Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, was yesterday joined by his Kwara State counterpart, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, to flag off the construction of the 76.67 kilometres Ogbomoso-Fapote-Iseyin road, saying the project is of economic importance to both Oyo and Kwara states.
The project connects Ogbomoso, which is less than 30 minutes from Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, to Iseyin, a city in Oke Ogun zone of Oyo State, which also shares a boundary with Kwara.
Governor AbdulRazaq, while speaking at the ceremony, which had in attendance a former Military Administrator of Oyo and Ogun states, Major-General Oladayo Popoola, member representing Iseyin/Kajola/Itesiwaju/Iwajowa Federal Constituency, Hon. Shina Peller, top government functionaries of the Oyo State government and leading traditional rulers in Ogbomoso zone, lauded Makinde for thinking outside the box, stating that the project is an economic road and a greenfield project that would impact the economy of Oyo State and also be of benefit to Kwara State.
He said travellers from Northern Nigeria, including Kwara, will have an easier access to Oyo and even Ogun states.
He commended Makinde for creating huge economic values along the axis, saying that the project, like many other road infrastructure projects undertaken by Governor Makinde, were for posterity.
He said: “I congratulate Your Excellency for this important road project. This road seeks to connect Ogbomoso to Iseyin and that will bring comfort to and reduce travel time for people who want to travel further South to Abeokuta.
“Similarly, it represents a shortcut for those coming from Northern Nigeria, including Kwara, who are travelling to Iseyin or headed to Igboora or Abeokuta. In all of these, you are creating huge economic values along this axis. You are also saving lives because the ever-busy Oyo/Ogbomoso road will be decongested.
“So, I commend the many efforts of Your Excellency in this regard. These are projects for posterity, which I think build on some laudable steps of your great predecessors. History will not forget.
“As your neighbours, Kwara will always collaborate with Your Excellency on all fronts to improve the lives of our people.
“I urge that our bipartisan efforts to jointly secure our border towns and make them safe for socioeconomic development should continue.”
Governor Makinde, on his part, said the road has vital economic importance to both Oyo and Kwara states, as it would facilitate trades between the two states and ensure easy movement of agricultural produce.
He added that the road will also ensure easy commuting between the main campus of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, and the Faculty established in Iseyin by his administration, stating that the project is a proof of his administration’s reliance on data and logic to build infrastructure that targets the economy.
The governor stated that the logic behind the decision of the state government to construct the 76.67 kilometres road lies in fact that it would facilitate both intra-city and inter-state movements.
He equally restated the commitment of his administration to develop all zones of Oyo State, noting that the government would continue to construct roads in its drive to engineer a modern Oyo State.
He declared that upon completion, the project would be named after the late former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, in recognition of his contributions to the growth and development of Oyo State.
Makinde said: “We are here today to flag-off the 76.67km Ogbomoso-Fapote-Iseyin Road but we are flagging it off here in Ogbomoso. It is connecting two major towns in Oyo State. And before I go on with my remarks, let me stop and say a big thank you to my brother, the Executive Governor of Kwara State, His Excellency AbdulRasaq AbdulRahman.
“We are very happy that you could join us here today, especially as our next-door neighbour, irrespective of politics.
“Many people may not know but Oyo State shares a boundary with Kwara State here at Ogbomoso. So, this road is of vital economic importance to both states. When it comes to the facilitation of trade between the two states and the movement of agricultural produce, our farmers and other investors will be able to go from Iseyin all the way to Kwara through this route.
“Also, the road will facilitate easy commutes between the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) campuses in Ogbomoso and Iseyin. “As we always say, every project we embark on here in Oyo State, we have data and logic behind it and it will target our economy.
“Recently, somebody said this road is of no economic importance but I just need to say categorically that the person needs to go back to school.
“So, for those asking, this is the logic behind this road construction; we are facilitating both intra-city and inter-state movements. It bears repeating that where roads go, development follows. And so, in our quest to continue in the work of engineering a modern Oyo State, we will continue executing road projects.
“Some critics have come out to say we should focus on one section of the state and ensure it is developed. “That is not the route to go, because it is not the path to sustainable development. Sustainable development will come only when you have all-round development across the length and breadth of Oyo State. As I have said in the past, we do not want to recreate the problem with Nigeria in Oyo State.
“Today, we are talking about restructuring as the way forward for Nigeria because people in one section of the country believe that they are the ones creating all the wealth that people from the other sections are benefiting from.
“So, here in Oyo State, we have chosen that we will develop all the zones in the state and the best way to do this is by creating an effective road network. In this way, we are leveraging our comparative advantage in agriculture.
“Of what good is it that our farmers are producing but they cannot move their produce to the market or that they have access to just local markets where only people from the same vicinity can buy, whereas they can get paid more when they are able to easily travel to larger markets not just within the state but also outside it?
“Everybody here knows about Ogbomoso Mango and we are in the season now, right? So, the farmers here will get more if those mangoes can easily travel to all parts of the South-West, for instance.
“Of course, this is our view of expanding the economy through an efficient road network.
“Well, some people may not understand this but those who do not, write it down, they are still coming to ask you to vote for them. They are the ones who do not have the interests of the people at heart. They are the ones who will ask us to develop only one section. Well, we will develop everywhere in Oyo State.
“We will continue to fulfil the mandate given to us by the people. We will not relent in all our efforts to move Oyo State to prosperity, as we focus on protecting the interests of the good people of our dear state.”
The Oyo State Commissioner for Works, Public Infrastructure and Transport, Prof. Dahud Sangodoyin, said the Iseyin-Ogbomoso road will complete “another triangle between the newly completed Ibadan – Moniya – Iseyin Road the on-going reconstruction of Oyo-Iseyin Road and the on-going Federal A1 Oyo-Ogbomoso Road Project.”
He said the need for the construction of the road was borne out of Governor Makinde’s commitment to improve socio-economic activities of the citizenry, stating that for timely delivery of the project, which has been stipulated for 13 months, the project was split into two concurrent lots and awarded to M/S Kopek Construction Limited and M/S Craneburg Construction Company Limited.
Similarly, the member representing Iseyin/Kajola/Itesiwaju/Iwajowa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Peller, described Makinde as a performing governor, stating he was at the event to appreciate the governor on behalf of the people of Iseyin and Ogbomoso, where he had his first and second degrees.
According to him, Nigeria is at a turning point where religion, politics and ethnicity must not be placed above public interest.
Peller said: “I know a lot of people would be surprised to see me here and the truth is, in life, as human beings, we must not be blinded to good things.
“Engineer Seyi Makinde is not the governor of PDP members in Oyo State but the governor of every indigene of Oyo State including myself.
“So, I am here today on behalf of the people of Iseyin and the people of Ogbomoso to say a big thank you to a performing Governor, Governor Seyi Makinde for all the good works that he has been doing.
“Our Governor started with Moniya-Iseyin road, which from Iseyin, has been so helpful to our people including myself. “There is Oyo to Iseyin and now again, we have Iseyin to Ogbomoso. So, Your Excellency, thank you.”
Other speakers, including the Onpetu of Ijeru, Oba Sunday Oyediran, former Chief of Staff to Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, Dr. Saka Balogun and Major-General Popoola, lauded Makinde for the development of the state.
Oba Oyediran equally praised Makinde for his effort to secure the state, including the recent procurement and distribution of 100 pick-up vehicles for Amotekun.