Oyo: When road construction tore Makinde and opposition apart

The two main political parties in Oyo state are in hot exchanges over a road project initiated by the current administration. BAYO AGBOOLA writes that all is not well with the PDP and APC in the state at the moment.

The seemingly unending political bickering between the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) is on stage again over the planned N8billion for the reconstruction of Iwo road interchange in Ibadan, the Oyo state capital.

Governor Seyi Makinde had recently at a Jumat prayer in Adogba area of Iwo road hinted that the state government is to commit N8billion on the reconstruction of the Lagos/Ibadan expressway Iwo road interchange axis in Ibadan.

Governor Makinde said the reconstruction was part of the moves by his administration towards demonstrating its commitment to infrastructural development of the state, especially the development of the state capital so as to restore the old glory of the days when Ibadan was the capital of the Western Region. He said the idea is also to decongest the area and give the physical outlook of Ibadan a facelift, saying that it would be completed between nine and 11 months.

Apparently not comfortable with the proposed reconstruction, of the interchange, the opposition APC kicked against it saying, “It is a misplaced priority as well as an attempt to squander government resources”.

APC threw the salvo first

Oyo APC in a statement by its assistant publicity secretary, Prince Ayobami Adejumo, stressed that Governor Makinde is embarking on elephant project and a demonstration of gross incompetence.

 It said, “The good people of the pacesetter state were taken aback by the action of Governor Makinde when he chose a mosque as the place to announce the plan to do a multi-billion project.

“Without any record of presentation at the State Executive Council meeting or consideration and approval by the appropriate organs of government as required by law, the governor reeled out a contract sum for another white elephant project. The question on the lips of many people now bothers on how the cost of N8 billion was arrived at even when no picture of the proposed picture has been shown to the world. What is the scope of the reconstruction project and where are the engineering designs that culminated in the contract sum? Was there any due diligence before the cost was arrived at and when did the consultants carry out their survey of the proposed site? Where is the Bill of Quantity and when did the relevant office advertise for tender to be made?” it asked.

It stated further, “There are strong indications that the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan expressway rehabilitation project would take off the expansion of the Lagos/Iwo road Interchange while again the recently awarded rehabilitation of Ibadan-Ife Expressway project would cover the remaining portion of the axis.

“As it has become the usual practice of Governor  Makinde’s administration to put the cart before the horse, the people of the state cannot just watch while a government without any blueprint or action plan would continue to experiment after five months in office. So far, the only achievement of the current administration is the rebranded exercise books distributed recently with pomp and ceremony.”

According to the party, “It would have been better to follow up on the exercise books distribution with the provision of pieces of furniture and release of running grants for the use in public primary and secondary schools across the state. Rather the state government embarked on loan bazaar as it awarded some supply contracts without anything to show for the billions of naira being spent on daily basis. As if this was not enough, Governor Makinde again took to the mass media recently to announce his plan to construct a new Gbagi Market on the popular Exhibition Ground in Sango, Ibadan at a time experts blamed the vehicular traffic challenges bedevilling the state capital on the existing market places in the heart of the city. If not sheer display of incompetence and the unbridled quest to mismanage public funds, there is no reason for this kind of desperation for contract awards by the present administration.” 

PDP returns fire 

On its part, the ruling PDP wasted no time in firing back at the APC via a statement, saying its attention has been drawn to a statement by the Oyo APC in which it criticised the decision of the government of Engineer Makinde to reconstruct the Iwo road interchange with the sum of N8billion

PDP berated APC over its stand on the project adding that the gesture amounts to utter disregard for the state’s economy which has been bleeding as a result of loss of several man-hours due to traffic congestion at the interchange.

“Our immediate response to the show of shame by the APC, whose governor, Abiola Ajimobi spent eight years romancing the Iwo road problem was to show pity and educate them on the forward-looking approach already adopted by Governor Makinde in solving the problem of that Interchange. Let us place it on record that Iwo road is not just a segment of a road located within the Oyo state capital; it is an interchange that has become the melting point of all travellers within Nigeria as it brings those coming from the north face to face with travellers across the South-west, South-south and South-east as well,” it said.

It said further, “The criticisms by the APC show clear indication of the disregard shown to that road by the immediate past government led by the party was sanctioned by leaders of the APC, a clear show of insensitivity to the plight of commuters who daily waste lots of man-hours trying to wade through the sea of traffic around the interchange. We do not know when APC elements became the record keepers of the Oyo State Executive Council such that they know which contract has been debated, approved or tabled.

 “We as the ruling party have made necessary checks and discovered that Governor Seyi Makinde is not only on point with the decision to reconstruct Iwo road; he has also shown his humane character by choosing to directly explain the developmental objectives to the people. It would shock the APC to note that the people who worship at Adogba Mosque and others who would be affected by the demolition exercise have gladly adopted the governor’s decision following the interface. We are reassured by the fact that contrary to the profligate, mindless and clueless administration foisted on Oyo state by the APC in the last eight years which could not proffer a single problem to the challenge of Iwo road, the government of PDP has, in less than five months, designed and started implementing a holistic solution to the perennial Iwo road traffic problem.

“We can only commend Engineer Makinde and ask him to ignore the rantings of the APC which is likened to the noise of an imbecile signifying nothing.”

Governor Makinde at an inspection of projects in Ibadan last week broke his silence on the APC criticism, saying it is now glaring that the immediate past administration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi was just allegedly fooling the people of Oyo state with ‘bogus projects and contracts’ to the detriment of the masses and that the administration succeeded in putting in lots of resources in projects and ended up abandoning the same even after some bogus commissioning exercise.

Governor Makinde alleged that the administration attempted to fool the people with bogus contracts and projects to the detriment of the people by allegedly moving equipment from Jericho Specialist Hospital to another centre in Olodo to stage a commissioning exercise, thereby leaving the Jericho facility empty.

“You have all seen the situation out there; it is almost like wasting the resources of the state. The state has put in lots of resources but has not been able to get any value for the citizens. For me, the facility at the Jericho Hospital’s new site is at 80 per cent completion, but it is already falling apart. So, it has to be occupied. “They took all the equipment from there to do a ceremonial commissioning at Olodo. I believe you can fool some people some of the time but it is difficult to fool all of the people all the time. So, we will go back and relocate the Jericho Specialist Hospital and that would be taken as an emergency because it has to happen between now and the end of the year. This facility, for instance, is going to be finished up and, by then, we would take the movement of the people from Jericho Specialist to this place as an emergency. Our target is to complete the project before the end of this year.”

Amidst the raging verbal outbursts, political observers and relevant stakeholders in the state are however anxiously looking ahead to better days as promised by Engineer Makinde within the shortest possible time.

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