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Lagos-Ibadan expressway: Adeboye prays for Babalakin

By on July 17, 2011

Amid preparations for the commencement of full scale construction on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, at the weekend, strengthened the Chairman of Bi-Courtney Highway Services Limited, Dr. Bolanle Olawale Babalakin, with prayers and words of wisdom.

While receiving Babalakin at his Redeemed Camp home, Pastor Adeboye said: “Anyone who gets this kind of assignment needs a lot of prayers. There’s a saying that any man who has a farm by the roadside is always suffering because everyone passing by will be able to say he should have done it this way or that way.

So, no matter how hard he’s working, they’ll criticize him because his farm is by the roadside. Your farm now is not just by the roadside, it is the road itself.”
Babalakin, who has been meeting with major stakeholders along the highway, explained why progress had been slow, and how God had helped him to cross the major hurdles on the path of the project.

While blaming the delay on politics and the inability of Nigerian banks to fund the project, Babalakin said “this road was given to Nigerian banks to finance, but they don’t have a long-term contract.

“We were holding meetings upon meetings, but you discover that all they can give is money for a year or two and you need money for 15 years.

“We are making headway because a bank in South Africa has shown interest. We are now going to build the road with a consortium of firms in South Africa.

We’ll, in 10 days time, start patching the road, later we’ll commence the proper work.”

“Patching is a waste of time and money because the road has failed from under. Anything you put on top of it is always temporary. But we assure Nigerians, we’ll lay three lanes going to Sagamu, three lanes coming back; we’ll repair Sagamu to Ibadan, we’ll then come back and start rebuilding, so that at every stage of our construction, there’ll be two lanes for motorists, while we are working on the third lane.

“We have challenges, sir. We have the challenges of information, the challenges of ignorance, and many other challenges. When we were working at the Airport, I made a speech, and I said that the greatest problem I had was ignorance. The most difficult thing I’ve faced in life is to explain issues to powerful mediocre. Chief Obasanjo said there was even a worse type – those who deliberately refuse to understand.

“Most people in Nigeria don’t know what concession is all about. There’s no road that has been done through concession in Nigeria before, apart from the Lekki-Epe Expressway, a 45-kilometre road that took the concessionaire five years to start the construction. And Federal Government has no money for road now. There’s no road that will receive 7 per cent of the cost; none nationwide. That’s why it took 10 years to do Oyo-Ogomosho Road; that’s why Abuja-Lokoja has been on for the past five years; the same with Kano-Maiduguri.

“Many people don’t want us to build that road. There have been several stumbling blocks. We’ve been having problems with many powerful mediocre. Many people whose structures will be affected have gone to court. There are 55 legal cases on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.”

While responding, Pastor Adeboye said: “Of course, there are people who will already be imagining: ‘Oh, how much money Babalakin is going to make out of this. They don’t want to know all the pains, all the efforts; they always look towards the end result.

“I used to be a boxer. I don’t look like one now, but I used to be. And people make the mistake of calculating how much money you get when you fight.
“You fight for 45 minutes, they pay you N10 million. They say whao! Imagine how much he gets per minute; they don’t think of all the hours of preparations.

They don’t think of the waking up every day before 5 a.m., doing roadwork; they don’t think of how you have been beaten almost silly by your sparring partner who toughens you up for the main fight. And that’s natural.

“I can assure you, we will continue to pray for you, and you will succeed in the name of God. Those who will not allow us to reach our goal, the Almighty God will help us to change their minds. Those who refuse to change their minds; God has a way of removing them. When God supports someone, no one can defeat him; so we’re thanking God in advance for the miracle that will begin to happen as from today.”

On the issue of battling with powerful mediocre, Pastor Adeboye shared a testimony.

He said: “Ignorance is a killer. I attended an interview in 1969. I wanted to go abroad for further studies, and I applied for commonwealth scholarship; and I sat before the panel. As you know, when it comes to mathematics, it’s either you know the answer to the question or you don’t know; there’s no third way to it. If I say 2+2, you know the answer is four. So, when I sat before the panel, and they were asking me questions; I was surprised that didn’t these people know that I have honours in mathematics, because they were asking elementary questions. By the time everybody was satisfied, there was a man who was dozing all the time; so when they woke him up and asked if he had any question for me, he said: ‘Oh, oh yes! Where is Entebbe? I said I was not there for Geography.

Fortunately or unfortunately for me, he happened to be the Chairman of the panel. Of course you know the rest of the story. I didn’t get scholarship because he was a

powerful mediocre. Because he was the chairman, I lost. But thank God he used that to bring me to where I am today.

“As I was coming out of the place, I met one of my lecturers at the University of Nsukka; he asked what I was doing there. I said that I came for an interview, and he said: ‘Why do you want to go abroad to study. I know you; you’re my student; there’s no need to go abroad. That’s how I ended up at UNILAG for my masters. It was there I got born again, and that led me to where I am today.”

Pastor Adeboye thereafter prayed for Babalakin, assuring him that Jesus would subdue all the forces against the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway project.