Hammed Shittu writes that Kwara State governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has embarked on road construction across the state as part of moves to boost the stateâ€™s transportation sector
Transportation system has remained one of the sectors of the economy that determines the socio economic development of the society. It has become a sector that touches the lives of the governed and this is reason every level of government be it local, state and federal always strives harder to ensure that the sector is developed so as to bring new lease of life to the populace. This sector comprises various strata like road, rail, water, and air and each has its role in advancing the economy of the country.
It is on this premise that, the present administration in Kwara State under governor Abdulfatah Ahmed has taken it as a priority to embark on the road construction across the three senatorial districts of the state as part of a move to boost the transportation sector of the stateâ€™s economy. Apart from the fact that, the development would ease the movement of residents of the state especially in the reduction of traffic jam along the major places across the state, it would also open up rural areas so that farm produce from the farmers can be transported to the nearby markets for sale.
In achieving this giant stride, the administration put up various road projects across the three senatorial districts of the state and backed up with a zeal to ensure its full completion as a way to bring more dividends of democracy to the doorsteps of the populace especially to the rural communities in the state. This, the administration believes would reduce rural and urban migration, it would also create a platform to boost the stateâ€™s economic growth as the farmers that have access to bring their farm produce to the markets would get more money to pay their various taxes and other social responsibility required of them and this will transform the state into economic prosperity.
Although, the roads infrastructure is capital intensive, moreso, the dwindling federal allocations have continued to take a toll on the 36 states of the federation, but the administration decided to look out for another window so as to meet its financial obligations to those that may be given the roads contracts in order to ensure its completion and not to make the roads projects abandoned ones.
Hence, the window of the state infrastructure projects policy tagged â€˜IF-Kâ€™ was used. Through this window certain percentage of funds realised from the state internal revenue service are taken into this window every month and thereby helping the administration to have enough funds to pursue all the road projects across the three senatorial districts of the state.
This development has assisted the administration to pay all the contractors handling road projects and by doing this, contractors have not been owed any kobo and the work is really moving on at all the roads projects awarded to various roads contractors in the various locations of the state.
It will be noted further that, this IF-K window being used by the administration is financed through an initial N5b seed fund, and a N500 million monthly contribution from the stateâ€™s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).
The Development Fund is being managed by a reputable investment company, â€˜Investment Oneâ€™, as a way of insulating the funds from political control and also to ensure accountability.
Under IF-K, contractors are paid by the state government on a quarterly basis. The implication is that contractors do not have to be mobilised before they commence projects since they are guaranteed payment at different milestones of the project, thereby giving no room for abandoned projects.
Since its establishment, the state government has released over N7 billion to contractors handling various road projects across the state. The government recently released another sum of N862, 605, 337.94 to contractors handling various ongoing infrastructural projects across the state.
The ongoing construction of Geri-Alimi split diamond underpass, the ongoing construction of KWASU campuses in Ekiti and Ilesha-Baruba, KWASU Post-Graduate School in Ilorin, ongoing dualisation of UITH – Sango Road and the Light Up Kwara Project (LUK).
Other projects scheduled for implementation under IF-K include a new state secretariat for civil servants, renovation of indoor sports hall of the Kwara State Stadium among others.
However, in order to ascertain the level of work across the road projects currently being handled by the various contractors, the state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Aro Yahaya, embarked on inspection visits to all the ongoing roads projects.
Speaking with journalists after the tour, Yahaya threatened to terminate any road projects being handled by contractors on the various ongoing road contracts in parts of the state that fails to work in line with the approved specification of the projects.
This, the government believe would go a long wayi n delivering dividends of democracy to the doorsteps of the rural populace and thereby opening up both intra and inter roads that would boost the socio economic development of the state.
Some of the ongoing road projects inspected include Chapel-Oke Odo-bubu Link Road, aimed at decongesting Tanke, University Road, Pipeline and Awolowo, Offa Garage, and Tipper Garage roads.
Others are completed 5km Offa- Irra rural road, 8 km Erin Ile-Elemona- Court road in Oyun Local Government Area, Ipe township and Ogbondoroko township roads.
He said that, the tea party was gone and that government was accountable to tax payers in the state.
The commissioner, who complained of slow pace of work done by some contractors despite assurances by government that they would be paid on completion of work under IF-K model, encouraged them to speed up work and improve on performance to access available fund being provided under the arrangement.
He summoned some contractors who had abandoned their sites to his office, threatening to take some others to public opinion poll noting that, â€œThere should not be sentiment here. This is public fund. This is a poor job at Ogbondoroko Township Road.â€
He also charged contractors on right application of asphalt materials on the road projects, saying that the government would not compromise on standards.
Yahaya added, â€œWe have told Kwarans that all our ongoing projects under IF-K are going to be completed before the end of this administration. No project would be left uncompleted because we’ve made provision for it under our IF-K model of payment module. We are giving people what they’ve requested for.
â€œWe are also doing the rural roads so that our people would have benefits of democracy and we know that this governor is people’s governor. That’s why their mandate is very important to us. We would do our best under the platform of transparency and accountability so that at the end of the day, everyone would be happy and enjoy good governance,â€ he explained.
On Offa roads, the commissioner said that the major road passing through Offa is federal government road.
He said that he had contacted the state controller of FERMA who had said that the road would be done in two weeks, pointing out that, â€œThe first intervention from Ajase-Ipo to Ijagbo was done and stopped at Ijagbo. They jumped to Erin Ile. So he had promised that the Offa federal road that was left undone would be attended to soonest. The state government would do the Offa township roads.â€
One of the residents, Prince Abdulfatah Olanrewaju Lakatabu in Oyun LGA commended the state government on the rural road being embarked upon and completed for the benefits of the residents as it will enhance the transportation of their farm produce from farms to the hinterlands.
He said, â€œWe want the government to extend the Offa -Irra Road from Inaja-Alaro where it ended for now to Oyo State boundary at Ogbomoso which is about 4 kilometres away. And the areas here are where we have high population of farmers that bring their produce to the town.
With this giant stride of the administration in the state in the area of improving the road transport system, there is no doubt that, there will be an improvement in the capital income of the residents and this would assist them to contribute their quota towards the socio economic development of the state. Also, there will be a great reduction in the traffic jam and there will be a great reduction in rural-urban migration and the people at the grassroots would be able to settle down for economic activities that would move their socio well-being forward.