Factchecking Atiku’s Claim about FG Building the Three Bridges Connecting Lagos Island and Mainland

Mustapha Lawal

Claim

The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar citing the financier of the building of the 3 bridges connecting the Island to the Mainland in Lagos claimed the Federal Government of Nigeria developed Lagos and not the APC government in the state.  

Verdict

True! The federal government built and rebuilt the 3 bridges connecting Lagos island and the mainland. However, this cannot be taken as a basis for judgment of development. 

Full Text

The Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar claimed the Federal Government of Nigeria developed Lagos and not the APC government in the state. He made this claim during the PDP campaign rally on the 22nd of December 2022 in Lagos. 

In his speech, Atiku asserted “…53 years ago, when I came to Lagos in 1969, there was only one old carter bridge built by the Europeans. No 2nd mainland bridge, No 3rd mainland bridge, and no Tafawa Balewa Square then.”

He furthered by saying “Now, I want to tell you, this is a fact you can go and check. The federal government built the Second* (Eko) mainland bridge, rebuilt the old Carter bridge, built the Third mainland bridge, rebuilt the Agege motor road* (park), rebuilt the Ikorodu road, and all major roads connecting Island and the mainland.  Now the APC government has been telling you guys that they developed Lagos. ‘Na lie’, they did not develop Lagos at all, they are lying to you.”

According to Britannica report, Lagos was joined with the protectorate of Southern Nigeria in 1906, it was made the capital of the colony of Nigeria in 1914.  Lagos State was formed on 27 May 1967 from Colony province and Lagos federal territory. It was the capital (1960–91) of independent Nigeria until Abuja became the new capital following the government’s decision to move its capital to Abuja in the center of the country. 

Lagos can be divided into two: Mainland and Island. Most of the population lives on the mainland, and most industries are located there too. Lagos Island contains a central business district. The Island consists of major places like Lekki, Victoria Island (popularly known as ‘V.I.’), and Ikoyi while the Mainland consists of many other local governments which sum up to be a higher percentage in land mass when compared with that of the Island. 

An article published in April 2003 on the This Day platform states that Lagos Island and the mainland are connected by three bridges namely the Third Mainland bridge, the Eko bridge, and the Carter bridge. Carter bridge is the oldest, while the third mainland bridge is the longest, and the Eko bridge is the shortest of the three bridges. 

According to the webpage of the Lagos State Government, the state has had 14 administrators and governors since its creation and the current Governor of the state is Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was the 12th Governor of Lagos State (29 May 1999 – 29 May 2007) is the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in the forthcoming elections. 

All Governors of the state since the restoration of Democracy in 1999 have come from the same fold of political tents which panned out from the Alliance for Democracy (AD), metamorphosed into the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and now All Progressive Congress (APC) through a merger with various groups of shared interests. 

Since the commencement of campaign activities leading to the 2023 election, several comments and claims have been made as regards the development of Lagos state. Some of these include Tinubu’s claim of turning “Lagos from jungle to megacity” reported by Punch Newspaper; Kashim Shettima’s claim of “Lagos being a super slum until Tinubu became Governor” reported by Channels TV; A report on “How Tinubu transformed Lagos” published by The Nation and many more. 

However, the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar claimed it was the federal government that developed Lagos and not the APC government. He insisted the federal government build and rebuilt the major bridges (Carter bridge, Eko bridge, and Third mainland bridge), motor parks (Agege park), and roads (Ikorodu road) in Lagos at the PDP campaign rally in the state.

Verification

Checks by FactCheckElections revealed that the Carter Bridge (named after Sir Gilbert Thomas Carter, a former Governor of the Colony of Lagos) was constructed by the British colonial government, before Nigerian independence in 1960 and was dismantled, redesigned, and rebuilt in the late 1970s. 

The Third mainland bridge (sometimes known as Ibrahim Babangida Boulevard) was built by Julius Berger Nigeria PLC. Phase one of the project was commissioned by President Shehu Shagari in 1980 and completed by President Ibrahim Babangida in 1990; it measures about 11.8 km in length. Eko Bridge was approved by Shehu Shagari who was then the Minister of Works during Nigeria’s First Republic. 

Conclusion

True, the federal government built and rebuilt the three bridges connecting Lagos Island and the mainland. However, there is no evidence to prove the said projects can be used as metrics to measure the development of Lagos state. 

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