IN the twilight of the last administration in Oyo State under the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), a number of road projects were ongoing, but got abandoned as power was about to change hands. Besides, there were many other roads across the three senatorial districts of the state that were begging for attention as they had been ridden with potholes or were in various states of disrepair.
As the Seyi Makinde-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government was settling down for governance, the masses of Oyo State people, already harbouring high expectations, began to complain bitterly about the state of roads, particularly within the metropolis of the state capital, Ibadan, and other major towns of the state.
It is noteworthy that the first sector to attract the attention of the Makinde-led government, no doubt, is education. For this, the government has received applause from many segments of the society. But, the people would always demand action as they perceive discomfort in other sectors of the state’s economy. Obviously, this informed the cry of the people for attention on the major roads across the state.
Being the listening government that it is, the Makinde-led government has responded with unexpected swiftness to the demand to have the failing roads across the state attended to. Residents would note that men of the Oyo State Public Works Department (OYPWD) have been very busy lately. The Dugbe – Eleyele dual-carriage way which had been riddled with potholes at some portions is currently being attended to. Besides, at the Benjamin Bus Stop area of the road, where high speeding vehicles have the notoriety of skidding off the road and ramming into buildings, the government has constructed speed breakers to curb excesses of road users. The same has been done at the entrance to the headquarters of the State Police Command in Eleyele as well as the Army barracks gate at Jericho end of the road.
A resident of the Post-Service Housing Scheme of the Nigerian Army in Jericho, Yahaya Abu, was full of praise to the state government for the initiative. He noted that reckless drivers often over-speed on the road, unmindful of the junctions that dot the stretch of the road, adding that the provision of speed breakers would curb such excesses.
“What the government has done on this road is a welcome development. Some drivers speed excessively on this road. That has caused avoidable accidents on the road. There are many junctions on this road where some other vehicles would be seeking to join the highway. If you are not careful accidents will happen. So, the speed breakers will help curb such excesses. We like what the government has done about the road,” he said.
The people of Akinyele Local Government Area of the state had been complaining bitterly on the Moniya – Iseyin road, which they claimed had become utterly impassable. The Makinde-led government has now taken up the gauntlet. And the people have turned around to begin praising the government for embarking on repair of the road.
A resident of Aroro-Makinde, a suburb of the area, Yele Akintunde, said the road had, hitherto, been a nightmare to residents of the area. But he added that now, they are heaving a sigh of relief, as appreciable works have been done on it.
“Travelling on the road had been hellish. We cried out for months on end. But we thank the government of the day for rising up to the occasion. We are grateful for the attention the road is getting now,” he said.
Also, the Queen Elizabeth – Secretariat road has got the attention of the government. The road had been dotted with failed portions along its stretch causing discomfort for road users. Right now, it is smooth drive all the way.
Contractors handling the Alaro bridge section of the Sango – Eleyele road, who had abandoned work in the twilight of the last administration, have remobilised to site. The slow pace of work on the bridge had constituted headache to motorists on the road, causing unnecessary traffic gridlock on the stretch. It is hopeful that very soon, the job would be completed.
The Old Ife road is also not an exception. The road had been impassable for years. But it is understood that the out-gone administration awarded its reconstruction. However, like as the case with most other contracts, it was abandoned in the twilight of the last government’s tenure. As a result, road users in the area cry out on radio and television almost on a daily basis, complaining about the discomfort they experienced using it.
Now, the Makinde-led government has ensured that work has recommenced on the road.
Seyi Akinwumi lives at Onipepeye, along Old Ife Road. He explained that the days and months the road was impassable were the worst of the residents lives.
“It was even worse when the rainy season began. It was hellish. But after we cried out, the government has lived up to expectations. The last government gave out the contract for the road repair. But the work was very slow. At a time, it was totally abandoned. But the new government has resumed work on it. We are glad about that.
The same scenario played out on the Gate – Testing Ground – Iwo road. Work has since recommenced on that road.
In Ogbomoso, the current government in Oyo State has also taken up the gauntlet to repair the deplorable Oyo – Ogbomoso road. Work is currently ongoing on the road. However, the people of the area are asking for attention on other major roads in the area, such as the Iwo –Ogbomoso road, among others. But the government has assured that one after the other, the other roads would be attended to.
A commercial bus driver, Musiliu Lamidi, said the state of the Oyo – Ogbomoso road had been a source of worry for drivers, adding that when work began on the repair of the road, it was a welcomed relief. He, however, could not say if the work was handled by the Federal Government or the Makinde-led government in the state.
Speaking in Yoruba, Lamidi lamented that the experience of drivers on the road in the last few years had been traumatic, expressing gratitude to the current government for paying attention to its reconstruction.
“It used to be a journey of about one hour 30 minutes, but when the road became impassable, you could spend three to four hours travelling between Oyo and Ogbomoso. It is a happy thing that government is doing the road now. The development will assists us in our job. You couldn’t go more than one or two trips in a day before. Now, things will get better and accidents will reduce. Most of the time, the bad portions of the road cause articulated vehicles (trailers) to breakdown, causing heavy traffic gridlock,” Lamidi said.
He added that the current government, it appeared to him, would not allow the excuse of the rainy season to deter it in fixing bad roads.
“To me, it is like this government will not allow the excuse of rainy season to stop it from working on our bad roads. It has always been the excuse. But rain or no rain, the government seems to be listening to our demands on road construction,” he added.
The Oyo State Road Maintenance Agency (OYSROMA), under the leadership of Honourable Kamil Akinlabi, has also given assurance to the people of the state over rehabilitation of dilapidated roads. Governor Makinde recently appointed Akinlabi as the chairman of the agency.
Akinlabi had disclosed during the week that “Governor Seyi Makinde has the interest of the common people of this state in mind, hence, the need to start the rehabilitation of the roads, while we also maintain those in fairly good conditions, so that they will not degenerate. We are, therefore, using this occasion to declare zero tolerance for potholes in all areas of the state.
“We promise our people to expect work in earnest wherever they are in the state. This government will not spare anything to make life comfortable for the residents of the state and good roads are related to other areas of government inputs like health, agriculture, lands and housing and even education.”
In the same vein, the government announced that it is in partnership with the Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP) and reeled out palliative measures aimed at ameliorating the risks associated with flooding occasioned by overflow from streams and rivers in the state.
Commissioner for Environment, Kehinde Ayoola, who spoke at one of the sites affected by flood around Aba Eleshin Bridge at Jakanta road in Apata, Ido Local Government Area of the state recently, said government was committed towards addressing flooding and other environmental challenges confronting the state.
He said the state government was ready to begin constructing of bridges and clearing drainages.
“Government will soon start the construction of the bridge here to safeguard lives of the people. This is on the part of government; people also must change their attitude towards their environment. To this end, every household is expected to have a drum that would contain their wastes and engage the waste management authority for proper collection of their wastes.
“These measures are not only targeted at the present season, but also for the future, so as to cut the cost incurred on emergency services during disasters caused by flooding as well as to safeguard the lives of the people,” he said.
As residents have testified to activities of government ongoing on roads across the state, it is expected that the state government will not rest on its oars until the suffering of road users is completely eliminated.
- Gbadamosi writes via email@example.com