We're Reevaluating Abandoned Akute - Agbole Road - Abiodun - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Wednesday, July 15, 2020

We're Reevaluating Abandoned Akute - Agbole Road - Abiodun

Prince  Dapo Abiodun has embarked on 80 km road work since becoming the Governor of the Gateway State in 2019 and within a year in office, completed 20km out of the conceptualised 80km road project. On Wednesday, he visited one of them; the Ijebu Ode - Epe road, to inspect the level of works being done there. The Daily Crucible brings to you, his impression about it and other roads in the state.
                         • Gov Abiodun

Looking at the strategic - Ijebu - Ode - Epe road and people's expectation, are you satisfied with the pace of work on that road?

For us in Ogun State, the Ijebu - Ode - Epe road will allow us to further open up this area for industrial purposes. Because this now becomes another evacuation corridor into the Lekki area where we have the Lekki Free Trade zone, Dangote refinery, we have the new port coming up. So, this is another industrial corridor and we have began to receive a lot of expressions of interest and desire application for industrial land, industrial estate, trailer parks, and so on and so forth on this road. That we are very excited about because that immediately provide employment opportunities for our people. So, this road we flagged off sometimes in February is meant to be concluded sometime early next year but from all indications, COVID-19 , rains, probably it will extend to around this time next year (July). So, we believe that God willing this time next year, this road should be completed. However, I have instructed the contractor, this construction must not cause our people too much pain and suffering. I have instructed that by this weekend, they should palliatives particularly Ijebu-Ode area so that the ride for our people will be more pleasurable. And I think that is acceptable. 

 What other plans do you have for roads in Akute - Alagbole axis?

I'm happy that you asked that question. I should actually have spoken to that question. I see that the Akute - Alagbole road, Ishasi road, the Journalists Estate Road, those roads have got a lot of media attention lately and I'm not surprised. What I first want to say is: I want to remind us that this Dapo Abiodun-led administration has only been in office for a year and about a month. So, whatever condition the roads are in today is not the making of this administration. This administration has embarked in the short time that we have been in office on an aggressive construction of about 80 kilometres of road. We've completed about 20-something kilometres in terms of new roads and I believe that, if my memory doesn't fail me, I do not know any administration that did over 20-something kilometres of road in one year. Beyond that, we have embarked on the rehabilitation of roads about 50 kilometres and this is not just talk, the roads are there for you to see. 

Given the number of abandoned or uncompleted roads in the state, indigenes and residents are expecting quick attenton given to them in order to lessen their hardships on those roads.

What we did when we assumed office is that we set up a committee to look at all the roads that we inherited. The committee's charge was to do an assessment of the completion level of those roads, the contract sums, how much is owed, and prioritize those roads for us. That committee has since submitted their report, even though they have not formally given it to us, they've given me an informal copy of that report. And what we've done is that we took that informal copy, we looked at it and the ones that measured up our priority, we began work on them meaning that all the ones that we inherited and on our priority, we have since sat down with the contractors, reevaluated the projects, mobilised them to go back to site and that is why you see that they've gone back to site. They have gone back to site in Kuto Bridge, Rounder road, Ilaro-Owode road and so on.

But no work is going at the Akute - Agbole road ...? 

Now to go back to the Akute road, there are two roads in that corridor. Those two roads, one of them was originally awarded for N30-something billion, the other one was about N40-something billion. It's beyond me how that administration had planned to fund the construction of those road with so many bridges, some of them are meant to be six-lane roads. However, government is a continuum. What we did was we phased out the rehabilitation and construction of roads in order of priority and these roads in that corridor, there is the one that goes from Ota to Akute, and then the other one that goes from Ishasi, Ojodu, Akute. They are in our second phase of projects which were meant to commence immediately after our first year in office. So, those roads are front burners for us right now. We are currently looking at them, we are naturally looking at how to ensure that we not only begin work on them but we are able to complete them. We are reevaluating them, we are looking at ways and means ensure that they are within budget. Of course, we can't afford to spend N70billion on those two roads. 

What is the way out ?

There is a lot of redesigning going on for those roads. But we understand the importance of those roads. That road particularly in Ifo II local government (state constituency) is a very densely populated area which is a border area between us and Lagos State. A lot of our people live there and work in Lagos, they pay taxes to us in Ogun State, the condition of those roads are beyond deplorable. But all I can ask is that: you have to be patient with us. We didn't create this problem. It would be inconsiderate for anyone to expect Dapo Abiodun to have fixed that road in less than 12 months. You know I got into office, yet to have settled down, I'm yet to take stock of what I met, I'm yet to put things in place. But I understand that because of the season, it is causing more pain than usual. But I have since directed the Ministry of Works to look at what we can do on that road as palliative to ensure that our people do not suffer unduly. I want to use this opportunity to say that I share the pain our people that live in that corridor, but they should be rest assured that we are on top of that situation in terms of redesigning that road, prioritising it, they will soon begin to see active work on that road, and it would not be something we are doing for photo-ops or something that we are going to start and abandon it. When we start on that road, having re-dimensioned, reevaluated and redesigned it, we would ensure that we complete it with drainages. Because we want to bring more people to live in Ogun State and work in Lagos. We say Ogun State is spillover state for Lagos State, so we want to continue to encourage that but, they should please be patient with us and give us time as we embark on it. It cannot happen overnight. Government only has little resources , particularly now that we are dealing with the effects of the pandemic where there is an economic contraction, funding is very scare and we have to make judicious use of funds allocated between infrastructure, agriculture, food for our people, health care which has now become a front burner issue for all of us because this pandemic issue has brought to the fore the holes in our healthcare system. So, as we do that, we are paying attention to accommodation as well. So I believe that as we do that, we will also create opportunities for employment. So, we are looking at the areas of infrastructure, housing, agriculture to help us in managing the effects of this pandemic.

No comments:

Post a Comment