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Giant strides on Infrastructural development under Gov Gboyega Oyetola in Osun

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SUNDAY KOLAWOLE

Osun State Government under Governor Gboyega Oyetola is not only carrying out infrastructural development across the state but also reaching out to the people of Osogbo, the state capital, since the governor assumed the mantle of leadership in November 2018. This is also one of the reasons Governor Oyetola has remained in the good books of the Osun people.

At the twilight of his taking over as incumbent Governor, Oyetola commissioned four projects as part of the activities marking his taking over as Governor. The commissioned projects were: Upgraded Technical College, Oba Sir Adesoji Aderemi East Bypass, Obafemi Awolowo Motorway, and Fakunle/Unity High School, all in Osogbo. Prominent among the projects is the Awolowo Motorway, which is the dualization of 40kilometre Osogbo–Ikirun–Ila Odo- Kwara State Boundary. The road construction projects created over 5,000 direct jobs in the state and 12,000 indirect jobs for welders, plumbers, and bricklayers, as well as food vendors.

Though quite a number of projects are being undertaken by Governor Gboyega Oyetola in the State, clearly, the flagship project of the massive investment in the upgrading of infrastructural amenities in the state in recent months, especially in Osogbo, the state capital, is the dualization of the 45-kilometer Osogbo-Ikirun-Kwara State Boundary road.

It would be recalled that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) recently approved NNPC’s request to fix 21 federal roads at N621billion. However, Southern Nigeria got a total of 228.22kilometres, while rehabilitation and expansion of Lagos-Badagry Expressway (Agbara Junction-Nigeria/Benin border) in Lagos State. 62km was equally involved.

Also involved is the 52km dualization of Ibadan-Ilorin road (Route A2) Section II in Oyo State (Oyo-Ogbomosho).

Consequently, the people of Osun State are equally urging Governor Gboyega Oyetola to make move on NNPC’s roads projects so that Osun could benefit in order to assist in the completion of Osogbo (Old-garage) to Ikirun junction road (20.5 kilometers) and Ikirun-Ila Odo- Kwara State Boundary road (16.55 kilometers).

Since the state government signed a N17.8 billion contract agreement with SAMMYA Construction Company Limited for the dualisation of the 45kilometer road, the project segmented into three: Osogbo-Dagbolu (International market) to Alamisi Market in Ikirun (9.52 kilometers); Osogbo (Old-garage) to Ikirun junction road (20.5 kilometers) and Ikirun-Ila Odo-Kwara State Boundary road (16.55 kilometers), the state government has been receiving a lot of commendations from both the people living in the state and road users using the ever-busy Osogbo-IIorin road.

In line with the assurance given by the past government, the project would be completed within 24 months, with the explanation that the project was not the usual direct contract award, but a Contractor-Financing transaction, which came out of the confidence of the contractor in the previous administration and that the money for the contract would be repaid across 36 months after the completion of the project.

Stakeholders’ comments

The contractor, SAMMYA Construction Company Limited, has not only demonstrated its capabilities in executing the project technical-wise, but it has also displayed a rather solid financial war chest that only few construction companies can boast of, thereby clearing any doubt about the success of the project. This is the submission of one Kunle Folorunsho who resides in Ota-Efun, Osogbo the state capital.

Chairman of the ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC) in the state, Prince Gboyega Famodun, who commented on the dualization of Old Garage to Kwara State boundary, said the contractor handling the project was very much on-site and doing well. According to Famodun, there were tremendous achievements and the work is getting to the outskirts of Ikirun town already. He, however, submitted that funding was the bane of its problem, saying it was affected by funds but notwithstanding; the government is still doing its best.

The APC Chairman stressed that it was a Federal Government road but the State government took over inform of collaboration, saying that the government of Gboyega Oyetola would not relent in the completion of the project.

Also, an APC stalwart, Mrs. Adeola Egbedokun, who contended that the contractor handling the project has remained committed to its speedy completion, urged the state government to make available everything needed to complete the project in the very shortest period.

Equally a civil servant, who does not want his name mentioned, said at the weekend that the contractor handling the project should be mobilized with funds for its full completion. He added that the contractor was doing a good job on site and urged the state government to urgently make adequate funding a watchword.

Commendations

About eight years down the line since work commenced on the multi-billion naira project, however, opinions of people of the state about the performance of the contractor on the job has been nearly the same, with people praising the technical know-how that has never been seen in the state before now being employed by SAMMYA in executing the project.

One Adeyi Olakunle, who spoke, said: “We are celebrating an enduring legacy, a legacy that has been through storms, insult and many other challenges.Oyetola has done what Awolowo aimed to do. The dream of Awolowo was to ensure every Nigerian is literate. All what Oyetola has been doing were in fulfilment of Awolowo’s dream. Aregbesola’s behaviour is similar to that of Awolowo. He has transformed Osun in spite of the financial and political challenges. I thank God for Oyetola’s success.”

Speaking, Prince Aderonmu Kunle, said: “Oyetola is a great man. His projects are unforgettable because they are developmental.  Oyetola is the first Nigerian politician to bring back the history and honour of the Nigerian past leaders like Oba Aderemi and Awolowo. Oyetola has laid a wonderful foundation for the progress of the state”.

Commenting on the project vis-a-viz the quality of technology being employed by SAMMYA, a trader at Igbona Market in Osogbo, Madam Sinatu Layoonu, said the contractor, SAMMYA, has proven it is capable of handling the job with the deployment of brand new machines for road construction, adding that the workers handling the project have also demonstrated a sense of dedication to the admiration of people of the state.

