Pushing the frontiers of road construction in Ondo
By Kayode Adegbehingbe
The Ondo State government has been receiving praises for taking construction of roads to the next level. Among the latest to attract the attention of the government is the A Division-Ijoka-Idanre road, and part of the road is already being overlaid with asphalt. With this and many other road projects like it, the Oluwarotimi Akeredolu led government is poised to make its mark.
Concerning that road, the governor said: “For me it has always been my wish to transverse this road back to Akure and through this, we are opening a new life for Idanre people.
“This road among other benefits, opens this city for tourist attraction so that everybody could come here and have beautiful moments while visiting our tourist centres.”
According to reports, part of the road would soon be ready for use.
It is important to note that there has been no incident of contractors abandoning project sites and this could be put to the novel approach to road construction that the state government has put in place. They are only paid in phases for job done based on the agreement with the government. With that the contractors would be on their toes to deliver as and when due.
Construction of access roads is important for the development of the society. It has the potential to increase the value of lands and landed properties, ease movement of farm products and other goods.
And in different parts of the state, the pain felt by those cut off when the culvert(s) leading to their area collapsed has been eased with government’s intervention.
According to reports, examples of such interventions include: construction of three box culverts in Ikare; construction of box culvert and a bridge along Oba-Akoko-Ikunu Road, construction of box culvert at Iralepo, Owo; construction of box culvert, channels, drains and approaches at Ore.
The governor has described the rehabilitation of roads as a dividend of good governance. He said that N9billion has already been expended to construct and rehabilitate roads in the state, revealing the passion of the state government in that regard.
In the construction of roads, especially dualisation, there are buildings that have to give way and indemnity paid to those whose buildings have to give way.
The governor said the government is “ensuring that all those whose property were affected by our development activities are duly compensated. The payment is to make it easy for them to relocate, acquire new property and continue life without hardship or encumbrances.”
Speaking on the 12kilometer Okitipupa Igbokoda road, Governor Akeredolu said: “The essence of this road is to divert traffic from inside Okitipupa town. We have to go through Okitipupa to Igbokoda and pass through markets and congested roads and we chose to have a bypass to assist traffic, hence the construction of the road.
“A lot of work has been done at the other end of the road and we can now pass through and it is an achievement for us.”
On the activities of the contractor, he said “they have gone beyond the amount we have given them, so we have to struggle to get money for them to speed up work. The terrain is very swampy and has to be stabilised.”
A few of the other roads being attended to by government in the southern senatorial districts are: Sabomi-Ajagba road, Ayeka Araromi road and secretariat road in Irele.
The Ore flyover along Shagamu-Benin expressway is also under construction. Travellers coming from Lagos into Akure, passing through that route would readily attest to that fact seeing how the place has been transformed. It did not just end as a good idea, when it was announced but the contractors have been mobilised to site and work is being done.
The infamous Oke Alabojuto road has also been attended to, bringing succour to people in the northern senatorial district.
There are many projects in Akure, Ondo State capital. They include: Ekiti Avenue Ijapo, Oluwatoyin crescent Alagbaka GRA, dualisation of CBN-Bishop courts road, Alagbaka, Iwalewa road, Court of Appeal road, Signature-Federal High Court-SIB road, Alagbaka and patching of selected roads in Akure.
In Owo, there is the dualisation of Emure Junction-Owo road. Idanre township roads and St Peters road Ile-oluji are not left behind.
Among the roads still to be constructed according to the plans of the government is the Akunnu-Ikaram-Oke Agbe-Afin-Ogbagi-Irun road.
The governor revealed that the design of the road has been completed, and contractors would soon be mobilised to the site. He made this known on a recent visit to the Akoko North West Local government, where the Olupe of Ipe-Akoko, Oba Francis Apata, like Oliver Twist, made an additional appeal for the rehabilitation of the Epinmi-Ikare-Oba-Ikuun-Ipe-Isua road.
He said: “We know they are Federal Government roads, but we appeal to you to use your connection to ensure that they are touched.”
He added that without road connectivity, “our economy cannot improve in this area, but if we can get the roads rehabilitated, you don’t need to campaign for second term because the projects will speak for you.”
Another federal road is set to be attended to this year, having been included in this year’s national budget, is the Akure-Ikere road.
The governor said that the design of the road is ready. The road, a dual carriageway, would, according to the Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, be awarded this year.
