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Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour condemns Sanwo-Olu’s Lagos red line rail project

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Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, the Labour Party candidate in the 2023 Lagos state governorship election, has condemned the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for allegedly buying 11-year-old “abandoned” railcars for the Lagos state Red Line project.

In a statement published on his verified X handle on Monday, Gbadebo asserted that the governor failed to buy new coaches with a guarantee for the project.

Gbadebo also noted as “false” the “claim that they laid 5km of rail to connect the Federal government line to Marina when in fact it is part of the blue line from the National Theatre/Ijora to Marina metro line, whereby passengers will switch lines where they intersect, and not a continuation of the standard gauge line.”

He also noted that contrary to the claims of the Lagos state government, the “Lagos part of the standard gauge railway was first laid 125 years ago, in 1898, from Lagos to Abeokuta.”

While Gbadebo berated the Sanwo-Olu-led Lagos State government for allegedly deceiving Lagosians and the entire nation, he asserted that the administration of former Nigerian President Jonathan Goodluck in 2012 signed a contract with the Chinese to upgrade the rail line to a standard gauge railway from Lagos to Ibadan.

Gbadebo’s statement in part reads, “I had earlier refrained from commenting on the launch of the Lagos Red Line because I believe that with such a dire economic situation, our people deserve something to cheer on and to remain hopeful.

“Unfortunately, the APC has turned what was supposed to be a people-centric project into political propaganda laced with misinformation and false narratives. Therefore, I’m compelled to set the record straight.” The fact is that the Lagos part of the standard gauge railway was first laid 125 years ago, in 1898, from Lagos to Abeokuta before being extended to Kano.

“It remained a narrow gauge line from Iddo or Apapa to Agbado/Ijoko to Abeokuta for over a hundred years until the Jonathan Goodluck government in 2012 signed a contract with the Chinese to upgrade it to a standard gauge railway from Lagos to Ibadan.

“By 2013, there were already trains between Iddo/Apapa and Agbado/Ijoko with new coaches.

“Thereafter, the Lagos state government approached the federal government to use the federal line, and instead of buying new railcars with guarantees, they bought two railcars that had been abandoned for 11 years in Wisconsin State, USA, for an undisclosed amount (of course, you know what that means).”

The Labour Party chieftain also alleged that, as opposed to the claims of the Lagos State government, the signal office of the rail line will be staffed and paid for by the President Bola Tinubu-led federal government.

“Also worth mentioning is that despite the series of false claims by the Lagos state government, the signal office, for instance, will be staffed and paid by the federal government,” he said.

“They claim that they laid 5km of rail to connect the Federal government line to Marina when in fact it is part of the Blue line from the National Theatre/Ijora to Marina metro line, whereby passengers will switch lines where they intersect, and not a continuation of the standard gauge line as falsely portrayed.

“Everything from lines to stations to signals and bridges or tunnels has been costed and paid for by the Jonathan Goodluck administration since 2013.

“Hence, the most significant contribution of the Lagos state government to this project is the purchase of 11-year-old abandoned railcars at undisclosed fees,” Gbadebo added.

He, however, commended the Lagos State government for collaborating with the federal government in the actualization of the project.

“To be fair, they also put in quite some work in project supervision and collaboration with the federal government. For this, they deserve some commendation,” Gbadebo noted.

Gbadebo also urged Legosians to remember that these projects were funded with tax-payer money by people elected to serve them.

“Most importantly, citizens must realize that while it is important to acknowledge and even applaud transformational policy initiatives by the government, they must never forget that the government and the initiatives are funded by their taxes and commonwealth. They were elected to serve you and never to rule over you,” Gbadebo added.

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