By Oluwaseun Boye
Roads are the arteries through which the economy thrives.It is worthy of note that roads are the primary means of transportation through which human and vehicular access to different places. Hence, they are vital to any development agenda. By and large, various types of roads are constructed in a country to fulfil different mobility needs. For instance, motorways are constructed to provide fast and safe access between important cities. Highways are to connect two or more cities, while rural roads are majorly to provide links between farm lands and markets which are majorly in cities. Boulevards, main roads and streets are other kinds of roads to mention a few and each type has its own importance and requirements.
The importance of roads to economic development, growth and its aftermath, social benefits cannot be over-emphasised. They are of vital importance when economic growth determinants are to be tagged ABC. An American Author and Journalist, Ted Conover, once said, “Roads remain the essential network of the non-virtual world. They are the infrastructure upon which almost all other infrastructure depends. They are the paths of human endeavour”.
Ogun state has road networks that have peculiarity as they border major commercial city in Nigeria (Lagos State) and other states such as, Osun, Oyo, Ondo and an international route, like Republic of Benin.To this end, this great advantage would position the state if it engages an open-door policy to attract more commercial activities. As expected of a responsive government, required wherewithal must be put in place by working assiduously to ensure adequate utilisation of value-chain advantages through various companies, operating open-door policy that guarantees easy access to investment and industrialisation to thrive with the provisions of necessary infrastructure.
Ascending the throne of leadership of the state with a sense of responsibility to build the state into a commercial nerve centre that will become an envy of other states in the nation, Governor Dapo Abiodun in his inaugural speech, expressed dissatisfaction over the state of road infrastructure in the State, with a promise to take immediate action to fix the deplorable state. Just as Oyekunle Bamigboye, an Evangelist and Solution developer, said “Prayers don’t build good infrastructures. They don’t develop countries. They don’t improve the poor healthcare system or the education system. God has placed man in charge of “All”, Abiodun said, “In the course of electioneering, my extensive tour showed me the unsatisfactory state of our public infrastructure roads: rural and urban, water, electricity and housing leaves much to be desired and the concerns of our people in this regard, are well placed. From Ilaro to Ilara, Ajebo to Ajenbadele, Odeda to Odogbolu, Iwopin to Iwoye, Iperu to Ipokia, Sango- Ota to Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode to Ijoko, Igbesa to Igbogila, the story is the same.
“Resources appeared to have been poorly allocated as the rural areas have been totally neglected. Our promise is that our government will be fair in the allocation of infrastructure to all parts of the State.”We shall deploy several strategies and alternative financing options, such as Public Private Partnership (PPP), establishment of an Infrastructure development Bond and other initiatives in the funding and delivery of infrastructure projects across the State. In order to maximise the full benefits of government spending on infrastructure, we shall ensure adequate planning, evaluation and preparation before infrastructure projects are embarked upon.
“This will ensure that we get full multiplier effects on the economy and will enable us to deliver those projects on time and on budget. Provision of multi- modal transport infrastructure will be considered for different parts of the State and will traverse rural to urban areas, commercial centres to industrial clusters as well as connect our various towns and cities while ensuring that all critical inter-state roads are fixed and in some cases expanded to enable smooth flow of human and material resources as the Gateway State.“The Public Works Department will be resuscitated, and empowered to commence immediate rehabilitation of some of the township and rural roads” he stated.
In order to fulfil this promise to the good people of the State and as part of measures to ensure that residents enjoy focused and qualitative governance while creating an enabling environment for Public-Private Sector Partnership to thrive according to the word of Betsy Hodges, an American Politician and former Mayor that says, “As we are pursuing economic growth and economic development, we have to make sure it happens with and by and for everyone. That’s everyone gets opportunity”. Prince Dapo Abiodun has left no stone unturned to make known his commitments to the fundamental economic growth of the state and individual prosperity of the people.In his drive towards making this vision a reality, Abiodun took a bold step and revived Ogun State Public Works Agency (OGPWA), saddled with the responsibility of regular rehabilitation of roads in the 236 wards across the state.
Having taken this giant stride, he further requested for a list of critical roads that required urgent intervention across the 20 Local Government Areas in the State. Consequent upon the receipt of the list, government gave utmost attention, treated them with priority, as work began at the various locations with immediate effect, alongside government’s identified projects spread across the three Senatorial Districts of the State.The employment opportunities that come with road network is another economic advantage that the state stands to benefit from. Prince Dapo Abiodun’s administration is not only committed to opening up new road networks, most importantly, he is indirectly creating employment opportunities, by engaging professionals and artisans, there by putting food on their tables and fighting poverty.
