FEW days to the expiration of the life of the immediate past administration, the then federal government flagged-off the re-awarded dualisation and rehabilitation of the 50 km Akure -Ado Road project, which was expected to gulp N95.9 billion. The Federal Executive Council (FEC) had approved the cancellation of the 2020 contract awarded to Dantata & Sawoe for the reconstruction of the road which had suffered many setbacks. Flagging off the project in Akure, the then Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola, had assured that the road construction would be completed within 24 months.
HE said the road after completion would stimulate economic activities and ease means of doing businesses between the Ondo and Ekiti as well as other neighbouring states of Kogi, Osun and Kwara.
ACCORDING to him “the Akure/Ado Ekiti road would be adequately catered for from the second phase of the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme, which is meant for funding of critical infrastructure development in the country.
“THIS road is going to cost over N90 billion. The federal government has kept some revenue so that you can have a road. I have also come to tell you that Buhari’s government will be leaving behind, sustainable development. Whether I am in office or not, this road will be built. In fact, two days ago, I signed the advance payment guarantee request for the release of the monies to the contractors,”he explained..
HE said first part of the project which would start from the Akure end was awarded to Messers Sam Chase Nig. Ltd/Messers Horizon Construction Co. Ltd at the sum of N46,684,481,745.44, while the one from the Ado/Ikere end was awarded to Kopek Construction Co. Ltd, at the sum of N49,295,088,593.98.
With full excitement, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, lauded President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, and the Minister of State for Transportation, Prince Ademola Adegoroye, and all other stakeholders.
Akeredolu implored the two contractors, Samchase construction and Kopek construction company to resume to site immediately.
IN the same vein, his Ekiti State counterpart, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, said the project would put an end to the hardship being experienced by commuters of the two states.
THE former Minister of State for Transportation, Adegoroye, commended the outgone administration for taking such laudable step to ensure that the project fully took off before the end of the administration. Also with the euphoria that dogged the flag-off, we unfortunately observed that the motorists and other road users had abandoned the Akure/Ado-Ekiti road for Igbara-Oke/ Igbara-Odo, Ibuji/ Ilawe roads, due to the deplorable nature of the road though their travel time seems to have increased 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.”
With the flag-off and assurances of completion within a stipulated period, the hopes of many had been raised while many residents and motorists plying Ondo and Ekiti States had thought the days of hardship were numbered.
HOWEVER, three months gone, nothing seems to have been done on the project. And the euphoria that greeted the flag-off appears to be fizzling out with the lull in activities of the contractors on site as reports showed that the contractors have abandoned the road.
GOING by the statement of the former Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Fashola, that he had ‘signed the advance payment guarantee request for the release of the monies to the contractors,’ we want to believe some level of funds may have been released by the immediate past administration under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari (rtd). But there seems to be no activity ongoing at the site to actually justify the monies purportedly released to the two contractors.
AS a newspaper, we take serious exception to the abandonment of the road and we ask why the funfare of flagging off during rainy season? It also stirs up questions of whether the flag-off was done in a hurry without proper preparation?
THE Hope, therefore, appeals to the present administration led by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to as a matter of urgency, revisit the project and ensure that it takes off without further delay. We encourage him to see to the completion of the project which will bring relief to the nightmares and alleviate the sufferings of residents and motorists of the two states.