excitement as Lagos recorded yet another history in infrastructure delivery.
The completed tracks, spanning 13 kilometres in the first phase, extend from Mile 2 to Marina, covering five stations.
The project’s second phase covers 14 kilometre, stretching from Mile 2 to Okokomaiko. At the event, President Buhari supervised the signing of contract by Gov. Sanwo-Olu for its commencement.
Speaking at the event, Sanwo-Olu said, “⁰the 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”.
According to him, “Tinubu 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.
“The construction of the Blue Line,” he explained, “”could have been completed years before the APC took power at the centre in 2015, but the project was slowed down by hostile policies of the then Federal Government being led by an opposition party. ”
Sanwo-olu 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 roadmap for the future of Lagos, which cleared the pathway for a modern, prosperous and competitive mega city. With the rail line, a journey of two hours will now take 15 minutes. This will improve quality of life for our citizens, while Lagos will grow to be one of the most resilient mega cities.”
Sanwo-Olu said, “the Blue Line would be operational after the completion of 750 Volt-ampere dedicated power supply source. The Governor said the iconic Marina station commissioned by the President was designed as Africa’s metro hub with a capacity to process 28,000 passengers per hour.”
He said, “the development of the State’s audacious rail infrastructure project was to increase mobility for commuters and raise productivity to energise the State economy,” adding that, “the ongoing construction on the Red Line, which extends 37-kilometre from Agbado to Ebute Metta, would be completed before the end of May.
Sanwo-Olu acknowledged the courage of his predecessor, former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, who started the Blue Line project despite opposition from the then central government.
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,” Sanwo-olu said.
Earlier, the President inaugurated John Handle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, a museum built by the Lagos State Government to promote cultural renaissance. The museum is sited in Onikan, an artistic neighborhood steeped in the rich history of Lagos.
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