…It’s dream come true —Akeredolu, Adegoroye
By Adekola Afolabi
& Babatunde Ayedoju
Relief has come the way of motorists, residents and other road users of the problematic and deplorable Akure/Ado-Ekiti road as the Federal Government finally flagged off its dualisation yesterday.
Performing the flag off ceremony of the project on Thursday at the Ado Motor Park, Akure, the Ondo State capital, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, expressed federal government’s commitment to ensure the completion of the project.
The project which will gulp over N90 billion is expected to be completed in 24 months.
Before now, motorists and other road users had abandoned the Akure/Ado-Ekiti road for Igbara-Oke/ Igbara-Odo, Ibuji/ Ilawe roads due to deplorable nature of the road, thereby increasing their travel time to several hours.
The road had become a death trap for travelers, even as many house owners and other residents in the affected areas had relocated as a result of poor state of the road.
Fashola stated that President Muhammadu Buhari administration will keep working for the good of Nigerians till its last minute in office, explaining that the flag off was delayed till now because of the processes involved in contracts award.
While assuring the people of Ondo and Ekiti States that the federal government has given the road contract to capable hands, Fashola said, “the contact was withdrawn from the previous contractor, not because of incompetence but because the Sukuk fund does not pay for mobilisation but for works done. How will the contractor now move equipment to site?”
The Works Minister who said that the work only looks easy from outside, added that the Federal Government is currently facing a law suit of N10 billion over the withdrawal and re-award of the road contact, but had to face that for the interest of people of both states.
He explained that the N90 billion road project is not funded by debt but by a tax credit policy that involves the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL).
Fashola commended the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, for his dedication, commitment to duty and actualization of the project.
“Prince Adegoroye is an amazing representative. I know how many memoranda he has submitted despite his brief stay in office. He is an example of how to work in government,” Fashola added.
Speaking at the event, Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, who expressed delight said one of the unique selling points of his administration is infrastructural development and this can be attested to through aggressive road projects across the nooks and crannies of the state.
He described the flag off ceremony as historic and a dream come through, saying that it has been long that the people of Ondo and Ekiti States have been clamouring for the reconstruction of the damaged federal road.
He lauded President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, and all other stakeholders for making the project a reality.
He explained the travel time from Akure to Ekiti which should not be more than 30 minutes for motorists and other road users has now been increased to over two hours because they are plying Igbara-Oke/Igbara-Odo/Ibuji/Ilawe roads, due to bad state of Akure/Ado-Ekiti road.
Governor Akeredolu, who was represented by Commissioner for Infrastructure, Land and Housing, Raimi Aminu explained that the issues of kidnapping, accidents and damage to vehicles as a result of deplorable state of the road will be a thing of the past after the completion.
Akeredolu who expressed hope that the construction would bring a lot of reliefs to the people of both states, also added that the project will open the corridor and reduce rural-urban drift.
He commended motorists and commuters for their patience and endurance so far, even as he solicited for more cooperation as work begins on the project.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, while appreciating President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Akeredolu and Babatunde Fashola for their commitment to the road project, equally described the road as very important to the people of the two states.
Adegoroye, who had made the reconstruction of the road one of his priorities since he assumed office as Minister, expressed relief that the project is now a reality.
He added that the project will improve commercial activities and create employments in the affected areas, just as he assured the people that work will not stop on the project until it is completed.
Also, Minister of State for Works and Housing, represented by A. O. Kuti, explained that the road was divided into two sections, section one covering Akure to Iju and section two covering Ikere and Ado-Ekiti.
Senator representing Ondo Central Senatorial District, Ayo Akinyelure, described the occasion as one of the happiest moments of his life as the senator whose constituency was considered for the project, just as he thanked the federal government for coming to the rescue of the people.
Mr. Dele Agbede, Ekiti State Head of Service who represented the state Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, described the event as historic which will put an end to agony and accidents being experienced by motorists and commuters on daily basis.
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