Sunday Ilori asserts that Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has delivered on one his promises to the people by improving on road infrastructure in the state
One of the mission statements of Prince Dapo Abiodun, upon assumption of office on May 29, 2019, was to “improve productivity, mobility and connectivity through the provision of adequate physical road infrastructure across the state with particular emphasis on the rural areas.”
It is to his credit that he has not only lived up to this particular mission, but has also surpassed all expectations, thanks to the vision he has impacted on administering the state, especially in road construction and rehabilitation.
Days after he was sworn in as the fifth Executive Governor of Ogun State, Abiodun took a tour of the 236 wards across the state to ascertain the state of roads and what he saw was not pleasurable to him. He immediately ordered work to begin with a view to making roads across the state accessible, despite the meagre financial resources at the government’s disposal.
Cost-saving was the major planks of the Governor’s effort in this regard, hence, the signing of the Ogun State Road Maintenance Agency (OGPWA) Amendment Bill into law, which ultimately paved the way for the birth of the Ogun State Public Works Agency (OGPWA), leading to the massive road rehabilitation and construction in all the nooks and crannies of the state’s three senatorial districts.
This was a sharp departure from the past when foreign contractors were engaged in road rehabilitation and maintenance, thus, leaving room for sharp practices, aside barring provisions of employment for indigenes of the state.
The governor was unequivocal in his resolve. His commitment was also total.
“The OGPWA is today present and visible in different parts of our dear state, working round the clock to fix roads. The establishment of the OGPWA is part of our commitment to accelerate massive road rehabilitation towards enhancing job creation, poverty alleviation, food security, open up the locked areas for development and generally ease commuting and movement of goods and materials; thereby ensuring the continued infrastructure growth of our dear state’s economy,” he said.
“Opening up our rural roads, in particular, will boost agriculture and development of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. We have also identified our industrial hubs-Agbara-Atan-Ota axis, Ewekoro-Ifo axis, Sagamu-Ogijo axis-for special attentions. We are as well exploiting our proximity to Lagos and, in this regard, we have entered into some key joint initiatives with Lagos State government,” he also said.
Although the Epe/Ijebu-Ode and Sagamu/Abeokuta roads built during the administration of Gbenga Daniel are federal roads, Abiodun has, nonetheless, rehabilitated them in partnership with the Private Sector in his resolve to open up the state to ease business and movement of people.
Among the roads currently being rehabilitated are Itoikin-Ibefun-Ijebu Ode road, Iperu-Ilisan road, Sango-Ojodu Abiodun road, Ilaro-Owode road, Abeokuta-Sango-Ota-Lagos road, Osi-Ota-Awolowo-Navy-Kola road, Balogun Kuku road in Ijebu Ode.
The reconstruction of Opako Bridge in Adigbe, Abeokuta and many other township roads is ongoing, while the long-abandoned 32-kilometre Akute-Ajuwon-Alagbole road has been earmarked for construction, although it is supposed be a joint effort by the governments of both Ogun and Lagos states.
So far, Ogun State can be described fittingly as a huge ground of road construction and rehabilitation.
In the last one year, a total of 50 roads have been completed in the three senatorial districts, with two of them fitted with lights. There are also 19 ongoing road projects across the state, firmly confirming Prince Abiodun’s ‘accessibility’ principle.
Newly constructed or rehabilitated roads have also not been allowed to rot.The duo of Commissioner for Works, Engr. Ade Akinsanya, and Consultant in charge of OGPWA, Arc Gbenga Akintola, have brought their experience to bear in repositioning the agency, with its presence felt in the three senatorial districts.
For effective turn-around, the agency divided the state into six zones as follows; Ijebu-Ode, Sagamu, Abeokuta Central, Ilaro, Ifo and Ota-all managed by six regional well-tested engineers who report directly to two directors, one of who is in charge of Ijebu-Ode and Sagamu zones while the other superintends the Abeokuta Central, Ilaro, Ifo and Ota zones.
The well-tuned agency has maintenance hands that are ever-ready to respond to rehabilitation work, in addition to forming productive synergy with agencies like Traffic Road Compliance and Enforcement (TRACE), Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) and others, to avoid duplication of efforts and waste of scarce financial, human and material resources.
The synergy has produced tremendous results, a huge score for the Dapo Abiodun Administration’s innovative ideals.
OGPWA also has a feedback mechanism that ensures relevant information from the public about the deplorable state of roads in various communities across the state.
To ensure wholesome maintenance of roads in the state, OGPWA has also embarked on civic education.