Nevertheless, the award of the Ijebu -Ode -Epe road, with the consent of the Federal government for the take-over of the construction of the Sagamu- Ogijo-Ikorodu and the Abeokuta-Ota-Lagos roads in connection with his Lagos State counterpart are all targeted at ensuring that enduring legacies are bequeathed to the people of the State. Other roads like the Agbara- Atan-Ota, Ewekoro-Ifo, Sagamu interchange and the Ilaro-Ibeshe roads which are also in bad shape are already receiving the attention of State Public Works Agency.With the commencement of rehabilitation of rural and township roads across the three Senatorial Districts of the State, OGPWA has become ubiquitous, present and visible in different parts, working round the clock to fixing the roads earlier identified which included:Ogun West: Sango-Ota-Lagos Road; Osi-Ota-Awolowo-Navy-AIT Road. Ogun East the roads are:Itokin-Ibefun-Ijebu-Ode Road; Sagamu-Ijebu-Ode-Sapade Road; Asafa-Oke-Degun Road; Iperu-Ilisan Road; Siun-Ogere-Iperu road; Balogun Kuku Road in Ijebu-Ode; Oba Erinwole Road, Sagamu. Not leaving out Ogun Central, as it also makes its presence felt in Adigbe-Opako road; Abeokuta-Sango-Ota-Lagos roads, have all received the midas touch of the present administration amongst numerous neighbourhood rehabilitation.Presently, the State Government has commenced the reconstruction of Asafa Oke-Asafa Isale-Ayegun-Ojofa Street in Ijebu-Ode in Ogun East SenatorialDistrict. The project, when completed, would put an end to incessant flooding and bring succour to the residents of the area.
Aside this, the government is not relenting in its efforts at ensuring the completion of ongoing road projects, within the shortest possible time in order to fulfill the mandate to the people.Other roads currently receiving government’s attention through the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure include, Ijebu-Ode-Epe Expressway; Ota Owode-Idiroko, Ado-Odo/Ota LGA, Bright Fashion Baruwa Street, Sagamu, Sagamu LGA, Iberekodo General Hospital Internal Road, Abeokuta North LGA, Ikola/Navy-Osi Ota Road, Ado-Odo/Ota LG, Raypower Road, Ado-odo/Ota LG, Hospital Road, Sagamu, Sagamu LGA, State Hospital, Ilaro Internal Road Network, Yewa South, Oru-Awa-Alaporu-Ibadan, Ijebu North LG, Molipa-Fusigboye-Ojofa Street, Ijebu-Ode LG, Asafa Oke-Asafa Isale-Ayegun- Ojofa Street, Ijebu-Ode LG, Obantoko Road (FAJOL-American Junction-Unity Estate-Gbonagun) Phases I-III, Abeokuta South/Odeda LGA, Idi Aba-Elite-Oke Lantoro, Abeokuta South LGA, Ikoritameje-Adenrele/Olose Titun-Vespa, Ifo LGA, Abeokuta-Sagamu Interchange; and Oba Erinwole Dual Carriageway, Sagamu LGA.
A visit round the three Senatorial Districts of the State revealed that the joy of residents knew no bound as government’s midas touch in the area of infrastructural development has begun to have a positive impact in the life of citizens within a year.A commercial Transporter, Mr. Kamal Adedotun from Ogun West Senatorial, appreciated the efforts of the governor in his timely intervention on the Osi-Ota-Awolowo-Navy-AIT Road, saying motorists went through hell before the intervention of the government. Similarly, Alhaja Kaosarat, a resident at Elite road, was full of praises to the Governor for delivering on his electioneering promises, noting that residents of Elite now ride on expressway and get to their various locations timely without having recourse to take their vehicles for repairs which hitherto was the order of the day.
Mrs. Kehinde Ogungbe, another resident of Balogun Kuku road in Ijebu Ode who narrated the ordeal being passed through especially during rainy season which brought about incessant flooding to the area was full of excitement saying the era of sleepless nights during raining seasons are over in the area, giving kudos to the Governor for the timely intervention.With the various intervention measures carried out along both major and rural areas across the State, Ogun would not only begin to experience influx of businesses, it would also have created an ambience for residents as well as for both small and large scale enterprises that become unprecedented in the history of the State.
Oluwaseun Boye, Information Officer with the Ogun State Ministry of Information and Strategy via firstname.lastname@example.org