In Ifedore local government, the road projects include Igbara-Oke/Isarun (3.1km) and IgbaraOke/Ibuji (8.1km) roads. The governor on an inspection visit there noted that the Igbara Oke road connects Ondo State to the neighbouring states of Osun and Ekiti.
In Ondo East Bolorunduro Fagbo and the Bolorundoru Expressway are being addressed.
There is a rural road construction programme tagged Rural Access Mobility Project (RAMP). While addressing the people of Ondo East Local Government, the governor said that most of the roads in the local government fall under RAMP and would soon be constructed to enable the farmers bring their farm produce to various markets within the community.
RAMP is partnership between World Bank and the French Development Agency and the state government.
It is to meet the road needs of the agrarian communities in the state to ensure that farm produce easily get to the city centres. The project is designed to span the 18local governments of the states.
The governor, revealing why he is committed to RAMP, said: ”We are convinced that there can be no meaningful development in the polity until the rural environment enjoys a symbiotic relationship devoid of neglect and exploitation.”
A special soil solution technology is being deployed for this project. This would ensure that the cost of road construction is reduced by 40percent. The technology would ensure that nothing penetrates the soil, and it would last for 10years.
Ondo State is reportedly the first to use this technology it in Nigeria, though, according to information, it is already being used in South Africa and Kenya. The embrace of this kind of innovation is in line with the think anew, act new mantra of the Akeredolu-led administration in the state.
The governor said that the introduction of the new method is because asphalt could be washed away during the rainy seasons.
Under RAMP, 500kilometers of rural roads have been earmarked to be constructed, with 5.35kilometers of it read, inclusive of ten culverts, linking Molege village and ending at Ute in Ose Local government.
With this move, the agrarian areas in the state which have been ignored by successive governments are about to heave a sigh of relief.
The governor has hinged his fervour for rural road construction to his electioneering promise to ease the life of the farmers by aiding the transportation of their produce. He has walked the talk and has put his money where his mouth is to meet the dire needs of the rural farmers.
He also said that he plans to open up the hinterland in order to ensure that the wide infrastructural gap between the rural and urban communities is bridged, convinced that without accessible roads, there would be no development. It is also to encourage investment into the state.
The Ondo state project coordinator of RAMP, Engr Zaccheaus Olorunegan, has praised the governor for making available the counterpart funding and putting the maximum political will behind the project.
Eulogising the government for its efforts in road rehabilitation, the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi, said the governor has performed excellently well in this sector.
According to a release by the Special Assistant to the Governor on new media, Mr Allen Sowore, the efforts of the government in construction and rehabilitation of roads is without prejudice to whether it is a federal road, state or rural as the impact has been felt across the three senatorial districts of the state, bringing smiles to the faces of the teeming populace.
The governor has expressed total commitment to complete of all road projects, with Akeredolu saying, “let me reiterate that our administration is irrevocable committed to the successful completion of all ongoing projects. All projects awarded will be duly paid for on satisfactory completion.”
This is definitely music to the ears of the concerned contractors who might, in time past, have tales of woe to tell with regards to the none payment of what is due to them from government. It is saddening that the internal debts of governments when it comes to payment of contractors has become such a huge weight on the economy.
The governor said further: “The era of abandoned projects in the state has gone for good, we are not unaware of the limited funds at the disposal of government to meet the ever increasing needs of our people.
“We pledge that we shall ensure prudent management of resources, not only for the benefit of the privilege few but also for the entire Ondo people.”
This reveals another side of the government’s secret towards making such a big stride in road construction, which is prudent management of resources. Rather than make excuses for what cannot be done, the government is stretching all the kobos in the naira to accommodate the needs of the people.
On the side of the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, the Commissioner, Taofeek Abdulsalam stated that it would ensure that the government only uses quality material based on the Bill of Engineering Measurement and Valuation, with the work carried out according to specification. This is about being proactive in the construction of roads in the state so that they can stand the test of time and not develop potholes after a few rainfalls.
The construction of roads has many effects on the economy. It opens up different regions of the state, pushing the property value up. It makes transportation cheaper, faster and safer for motorists and passengers by reducing accidents and the wear and tear of vehicles.
It engenders connectivity among peoples and businesses, opening up more possibilities, making agricultural produce more readily available, and leading to the reduction in their prices because road transportation is improved. All in all, there would be a great effect on the financial status of the state as there is improvement in the movement of people and goods.
The road projects of the Akeredolu-led administration are an opportunity for the government to touch the lives of people across the state and leave a legacy for posterity.