The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, on Monday, declared that no state could give the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing an ultimatum concerning the construction of a federal road project.
Fashola disclosed this while reacting to the ultimatum issued the FMWH by the Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, as regards fixing the Sango/Ota-Abeokuta. The minister, who spoke at the headquarters of the works ministry while hosting a delegation from PUNCH Newspapers, led by The PUNCH Editor, Dayo Oketola, also revealed that the Federal Government had got N16bn tax credit for the construction of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
Sunday PUNCH reported that the Ogun State governor gave the Federal Government two weeks to fix the Sango/Ota-Abeokuta road, adding that failure to do so would make his administration take over reconstruction of the road. Abiodun had stated this shortly after inspecting some bad portions of the 52.5km road in Ewekoro axis on Saturday. He said the action had become necessary after the state government alongside Lagos State had made frantic efforts several times to draw the attention of the Federal Government, through the works ministry to repair the road without any positive response. Abiodun then declared that his administration would not fold its arms and allow its citizenry to continue to suffer due to the negligence of the authority in charge of this road.
“If after two weeks, the Federal Government refuses to commence work on this road, I will take it over and reconstruct it,” he stated.
But when told on Monday that the Ogun governor had given an ultimatum to the FMWH to deliver the Sango/Ota-Abeokuta project or the state would take over the road construction, Fashola said, “I do not take ultimatums from any state. I take ultimatum from the President, my employer. Asked whether the ministry would allow the state to handle the project, the minister replied, “Go and read the Federal Highways Act and see what it says about the management of federal roads. Can I take over a state road?”
On concerns about the delay in the construction of the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, the minister explained that the speed of work on that road, as well as some others, were dependent on the funds available for such projects. He, however, noted that the Federal Government had got N16bn tax credit for the Lagos-Badagry road and that work was progressing on the expressway currently.
Fashola said, “I was there about four weeks ago. But first of all let us understand; that road is about 60km plus, so before you start validating what people said, it is important for us to understand how democracy works.” The executive proposes the sum, parliament approves it. So if the parliamentarians decide that it is their constituency that takes preeminence over the state, so be it.