How I Escaped Death – Obasanjo

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Obasanjo
Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo narrates how he escaped death after his vehicle had an accident on Lagos-Ibadan express road

FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday, October 25, spoke on his accident on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway on Saturday, October 24, saying he had a lucky escape.

Reliving how it all happened, Obasanjo said the accident was caused by a burst tyre.

He said he was on his way to attend the 80th birthday celebration of Kessington Adebutu, billionaire businessman, in Lagos, when the incident occurred.

A statement signed by Vitalis Ortese, his media aide, said the former president was hale hearty after the accident and had gone to Abidjan, Cote Ivoire, to observe the presidential elections holding in the country.

The statement said in part: “The office also wishes to confirm, that on Saturday, October 24, 2015, Obasanjo was, indeed, involved in an accident on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, after Sagamu roundabout…

“The vehicle, he was travelling in suffered a burst left tyre at the rear and swerved several times but did not hit any curb or any car in front or behind until it did a 180-degree turn and faced where it was coming from, and he had to change vehicles.

“Obasanjo wishes to convey his deep appreciation to all those, who by way of calls, personal messages and prayers, and indeed members of the general public, who have shown overwhelming concern about his welfare.”

The Lagos-Ibadan expressway has been a source of worry in the past few years due to neglect and inability of the government to fix the road. It now takes longer time to navigate the road because of huge potholes along the road.

These have been responsible for various accidents experienced on the road with trailers, trucks and other heavy duty vehicles falling at will, thereby creating heavy traffic.

In any case, the President Obasanjo regime of 1999 to 2007 made no significant contribution towards the rehabilitation of the road.

The late President Umaru Yar’Adua, who succeeded him, awarded contract for it rehabilitation to Bi-Courtney, but its execution was stalled by disagreement between the government and the concessionaire.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan eventually cancelled the concession and awarded the contract to the Reynolds Construction Company, RCC, and Julius Berger.

On Sunday, October 25, Hakeem Olopade, a director of Motorways Asset Limited, which is working with the Federal Ministry of Works on the road, said the tempo of work would soon increase with the re-dedication of all stakeholders to its completion on schedule.

Speaking with reporters in Lagos, Olopade said the need for due process, enhancements to earlier design and nature had been responsible for the slow pace of work on “the novel PPP-structured road.”

Olopade, who is also the executive director of projects at The Infrastructure Bank, TIB, the government’s fund arrangers for the N167 billion project, said the road remained the most crucial highway in the transport sector, and cannot be abandoned.

The TIB, he said, had successfully raised the “tranche I” of the financing of the project in line with the expectations of the government and other stakeholders; the “Tranche II” is currently being arranged.

He said the stakeholders would maximise efficiency gains in the construction phases of the project to ensure its completion to time and budget.

Olopade said financial obligations and commitments were being kept in order to keep the contractors on site while the stakeholders finalise the new designs and geometric drawings, adding: “The necessary development studies are also being finalised in good time ahead of full construction work resumption soon”.

Arrangement of funds for the project, he said, was “slightly slowed down by legal conundrum” caused by the 2012 termination of the former concessionaire agreements on the road.

Olopade said: “The rains have also recently affected full blown construction activities as some asphalt works have to be suspended till the dry season.”

The lost construction grounds, he said, would be covered by the Julius Berger Plc and RCC after the rains.

The Julius Berger Plc is handling the six-lane Sagamu Interchange and Lagos end of the road while the RCC is handling the 84-kilometre Sagamu – Ibadan (Ojoo interchange).

— Oct 26, 2015 @ 12:58 GMT

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