By Adebayo Adedeji
Claudia Berg, a development researcher at the World Bank, in her 2015 article, reiterates importance the Bank attaches to road construction. It is believed that without good roads, other aspects of development will suffer. Roads are the arteries through which the economy pulses; they facilitate and spur economic growth. According to her, the Bank puts premium on lending more for roads than even for education, health, and social services combined.
Similarly in Osun State where Governor Adegboyega Oyetola calls the shots, if there is anything that has defined the government, it is its deliberate decision to invest massively in road construction. Here, the road infrastructure has been given a rebirth.
Since November 2018 when the government was inaugurated, over 100 road interventions have been carried out. The 20km Ede-Ara-Ejigbo has been done. The 13.5km Ada-Igbajo road has been done. The 8.1km road in Origbo-meje, snaking through Moro, Yakooyo, Ipetumodu, Asipa-Ife has been done. The 4.8km Ereja roundabout-Ereguru-Oke Ooye-Sabo-Irojo road in Ilesha has been done. The 1.3km Kuta Palace Junction-Isale Oba Road-Asamu Junction in Kuta, Aiyedire local government, has been done.
The Osogbo-Kelebe-Iragbiji road, spanning 16.55km, has also been done. This road, like many the government of Oyetola has undertaken, suffered neglect for many years before it was salvaged. A part of the road, said to have earlier been awarded by a previous adminisration to a company owned by a PDP chieftain, Senator Ogunwale Jumokol, for =N=750 million, was left in a deplorable state. Many abandoned roads preceeding the administration have been taken care of.
And as we speak, roads, numbering 25 and spanning 200km across 9 federal constituencies of the state, are receiving attention of the government. Osogbo-Ifon road, abandoned 15 years ago, is one of them. So also the 5.83km Ipetumodu-Ode-Omu road. This road will link Ife North and Ayedaade Local Government Areas. Ayetoro street in Ifetedo, Ife South Local Government, is also under construction.
Ijeshaland, whose people revolted against APC government in the 2018 election for the way it was shabbily treated and neglected in that government’s infrastructural plan, is now wearing a new look. The government is working on 55km roads spanning across the six local governments there: Wesley Guild Hospital road in Ilesha, School of Health Technology road in Ilesha, Ita-Akogun/General Hospital road in Ilesha, Iwara/Igangan road/Olopon road in Atakumosa East are some of the roads experiencing the intensity of crawler excavator, road roller and asphalt mixing plant. Others are Kajola/Oke Ibode/Osu road in Atakumosa West and Eti-Oni/Esa-Oke road in Obokun Local Government.
The Ikirun zone is now a beehive of activities because the government is rehabilitating no less than 62km network of roads there: 10km is being done in Ifedayo and 36km in Ifelodun/ Boripe/ Boluwaduro/ Ila local government areas. The Eekosin Inaja road in Odo-otin local government is also part of the ongoing projects.
Equally, Osun west senatorial district has been transformed into a construction hub as Oyetola government is also ensuring the rehabilitation of 52km roads in Iwo and Olaoluwa areas don’t experience delay. The aspiration of the government is to complete all the roads on record time as it has become its custom. The Commissioner for Works and Transport in Osun, Engr Remi Omowaiye, in a recent interview with journalists, gave the assurance regarding timely completion of ongoing projects.
According to him, ‘ the tradition of this administration is to start and finish every project within a timeline of 9-10 months. We will keep to that target and, importantly, without compromising the standard.’
Even though the government has to ration its meagre resources to fund key projects, the leadership astuteness of Governor Oyetola and commitment of his men in the work and transport ministry have, no doubt, made a difference to the delight of critical stakeholders and all.
According to the traditional ruler of Modakeke, Ogunsua Moses Oyediran, the gesture of Oyetola to ‘reconstruct Famia road has helped to impact greatly the lives of our people as it has contributed significantly to their socioeconomic welfare and well-being. He deserves our commendation.’ Kabiyesi said.
On many occasions too, the road safety commission chief in the country, Boboye Oyeyemi, has saluted the administration for its devotion to world-class road infrastructure development. In his words, ‘I have been monitoring the development in Osun because I was once the Sector Commander in the State and I knew how the state was then and how it is now with a lot of development springing up here and there…. These and many more show (praising Governor Oyetola) your capacity, capability and mission to develop, transform and take the State to enviable heights.’
Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal is one traditional ruler who, despite his close relationship to a PDP chieftain, Ademola Adeleke, has never shrouded his admiration for the performing Oyetola for being committed to socioeconomic and infrastructural development of the state.
The general belief in Osun is that the current policy drivers are discharging their responsibility with decency, competence, professionalism, and above all, human-face and fear of God. And given that the government has not borrowed one Kobo to execute all its ambitious projects, the credit must be rightly given. Everyone believes Oyetola is an intentional leader whose presence in government at this critical time is God-willed.