Amid Fiscal Crisis, Makinde Commences Construction of Four Bus Terminals

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SEYI MAKINDE

. Pledges to restore Ibadan’s lost glory as regional hub
. Empowers 30,000 farmers to boost food security
Kemi Olaitan

Amid looming fiscal crisis that has stalled capital project execution in most states of the federation, Oyo State Governor, Mr. Oluseyi Makinde has begun construction of four multibillion bus terminals in Ibadan to revolutionise the state’s public transport.

Makinde has also kicked off execution of over 12 strategic road projects across the state with the plan to open up the state’s economy for business and investments.

He unveiled the new projects in a new document, titled ‘GSM Infrastructure Revolution Begins’ which he released on his first anniversary outlining his scorecards sector by sector while also mapping out priority for the next three years.

With different projects and programmes identified in the document, Makinde said he was on a mission to restore the glory of the state as the political capital of the Southwest before he completes his first term.

Until the regional system was dismantled in 1967 with the creation of 12 states, Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, was the seat of political power for the Western Region that witnessed unprecedented transformation in the First Republic, mainly during the administration of Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

Since its creation in 1976, Oyo State, indeed Ibadan, has been a shadow of itself noted for its inefficient public transport system, overstretched public infrastructure, poor culture of waste management and weak traffic regulation and enforcement regimes, among others.

With these grim realities, Makinde came up with GSM Infrastructure Revolution, a policy document that mapped out programmes and projects his administration had already initiated to make Oyo State a choice destination for investments and a true centre of commerce.

Makinde, in his foreword, said the last one year of his administration rehabilitating schools, repositioning public healthcare facilities, maintaining deplorable roads under zero pothole programme and strengthening the broadcasting services through acquisition and upgrading of equipment.

Under the light-up project, he said the state government had lit up roads, palaces, neighborhoods and markets with a view to ensure safety of lives and ease of moving around apart from patrol vehicles procured for security agencies to make security architecture stronger.

In addition to strengthening the state’s public order and safety, Makinde placed premium on the right of every child to receive quality education, a reason he had made public education entirely free; rehabilitated 22 public schools statewide and provided 22,800 school furniture sets.

He explained the significance of clean green initiative designed “to change people’s mindset and make environment pleasant for all and boost public health. Physical well-being is related to community wealth. It is not surprising that community health is tied to how we manage wastes.”

With these achievements in the last one year, Makinde therefore sought public support for the next phase with plan to execute iconic projects “never seen before in the history of our state under my infrastructure revolution initiative. It is the promise I made, it is the promise I shall fulfill.”

Makinde said he had started implementing an intelligent transport system entailing the construction of two ultra-modern bus terminal in Iwo Road, one in Challenge and another bus terminus in Ojoo carefully designed to serve those commuting within Ibadan, a metropolis of over three million people.

As part of his aggressive transport infrastructure development, the governor said his administration had concluded plan to construct Airport-Ajia-New Ife expressway, Apete-Awotan road, Akufo road; Saki-Ogboro-Igboho road, Takie-FGGC road, Ogbomoso; Isaba-Ogundoyin road, Eruwa; Gedu-Oroki-Sabo-Aspia road, Akingbile-Lagbeja-Ajibode road and Idiape-Iwo road to Lagos highway, among others.

While acknowledging the growing population of Ibadan, about 60 percent of the people living in the state, Makinde said he had resolved to create new town housing development schemes in the state capital and eased procedures for processing certificate of occupancy within 60 days.

Already, he disclosed that his administration “has created Ajoda New Town Housing Development, a 340-unit medium low-cost houses. Also, in order to reduce the growing deficit in housing and boost the state’s real estate economy, our government has embarked on a massive housing program to meet the need of the growing urban dwellers.

“With over 70 percent of the people living in the city and Ibadan being a major political, economic and commercial centre in the Southwest, Nigeria. Government must ensure that inhabitants and visitors alike enjoy living and touring the city of Ibadan,” the governor said.

He, thus, explained the advantage of housing program structured to position the state for the emerging real estate boom, resulting from the possible migration of urban settlers who will be induced by the completion of the new railway double gauge track linking Ibadan, Abeokuta with Lagos.

With the completion of the railway project, Makinde observed that a good number of people “will relocate to the Ibadan axis in search of affordable housing since the travel time between Ibadan and Lagos will be halved with the introduction of fast trains. For many, working in Lagos and living in Ibadan would be an age long dream come true.”

He defined his plan for urban renewal around the concept of smart cities, a program that could no longer wait to happen to make major cities in the state centres of attraction for admirers, tourists and visitors alike.

“Ibadan over the decades has been the darling of visitors and admirers who are drawn to her because of her rich repertoire in Nigeria’s modern history, also for her position in the cerebral comity and her strong traditional and historical influence on her geopolitical location. But like a giant without defenses she has been left bruised and bleeding.”

He explained the nexus between the infrastructure revolution initiative and his investment drive, noting that the plan to make the state a natural choice for investors was at his aggression for executing strategic infrastructure projects in different parts of the state.

He supported this claim with the plan to create another central business district (CBD) along the Moniya-Lagos-Ibadan Railway Station/Dry Port Site in addition to Dugbe Central Business District, which he said, was currently undergoing renewal.

Apart from creating another central business district, Makinde disclosed that he had already created a vista for private participation, which he said, had birthed the agreement to reactivate Pacesetter Asphalt & Quarry Limited and bring life to Bodija Recreation Centre through concession agreement.

He explained how his administration has revolutionised the state’s agricultural sector by revamping Akufo and Eruwa Farm Settlements, thereby empowering over 30,000 farmers with the mandate to make the state a centre of food production and help it achieve its food security objectives.

He said his administration “has accelerated agriculture and is seeking greater possibility of bringing more into the SME funding net. With its antecedent as an agrarian society, Oyo State will benefit immensely from the government’s scheme to help the farmers increase their productivity.”

Makinde highlighted different programmes his administration had introduced “to reduce the cost of cultivation in the state. This will enhance productivity and ensure higher returns to the farmers. Boost in agricultural productivity will induce multiplier effect and help alleviate poverty.

“Since agriculture traditionally employs the greatest portion of the population, many will be pulled out of unemployment net. As farms become more productive, the wages earned by those who work in agriculture will increase. Agriculture would again occupy her pride of place as a major precursor to economic prosperity,” the governor explained.

He explained how he established N1billion fund for boosting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) at the height of COVID-19 battle, noting that tailors benefited from this fund to produce face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical practitioners as parts of COVID-19 preventive measures.

The governor, thus, pointed out the impact of the fund, noting that it had helped “tackle some socio-economic forces among the artisans and traders. The forces include poverty, either of the mind or material. It may be difficult to eradicate poverty in its different forms.

However, according to him, the government can contribute its quota to alleviate this perennial challenge by providing practical assistance, first by identifying individuals who are hungry for a lift, to energise their pet dreams. This explains the idea behind the N1billion for small businesses.”