Ganaja Flyover: Another Evidence of Yahaya Bello’s Transformational Leadership
By Hafsat Ibrahim
“Leadership is solving problems. The day you stop solving problems or you are no longer capable of solving problems is probably the day you stop leading.”
– Colin Powell
In major cities across the world, most transport related problems are usually caused by gridlock or traffic blockage which slows down movements, delays people unnecessarily and make them miss appointments and also affects the pace of the economy negatively.
Traffic gridlocks which occur more often in interconnected road networks also cause vehicle damages, wear and tear, stress on drivers and commuters, waste of fuel, air pollution and needless carbon dioxide emissions that are harmful to the health of humans around.
While many believe that states like Lagos, Rivers, Kano, Kaduna, Oyo etc with huge traffic challenges need flyovers, however, other smaller states too need to prioritise flyover projects before their traffic challenges become unbearable. One of the qualities of good, visionary leadership is not waiting for problems to get out of hand before creating solutions for them.
Ganaja junction is one of the most popular junctions in the Confluence City of Lokoja, Kogi State capital. Aside leading to the Ganaja village on the outskirts of the town, it is also the major link between the capital and the Eastern part of the State as well as the link between Northern part of the country and Southeastern part of Nigeria. So it draws heavy presence of vehicular movement which causes traffic congestion that affects road users and residents who use the township road to access other parts of the city like Phase II, Barracks and the road that leads to Okene, Obajana and Kabba. A lot of accidents have occurred on the road while the gridlock seems to threaten the economic wellbeing of the state.
The traffic congestion and frequent accidents in that junction happen due to the lack of a flyover. Since creation in 1991, no past Chief Executive of the state ever built any flyover anywhere in the state. But with Governor Yahaya Bello, everything changes. With Governor Bello, bad things become good and good things become better.
As part of our commitment to investigative, development journalism me and a couple of colleagues were in the state recently to see for ourselves the amazing work of the governor. The flyover was one of the projects we inspected, it was not only huge, it was also impressive in terms of quality of work done. For some of us who are very familiar with the state capital, the gigantic project made the entire Ganaja junction unrecognisable.
The flyover which was near completion will span 7.5m in width and 500 meters in length, with slip roads on both sides to carry the flow of traffic from and to the Eastern part of the country and other connecting roads, hence decongesting the area and providing safe options for motorists. To accommodate heavy duty trucks plying the area and supplying stuff to factories such as Dangote and BUA Cement, the flyover is constructed with special focus on strength that is superior to similar projects in other states. When completed, it is expected to integrate Kogi State with other states, particularly in the Southeastern region given its strategic location. This would facilitate smoother conduct of trade and boost transport services within the state and beyond.
The project also features an underground drainage with a wall to retain the embankment of the soil and backfills. This is an addition to the flyover to give it the needed durability and prevent vibration.
Some Lokoja residents who spoke to our crew commended the governor for redeeming his promise and constructing the flyover, thus solving a problem that has long prevented the town from fully leveraging its strategic location in the centre of the country. The residents also expressed relief and excitement at the pace and quality of the flyover construction.
There is no doubting the fact that Governor Bello has elevated the standards of governance in the state. He has demystified construction and made transformation look so easy. As we observed among residents of the state, the governor is putting smile on the faces of the people, the kind of smile that will last for a long time, a huge legacy of some sort.