“Many of these machines that SAMMYA workers are using for the construction are new to many of us in Osogbo. They are not only new but are also very appropriate, at least to some of us, who have never seen such huge construction machines for the quality of work people of the state are expecting them to deliver. We are indeed very grateful to the Governor for giving such a project to a serious company like SAMMYA”, she said.

Similarly, a shop owner at Ayeitoro area of the state capital, Chuks Ezemokuai, noted that despite the rain, the uncompromising spirit of SAMMYA has ensured work progresses steadily on the project and urged Governor Gboyega Oyetola to fund the project. He added: “When the company initially commenced on the project and the contractor, SAMMYA Construction, started work on the road, I, like many others, doubted the capability of the construction firm because we were not familiar with that name. But it was not long before we were all proved wrong and SAMMYA won our hearts with the quality of machines and the expertise of its men constructing the road. Indeed, we are pleased with SAMMYA”.

Economic boost for people

Speaking on how activities of the contractor handling Osogbo-Ila-Odo-Kwara boundary road, SAMMYA, have aided businesses of petty traders especially those who have their shops close to the construction site. Mrs. Beatrice Olawoore said many petty traders have immensely benefitted from the on-going project because the construction workers have been patronising them.

She added: “Many of us petty traders have benefitted from the presence of SAMMYA’s men on this road because they buy a lot from us ranging from snacks to drinks and stuffs like that.They have aided our business very well. I believe this is part of the gains of this on-going construction work; at least if the construction is not going on here, these men will not be around here and our sales would have remained what it was”.

Similarly, answering questions on how the construction work has improved youth empowerment, one of the drivers recruited by SAMMYA from the state, Yunus Adegboyega, from Oba Ile, a town in Olorunda Local Government Area of Osun State, explained: “I got a hint that SAMMYA was employing drivers and I approached its office. That was how I got the job. The salary is very attractive and there was training for all the workers. Besides empowering us financially, SAMMYA is also exposing us to skills in our various areas that are very new to many of us. The number of youths from Osun State that have been employed into various departments and sections of the company since the work began on the road is well over 500”.

Corroborating views of other stakeholders, a construction materials supplier based in Osogbo, Francis Fadoyin, commended SAMMYA for sourcing construction materials from with in the state. Fadoyin said the business of many construction materials dealers have improved greatly since SAMMYA commenced work in the state capital. “True to the promise of the chairman of the company, when the contract was awarded the construction materials for the project are being sourced locally; the workers are actually sourcing materials from people dealing in the materials in the state. We can only hope this will be sustained and other contractors working on projects within the state will emulate SAMMYA and buy materials from people dealing in them from the state”, Fadoyin added.

Counting the Gains

While counting the gains of Osun massive investment in infrastructural development vis-a-viz the construction of Osogbo-Ila Odo-Kwara boundary road, a labour leader in the state, Comrade Kazeem Oladepo, challenged the administrators in the country to borrow a leaf, not only from the model adopted to finance the project, but also the sheer dedication to duties which, he said, the contractor has shown in making sure that the work is done to specifications.

Speaking further, the employee of the state Ministry of Health added that the construction of the road has demonstrated the readiness of the government to place the Osun in the league of developed states and the choice of SAMMYA, a pointer to the resolve of Oyetola administration to permanently etch his name in the minds of people in the state as a governor that lifts the state to enviable heights in terms of infrastructural development.

A resident in Ikirun, one Kolawole Ajani, commended both the state government and SAMMYA Construction Limited for making the project a good reference point for the development-driven administrators in the country.

For the monarch, the dream to transform the state’s infrastructural amenities as conceived by the then governor was actually being given life by the contractor handling the project, charging all those involved in the project to ensure that the same vigour with which they commenced the work is retained throughout the duration of the project.

In his own reaction, the founder of Sword of Spirit Ministry, Eweta, Pastor Israel Wemimo, said the major gain the state was recording through the ongoing Osogbo-Kwara boundary project is in the area of empowerment.He declared that those youths in Ikirun and adjoining communities, who could not be absorbed by the contracting firm handling the work at the moment, eagerly await when the contractor will shift full attention to the part of the project that traverses the community.

Similar to the view expressed by this clergyman is the one held by Chief Tadese Esuleke of Oloba Compound, Osogbo, who was of the opinion that besides giving the state a facelift, employment opportunities created through the project and the perceived readiness of the contractor, who, he said, was not planning to use and dump those employed, but in addition, empower them by giving them training in specific vocations, is simply the continuation of youth empowerment efforts of the previous government.

He said: “Many youths in the state, who could not get the opportunity in OYES are beginning to turn their attention to SAMMYA, the contractor working on Osogbo-Kwara Boundary road. Honestly, this work is assisting in mopping our streets of these hitherto idle young men. You can call it an indirect way by government and its partner, the contractor to empower young ones.”

Speaking on behalf of the students’ movement in the state, a former Osun State Chairman of the Joint Campus Committee (JCC) of National Association Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Bosede Safety, said: “People are saying youth empowerment is one of the gains recorded by the state through the project of Osogbo-Kwara Boundary road but beyond that fact, I think of the preservation of lives and properties of the people that will use that road. The rate of accidents on that road before this construction work is relatively high. Lives and properties have been lost and that will have to stop now with the expansion and reconstruction work going on.”

Also, commenting on Osogbo-Ila Odo, the Commissioner for Works and Transport, Remi Omowaye, said: “The state government had provided resources needed for the dualisation of the road to Ikirun from where the last administration stopped. So, we are not abandoning any project. Don’t forget we are three years in office. Some of these projects were awarded in 2012/2013. So, the fact that they are yet to be completed is not our fault but we ensure some things are being done. If you go there now you will see that the contractors are there”.

. Sunday Kolawole wrote in from Osogbo

 

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