WALE AKINSELURE writes on the significance of the Oyo-Iseyin Road constructed by the Governor Seyi Makinde administration and inaugurated by former president Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on September 15.
Twenty-one months after the flag-off of its rehabilitation and reconstruction, the Oyo-Iseyin Road was on September 15 inaugurated by former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Bayelsa State governor, Duoye Diri, in company of his host, Governor Seyi Makinde, had on December 16, 2021, flagged off the construction of the 34.85 kilometres road, at Ojongbodu, Oyo.
The state government awarded the project to Kopek Construction Limited on June 29, 2021, at the cost of N9.9 billion with a 12-months completion timeline. Despite being a federal road, Governor Seyi Makinde said the state government embarked on the reconstruction giving its strategic position in its economic expansion agenda. Moreover, the governor noted that most commuters on the road were people of the state, hence it is imperative for the state government to make commuting from one zone to the other a jolly ride.
At the commencement of the project, Governor Makinde met the then Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, where it was agreed that federal highway specifications should be adhered to in executing the project. As a result, the road has a width of 12.8 metres, with 2.75 metres shoulder on each side, 150mm laterite, sub-base, 200mm stone base material and asphalt concrete wearing 50 metres thickness. This is apart from artworks, provision of rainfall concrete-like drains, culverts and the construction of 45 metres span bridge over Ogoro River.
The scope of the project spanned site clearance, scarification of existing failed asphaltic concrete areas, cutting and filling to formation level, removal and carting away of unsuitable materials from the road, construction of bridges, culverts, drains, concrete works, pavement and surfacing. Speaking upon delivery of the project, Managing Director, Kopek Construction Limited, Mr Issam Feghali avowed that the road was built to its highest standard. He, however, lamented that it faced the challenges associated with inflation in the country that includes high cost of construction materials.
The road provides a link between Oyo and Oke-Ogun zones of the state. There are five major zones in the state: Ibadan, Oyo, Ogbomoso, Oke-Ogun and Ibarapa. Indeed, the Makinde administration can boast of embarking on road projects linking these five zones. The 65-kilometre Moniya-Iseyin road inaugurated on March 6, 2021 by former Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, links Ibadan to Oke-Ogun zone of the state. It was awarded at about N10 billion.
The 34.85 kilometres Oyo-Iseyin Road inaugurated last Friday links Ibadan to Oke-Ogun area of the state. It was also awarded at about N10 billion. The ongoing 76.67 kilometres Ogbomoso-Fapote-Iseyin Road, flagged off by Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, on May 18, 2022, links Oke-Ogun to Ogbomoso zone. It was awarded at about N35 billion.
The ongoing reconstruction of the 48 kilometres Ido-Eruwa Road, flagged off in February, links Ibadan to Ibarapa zone of the state. This is apart from intra-zonal road projects to include 9.7 kilometres Saki Township Road, the 5.2 kilometres Gedu-Oroki-Sabo-Asipa Road, the 7.2 km Idi Ape-Bashorun-Akobo-Odogbo Barracks Road dualisation project, the 65 metres General Gas Flyover, as well as the delivery of the Ojoo and Challenge Bus Terminals.
For many in Oyo and Oke-Ogun, the Oyo-Iseyin Road is epochal, having slashed travel time from over two hours to about 30 minutes. According to Retired Methodist Archbishop and chairman, Oyo Metropolitan Development Association, Ayo Ladigbolu, the Oyo-Iseyin Road is a fulfillment of the promise the governor made to the late Alaafin, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, about four years ago. Oba Adeyemi was said to have, on October 31, 2020, sought private audience with the governor on the road. He described the road as strategic being a major link road between Oyo South and Oyo North divisions, Ogun State, northern states and some of the border towns of the West African neighbouring countries.
“Kabiyesi was so passionate about the Oyo-Iseyin Road and its deplorable, almost unmotorable state four years ago, that His Majesty sought for a private audience with His Excellency, Governor Oluseyi Makinde in Ibadan on Saturday, October 31, 2020.
“At that crucial meeting, both Kabiyesi and the governor agreed on the need to fix this road, and our promise-keeping governor gave Kabiyesi a definite assurance that as soon as the contractors handling the Moniya-Iseyin road project has completed the road to Iseyin, he would order them to turn and face Oyo-Iseyin Road.
“I am one of those who have been monitoring the fulfillment of that promise. I am happy and proud to be a participant in the full realisation and utilisation of the brand new and modern road linking Oyo to Iseyin and other parts of our great nation and beyond, today,” Ladigbolu said.
The litany of commendations for the governor also came from Obasanjo; Mr Ahmed Raji, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN); Minister of Works, Senator Dave Umahi; Director, Highways, SouthWest, Mr Adedamola Kuti, among others.
Obasanjo particularly lauded Makinde for taking up federal roads, positing that it is the state, local people that would suffer if federal roads are not fixed. Pointing to Oke-Ogun, being the food basket of the state, he said Oyo State had comparative advantage to be the leading producer of various crops and livestock in the nation, if agriculture was taken more seriously in the state. He emphasised that a lot of farming communities will benefit from the Oyo-Iseyin Road, urging the people to maximise the use of the road for prosperity and to uplift their business.
Other personalities who spoke on the road, said the Makinde administrations in delivering road infrastructure, is also delivering real dividend of democracy that all and sundry can benefit from.
Regarding getting N9.9 billion to execute the project, Governor Makinde said the state used the Alternate Project Funding Approach (APFA) where the contractor funds the project, and government pays back over an agreed period of time. As of when the project was awarded in June 2021, the repayment period was 17 months.
Makinde also explained that the focus on linking zones was to stem rural-urban migration, spread economic development across the state, help increase the state’s internally generated revenue (IGR), and to promote agribusiness in the state. He, however, charged local government administrations to take a cue from the state government fixing federal roads by also attending to state roads. Upon linking zones through motorable roads, Makinde promised to shift attention to inner roads starting with the state capital, Ibadan. For a start, he said he had approved commencement of reconstruction of 100 kilometres of inner roads.
Speaking on his focus on interconnectivity of zones through roads, Makinde said: “You need good roads to drive to healthcare centres. Without good roads, our children cannot go to school. How will our farmers get to the markets if the roads are bad? And no matter how many vehicles we give to security agencies, how will they be able to get to people in trouble when the roads are bad? So, we will continue to build a viable road network for our dear state. This is the path to sustainable development.”