By Sunmola Olowookere
One of the major cardinal programmes of the government of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu which is becoming obvious is roads. The Ministry of Works and Infrastructure is the ministry saddled with the construction, reconstruction and rehabilitation of roads in the state.
In the words of Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Taofiq Abdulsalam, since inception of the administration of Rotimi Akeredolu, the government had been squarely fixed on ensuring that roads in the state are motorable.
He recalled the first few days of the present administration when the governor begun to look into request sent in by towns and villages regarding construction of new roads and rehabilitation of bad ones in their vicinity.
Outlining the state government’s achievements, he made reference to a spot in Ikare Akoko in Akoko North/East which was cut off as about three culverts collapsed and the governor immediately directed that new culverts be constructed.
He further recalled another area in the vicinity which had caused untold grief to the people due to incessant fatal accidents witnessed on the road especially the hilly area on the road.
The spot “Oke Alabojuto” was a threat to motorists and travellers as well for a long period of time before the state government’s intervention, so much so, that the residents of the town had built a mystery of a “blood sucking demon” around it.
The people built a mystery around the road as rarely does a month pass that a ghastly accident would not be recorded on the road.
The commissioner disclosed that the road was awarded by the past administration in the state but regretted that the contractor abandoned the project.
He stated that the current administration stepped into the breach and the once hilly death trap was levelled and now spotted a dual carriage way which is under construction.
Residents and motorists have now coined another name for the spot which is “Isale Alabojuto”.
Also evident in the nooks and crannies of the state are culverts and drainages.
According to Abdulsalam, all local governments areas in the state have felt government presense in terms of road construction and rehabilitation.
Boasting of the state government’s achievement, he claimed that since 1999, no government could measure up to the current administration.
The areas touched are wearing new looks and the residents are happier for it. Construction of accessible roads across the local government areas of Ondo State have been adjudged to be a dividend of governance which people must expect from the government.
In the last few weeks, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, inspected some road projects across some local government areas in the state.
The governor with his entourage visited Ile- Oluji, in Ile-Oluji/Oke Igbo Local Government Area, Bolorunduro in Ondo East and Orisun Iye Community in Akure South Local Government Area.
In Orisun Iye Community, he inspected an ongoing construction of a modern bridge which was constructed to replace the wooden one that existed before.
Speaking on behalf of the residents of the community, the Chairman, Pa. Josiah Adegbola stated that the community had never experienced government presence since 43 years ago that it had been established until the present administration came on board.
He stated that they never believed in the project when they learnt of government’s promise to construct their bridge and stated that they were elated when they saw the promise translated to reality.
He promised that the community will always be grateful and loyal to the administration of Akeredolu while soliciting for construction of their roads and provision of borehole.
The governor also visited Ile Oluji to inspect the construction of 5.23 kilometres of roads in Awokiyesi Avenue, Ondo road which was nearly completed as a major part of the road had been covered by asphalt.
Likewise, he also made a stop over at Bolorunduro in Ondo East to inspect a 8.6 kilometre road project constructed at Fagbo road, Bolorunduro; a road leading to a farm settlement.
A representative of the community, Chief Jeremiah Fakiyesi said that such had never happened before in the community, he praised the administration and promised that the community will always support the current administration in achieving its set goals.
The economic advantages of the Fagbo road are numerous as the farmers would now be able to bring their goods to the market.
They would not have to sell their goods at a give away price to middlemen nor will their goods get rotten in the farm due to lack of accessible roads.
Ifon in Ose has 3 kilometres of roads. Oba, Ikun, Afo, Idanre road was totally cut off at a point. The state government built a new culvert and a new bridge.
The road contract is billed to be awarded by the government this year, according to Works’ Commissioner, Abdulsalam.
“We have a massive project going on in Owo, we have a dual carriage way; phase 1,2 and 3. They are billed for commissioning.
“The direct labour team too are working in Owo such as Isuada Area the unit a lot of culvert.
