By Ayodele Fagbohun
Still in the euphoria of your appointment as minister in the cabinet of President Mohammadu Buhari, the residents of Akure, your ancestral home, Ondo State capital spontaneously erupted in tremendous joy and éclat when the amiable Prince was assigned the portfolio of transportation.
This appointment, in the main, will renew fresh hope and open up great vista for the need to fix the Akure/Ado Ekiti dualisation federal motor-way’s project long abandoned and in as state of utter and terrible disrepair.
A good road network is a critical infrastructure and indispensable to the transportation, free flow of human cargoes, goods and services across the nooks and crannies of the country thereby in the process fostering and promoting national growth, development and progress.
By the same token, it is absolutely necessary and appropriate to inject fresh blood into the cabinet, in a bid to realize the noble and national goals. You are, no doubt, a round peg in a round hole to re-open the file of Akure/Ado Ekiti, road gathering dust in your ministry for necessary action and matter for urgent public attention.
As a grassroot politician of immense stature and former honourable member (MHA) representing Akure, your appointment as minister of state for transportation will galvanize you into action while on fruitful deliberations during cabinet’s meetings.
As honourable minister, you must take the bull by the horns and critically look into the activities of Dantata and Sawoe firm that is handling the N22 billion Akure/Ado Ekiti dualisation project now criminally abandoned for over three years running.
The poor, appalling and worsening condition of the route as a critical artery that links both Ondo/Ekiti states to other parts of the country and Abuja FCT continues ad nauseam to exert strains and stress on the people, in terms of eking out means of livelihood, goods and services.
There was a glimmer of hope which fired the expectation and aspirations of the people, as Dantata and Sawoe Construction (Nigeria) Limited and Factorial Engineering, a firm of structural engineering, moved their men and materials to site, thinking on the stretch of imagination that work would commence in earnest.
That was a very long time ago. To the disgust of the people and bewildered nation, work stopped abruptly, leaving the people agape and aghast.
The people are very disenchanted and have lost faith in this administration on the slipshod and carefree attitude towards the execution of the project. They raise grouse on the unsavoury development of how the welfare and material well being of the articulate people in the South West can be brazenly violated, trampled upon, mortgaged and shortchanged with reckless abandon.
Sir, I have no other choice than to say with all emphasis that it is preposterous and foolhardy for Dantata and Sawoe Group to take our people in Ondo/Ekiti states of South West for a jolly ride, thinking erroneously that they would just come around and defecate on us with impunity.
By stealth, the neo-colonialist fascists and at best their commissioned agents in our midst, cashing in on Yoruba’s innate knack for hospitality and generosity and out of mischief, clandestinely work in concert to strangulate and impoverish the socio-economic life of our people.
They now constitute an army of occupation to pillage our economic fortress and engage immorally in reconnoitering (spying) the land in terms of contract awards and dubious missions to overrun and violate the territorial integrity of South West with impunity.
As far as road construction is concerned, the defunct Western Nigeria, now christened South West, is not a novice. We have had the Israeli based construction firm, or Julius Berger firm, whose performance and work ethics are well rated as of best practices.
In addition, we can source for local construction firms whose integrity can be vouched for, based on our cordial relationship and communal fraternity. Unlike the so called Dantata and Sawoe whose men and equipment can easily vanish or disappear into the thin air at the slightest provocation.
To be brutally frank and honest with ourselves, Dantata and Sawoe are not genuine stakeholders nor should they be held accountable to any of South West’s projects. However if in the affirmatives, why the slipshod, lukewarm attitude and downright bestiality in handling the all important federal Akure/Ado-Ekiti dualization motor way project?
I respectfully urge the Minister to deploy political ingenuity and network of connection as a grassroots politician to do the needful and ensure that the dilapidated, decrepit road is fixed within a short time frame.
The dry season will soon set in to facilitate early re-construction of the road to bolster the economy of the South West in all its ramifications.
Ondo/Ekiti States will also heave a sigh of relief if work actually commences in earnest to save or curtail to the barest minimum the present agony, enn…, anxiety, dangers of insecurity and its accompanied crimes in bad and ill maintained roads across the country.
Sir, it not how long you are in the cabinet of Mr President. The people who are joyfully basking on your appointment look eagerly for a good and credible performance in government and to positively touch lives of the people.
The late Head of State, General Ramat Murtala Mohammed, ruled for barely 200 days, packed with action programmes which benefitted the masses. Even though the fallen hero failed in certain aspects in government, it shows that human beings are fallible.
I formally congratulate Hon. Minister for this sensitive and unique appointment in the nick of time. You will certainly utilize your affable personality, rapport and resilience in the cabinet; and fix the long abandoned and neglected Akure/Ado Ekiti express motor-way before the end of President Muhammadu’s tenure.