Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yaba - a Glory Regained With Upgraded Roads.

Written by Kingsley Adegboye
Friday, 01 May 2009






About four decades ago, the area of Lagos now nostalgically referred to as Old Yaba, was one of the most sought after real estates in Lagos metropolis.

It was host to Nigeria’s emerging middle class elite immediately after independence. The area boasted of well-planned roads, beautiful houses displaying contemporary architecture of the time and hosted many great schools that have produced many leaders of our country. Indeed, it was treasure house to Nigerian social, music and entertainment life.

This was the place to find Kakadu Nite Club and many other resorts where Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Bobby Benson, Tunde Nightingale, Art Alade and so many other Nigerian musicians, artists and entertainment impresarios strutted the stage and displayed their talents. Yaba never had a dull moment. New look Yaba roads

Regrettably, this good life had to change as many years of political instability denied Lagos and places like Yaba of any meaningful government presence that would have translated into the planning and implementation of developmental programmes in response to the population growth and needs of the people. Yaba thereafter became the place where everybody passed through but did not want to stay. Many chose Ikeja, the new state capital while others chose Ikoyi and new emerging settlements like Lekki.

Domino Stores folded up, Mainland Hotel struggled to attract clientele in spite of investments, Oyingbo Market could not find investments for its re-development, Railway Compound depreciated as a prime real estate, Iddo a historic settlement in the history of Lagos and Otto became slums while property values slumped.

This was the situation of Sabo Yaba before the intervention of the Babatunde Fashola administration. In his address at the commissioning of the upgraded Montgomery Road, Commercial Avenue and Aje Street, Yaba on Tuesday, Governor Fashola said during his campaign, he promised to rebuild Oyingbo Market and return the glory of Yaba.

He pointed out that in fulfilment of that promise, the construction of Oyingbo Market has commenced in earnest. “We have developed a comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of 37 roads in Yaba in phases in order to renew the infrastructure.

“That promise is being fulfilled today by the handing over of Montgomery, Aje and Commercial Avenue, while work is going on in at least 12 other roads in Yaba as we speak. I must confess that it has not been easy to come this far. Your support, payment of taxes and understudy in the relocation of structures, walls, old buildings have been particularly helpful. I am delighted to note that even before we finish, life has returned to Yaba with a lot of energy.

“Many people have started coming back. Property values and income have improved; the economic life of Yaba is on an upward swing. Domino Stores is back and our vision is vindicated. Tejuosho will be getting two brand new markets which are already under construction and the Red Route, our intra-city rail that will link Lagos with Ijoko in Ogun State which will originate from Iddo through Yaba corridor to Mushin and Agege will soon commence.

“As we hand these assets over to the community today, I urge you all to develop a strong residents association like VIIRA in Ikoyi/Victoria Island to act as trustees of these assets on behalf of all Lagosians who will use them and protect them from vandalization, illegal cutting and unlawful use as markets. Efficient transportation is critical to our well being as a people and these road assets were developed solely for that purpose,” he stated.

According to the Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Ganiyu Johnson, the infrastructure development of Yaba to Iddo in Lagos Mainland Local Government Area comprises 37 roads and six pedestrian bridges at strategic locations. Engr. Johnson explained that the project has been divided into four phases. He said Montgomery Street, Commercial Avenue and Aje Street are part of the second phase and these three roads constitute a total length of 1.5 kilometre with an average width of 10 metres.

“The phase 1 of this project was awarded to Messrs P.W. Nig. Ltd. in February 2008. The completion of these three roads will reduce the traffic jams resulting from bad roads and indiscriminate parking arrangement. Redirecting of the traffic has also been done to ensure smooth flow of traffic in the area,” the Special Adviser noted.

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