• As FG Begins Free Train Ride From Lagos To Abeokuta Today
• Nobel Laureate Gives Reason For Endorsing Kingsley Moghalu
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has said he does not care who fixes infrastructure in the country provided it is done properly for the benefits of the people.Soyinka disclosed this yesterday at the inauguration of the first phase of the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail from Iju in Lagos to Abeokuta, saying the route of the modern railway project took part of his hunting field.
Speaking in Abeokuta, Ogun State during the declaration of a three-month free train service by the Federal Government, Soyinka said he is however content with what his ‘hunting grounds’ has been turned into.
But the literary icon warned against politicizing the project, saying he cares less which political party put up the project.
On board the train, were the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun; paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, Managing Director, China Civil Engineering and Construction Company (CCECC), Jiang Yigao, Managing Director, Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Fidet Okhiria, among others.
Soyinka said: “I disagree with the man who just spoke, this is not a political vote gathering occasion, but my house is not far from here. This place used to be my hunting ground and I have come to witness what my hunting ground was appropriated for, I am so contented.
“For now we are keeping our feet on the ground, looking at the opportunities for our small traders, commuters and others. I don’t give a damn who puts it there, it doesn’t matter whatsoever! “This is not a question of killing. I’m being creative. This is not a do-or-die occasion but a do-and-do occasion.”
Amaechi who declared the occasion open had earlier appealed to people at the event to vote for the ruling party, said the occasion was not a commissioning but a test-run of the first phase of the project, saying as from Saturday (today), a three-month free train service would commence.
He said the train would run thrice daily; in the morning, afternoon and evening to enable people go to work in Lagos and return to Ogun State in the evening.He added that two other coaches would be added to convey more passengers within the route. “We are also trying to build our stations, in a year’s time we would have finished the stations.”
Meanwhile, Prof. Soyinka has thrown his weight behind the presidential candidate of Young Progressive Party (YPP), Prof. Kingsley Moghalu. Soyinka made the position known in a statement issued yesterday.
The erudite scholar said, he and his forum Citizen Forum decided to support Moghalu, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, because they (the forum) “rejected retrograde propositions of a political merry-go-round, which urge the electorate to choose this or that candidate in order to ensure ‘our turn’ at the next power incumbency.”
In his remarks at the inauguration of the standard gauge rail, Ibikunle Amosun described the occasion as history being made, noting that the project will open up opportunities within the community and its environs. Amosun said the project would bring about industrial revolution to the state and country at large thereby competing with developed cities across the world.
Also Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, commended the President Buhari for his efforts in developing infrastructure in the country.
According to him the National Assembly has played his own role in providing the legislative framework within, which the edifice can thrive while looking forward to how it will transform to jobs.“It has already started, over 11,000 persons have been employed by the NRC, there are about 2000 Nigerian students who are in China now studying various kind of engineering waiting for the period when they will take over from the contractors,” he said.