Hakeem Gbadamosi writes on the strides of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on improving road infrastructure in the state and the long abandoned roads of the Ondo North senatorial district.
One of the mission statements of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state on his assumption of office on February 24, 2016, was to give attention to the socio-economic development of the state, especially road infrastructure across the state with particular emphasis on rural areas.
Akeredolu who expressed disappointment over the deplorable state of amenities within the state (school buildings, public hospitals and water plants) vowed to bridge these infrastructure gaps in order to accelerate the socio-economic development vision of his government.
For many, the present administration did not pay lip service to this but seems to have surpassed previous governments before him in the area of road construction, opening, redesigning and reconstructing old and new roads across the three senatorial districts in the state.
The people and residents of Ondo North senatorial district, recently heaved a sigh of relief as the Akeredolu-led administration shifted the state’s attention on the rehabilitation work of some abandoned roads in the area.
A number of roads were reconstructed within towns and villages across the district which consists of six local government areas in the state. Many of the roads had been abandoned years after the administration of the former governor of the state, Adebayo Adefarati who ruled between 1999 and 2003.
Some of the roads regarded as gateway to the northern region of the country had been abandoned due to bad state of the roads, resulting in the under development of the area. The roads in the district become instrumental for criminals as they attacked motorists.
Apart from fear created by these criminal elements, such as kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery among others, the state of the road also adversely affected the socio-economic activities of the communities in these area.
This might be one of the things that caught the attention of Governor Akeredolu who during his electioneering campaign for his second term in office, pledged to reconstruct the 16.2km Akunnu-Ikaram-Oke-Agbe road after 18 years of neglect. Speaking during a monitoring tour of the projects in Akunnu/Ikaram/Oke-Agbe axis, the people of the area commended Akeredolu for fulfilling his promise and bringing life to the communities, while the activities of the criminal elements had reportedly reduced to the barest minimum.
A youth leader from Ikaram-Akoko in Akoko North West Local Government, Samuel Adeyemo, explained that the road had been deserted before the intervention of Akeredolu, saying the communities along the highways had been cut off from the state.
According to him, “Our joy knew no bound as the governor has proved to us that he is a man of his word. We saw his promise to reconstruct the road as another political statement to attract votes during election but he proved us all wrong. But to the surprise of many, the road is now being done and this is one of the dividends of democracy you can give to the people. With this road and constant electricity, nobody will be running to government to demand anything.”
Another resident of the community, Musina Omotosho said that before the intervention of the present administration on the road, businesses had been at the lowest ebb as motorists preferred to pass through Ekiti State due to the bad state of the road.
While commending Akeredolu for fulfilling his electoral promise on the road, the traditional ruler of one of the towns, the Akala of Ikaram-Akoko, Oba Andrew Momodu disclosed that the people had started reaping the dividends of democracy through the rehabilitation of the road.
“We want to commend the governor and to tell him to continue with the zeal he has been working particularly in the face of dwindling revenue,” he said.
Also, the Oba/Afo/Idoani road which had been neglected for years has been given a new facelift with the reconstruction of the 20 kilometer road. Just like the Akunnu/Ikaram/Oke-Agbe road, the last time the Oba/Afo/Idoani received attention was some 18 years ago and the area was regarded as haven for kidnappers.
Speaking on the rehabilitation of the two roads, the state commissioner for works, lands and infrastructure, Raimi Aminu, said the construction became necessary to bring life to the communities in the area, to revive the socio-economic activities of the people of the communities and to ensure security of lives and property.
Speaking on the Oba Akoko /Idoani road, the commissioner said “This road is Oba/Afo/Idoani axis road, totalling 20 kilometres. The phase one of the project is 10 kilometre because it is divided into two segments. That is the practice of this government.”
The contractor handling the project, Edgard Barakat, said “As regards the quality of the project, engineers from the Ministry of Works are always with us to monitor the asphalt laying. They are making sure that the temperature is correct. They are also monitoring the mixing at our quarry which is very close to the site here. We are working within our best to deliver between one or two months but I hope that we will deliver within one month.”
Similarly, the Project Consultant, Engr Kasali Adebayo Shittu explained that the contractor is currently working on the pavement, adding that the pavement consists of sub-base and stone-base.
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