In Ondo Central, the administration has finished some roads such as Abusoro, Alafiatayo, Hospital road, dualiasation from S.O down to Oba Osupa, Oluwatuyi which is almost completed currently.
Idanre has 6/7 kilometres of township road. Another 15 kilometres runs from that axis down to Ijoka. Currently, 5 kilometres out of it is billed for commissioning.
“We have plans to open Idanre up as it has only one road linking it to the state capital. By May, the 15 kilometres road from Idanre down to Ijoka must be completed.
“We have completed a project that was awarded by the past administration in Ondo state which is from Itanla-Ademulegun road in Ondo,” he explained
He stated further that Ore should be the Commercial Hub of South/West.Ore is created to be an important town in the country.
“Government is planning to open up the area to the people of the world to come and invest. You go there, works are ongoing in the area. Five factories are on ground at the industrial pack. A lot of factories are still coming.
“We are also discussing with the power sector with the hope that Omotosho Power plant can be upgraded. So that, companies coming there will have electricity to operate. The gas plant is already coming up. We have dualisation of road too in Ore that we are working on.” he boasted.
In Okitipupa, a bypass is being constructed with plan underway to construct 18 kilometres of road.
In Ilaje, road projects are ongoing with partnership between the state and NDDC. In Irele, Ayeka road down to Irele has been completed. “In Ese-Odo, we completed Ajagba-Sabomi, road, we are commencing the projects in Igbobini, Igbekebo, Igbolu and Oke Igbo, Owo/Ikare road project underway” he disclosed.
In his opinion, the economic implication is that accidents will reduce and people’s lives and properties will be safe guarded. For instance, the Owo /Ikare road linking South/West to the North, the traffic will be reduced. The dualisation there will ease traffic.
Meanwhile, Akeredolu has expressed satisfaction over the quality and speed of work done on the various ongoing road projects across the state.
He had also inspected the ongoing road project from ‘A’ Division to NEPA roundabout in Akure and the Igbara-Oke/Ibuji in Ifedore Local Government area road Projects.
He commended the competency of engineers from the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure and the expertise which they brought to bear on the project.
He explained that the road project which was to begin from ‘A Division and link up with Idanre through Ijoka road, was segmented for its early completion.
“Rather than demolishing buildings from ‘A’ Division to Ijoka road without completing any, we decided to divide the project into segments. The first segment will be completed in the second week of March as it is already wearing a stone base.
“This method has assisted us tremendously, such that it had enabled us to finish one segment, open it up for use and move to the next. The next segment will take off from NEPA to Olukayode round-about and when that is completed, then we would proceed to where the next segment will be.
“This approach also afforded road users alternative routes, rather than disturbing the progress of work and that has assisted us in achieving success. The contractor has done well, it is a standard road and this is what we will achieve throughout in all our projects”, he said.
Also, Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Raimi Aminu said the contractor has just completed the stone base to be followed by the binder cost before the final wearing cost which he described as the actual thick level.
At Igbara-Oke in Ifedore Local Government Area of the state where the asphalt overlay of the 8.1 Km of the township road linking Ibuji, Ekiti and Osun states has commenced, residents of the town welcomed the Governor with various songs in appreciation of his gesture.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Egbedi of Igbara-Oke, Chief Gabriel Fajemilusi described the Governor’s intervention as first of its kind, saying it has put an end to their many years of suffering.
“Before your intervention, this road which links Ondo, Ekiti and Osun states was in a deplorable condition and had cut off many communities, but with your attention, it now looks like a new world to us”, he said.
Responding, Governor Akeredolu described the rehabilitation of the failed road as one of the dividends of good governance which people of the state are entitled to as their right.
“The road was in a deplorable state and it takes hours to link with Ekiti from Igbara-Oke and Igbara-Odo. Ekiti, our neighbouring state had put their own portion of the road in a good shape and I think it is important for us to do ours too for the comfort of our people.
At Isarun, country home of Speaker of the Ondo State House of Assembly, Mr Bamidele Oleyelogun, also in Ifedore local government, Governor Akeredolu also inspected the ongoing 3.5 km township road within the community.