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38-yrs after, Buhari redeems self, inaugurates Lagos Blue Rail, Randle Park

Ayodele Olalere

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday opened the Phase 1 of the Lagos metro rail line otherwise known as Lagos Blue Rail Line.

The President also signed the agreement for the commencement of Phase 2 which extends to Okokomaiko.

Phase 1 runs from Marina to Mile 2 and is 13 Km long while the entire stretch to Okokomaiko from Marina is 27 Km.

The inauguration of the rail line came 38-year after his regime as military president in 1984 truncated the Lagos metro line project by the then Governor of Lagos State, Lateef Jakande.

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However, the dream project came into life as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Ou ensured that phase 1 was completed as soon as he came into office in 2019 after his predecessor, Akinwunmi Ambode could not complete the project , which was resuscitated by Babatunde Fashola when he was governor.

The new rail line  has five stations;  Mile 2, Suru-Alaba, Orile Iganmu, National Theatre and Marina. It is expected to move about 250,000 passengers daily when it begins commercial operations.

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Ou, who spoke at the event said the Blue Line ‘s the product of the timeless vision of Bola Ahmed Tinubu for Lagos State when he was the governor of the state  almost 25 years ago.

Mentioning some of the benefits of the project, the governor said it will provide ‘ a more efficient transport service that improves the quality of life of Lagosians, frees up more of their time, reduces the pressure on the roads, and contributes to Nigeria’s lofty climate action obligations.’

He further said the Marina station has the capacity  to process as many as 400 passengers per minute, translating into 24,000 passengers every hour.

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The deputy governor, Obafemi Hamzat, who also spoke at the inauguration, said  the project ‘will certainly help to reduce the pressure on our roads, enhance the economic wellbeing of Lagosians and put our dear state on the same pedestal as others of its stature.

He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, ‘for creating the conducive environment that has ensured the accomplishment of many landmark projects across the country,’ adding with the rail line ‘the ‘Greater Lagos’ of our collective dream is  rising.’

Earlier on Tuesday, the President had inaugurated the J Randle Yoruba Center for Culture, Marina. He arrived at the center at 10:34 am in company of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and was welcomed by traditional rulers led by Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi Ojaja 11, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, among others.

The  Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf described the opening of the centre as a landmark achievement made by  Sanwo-Olu’s administration in the area of tourism, arts and culture.

She further said the centre, being a museum, will stimulate the economy of the state by bringing tourists from within and outside the country, as well as  create an avenue for younger generations to have first in depth knowledge about Yoruba culture.

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