By Ajoke Adeseewo
Iwo road is the heart of Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State. Coming from Lagos, coursing through the town to, say, Abuja, you must pass through
this expansive terminus. It is the gateway to the state.
But in recent days, Iwo road has become a metaphor for hypocrisy. Even before the advent of the government of High Chief Rashidi Ladoja as governor of the state, there had been talks about Ibadan circular road. Iwo road was supposed to be an integral part of the project.
Successive governments played up the project, but not all the desirable was achieved. It is expected that a project of such magnitude might not be started and completed by a single administration. But the task of building a state is a continuum. No one government is expected to achieve the making of a state in its tenure.
This is where the seeming antagonism towards the Seyi Makinde-led government in the state over the plan to redo the Iwo road interchange is perceived as a disservice to Oyo State. In the twilight of the
immediate-past government in the state, Iwo road and the major roads linking it have become a nightmare to residents of the areas and road
users. It had become pertinent for the government to find a lasting solution to the gridlock and general menace the areas have constituted.
One government would have come and take the bull by the horn. It so happened that it is the Makinde-led government. The government had given its word that the loan it was taking would be expended on infrastructures. Even then, the state House of Assembly only approved the loan request; it has not been confirmed that the loan has been secured.
If not for political philandering, why would the opposition jump the gun and begin to spew opprobrium on the government over the government plan’s on redoing the Iwo road interchange?
The Makinde government has been very explicit on its plan on the all-important project. The state’s Commissioner for Public Works and Transport,
Professor Raphael Afonja, said the completion of the Iwo road interchange would usher in an era of economic prosperity for the state.
This cannot be so much faulted. Iwo road is the gateway to Ibadan. It is also important to one of the major roads in Nigeria and the West African sub-region, the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, in terms of trade and economy. It is about the busiest in the West African sub-region, and it connects the rest of Nigeria to the nation’s economic capital, Lagos.
Speaking during the week in his office while reacting to questions on road construction and rehabilitation in the state, Afonja said Governor Makinde’s vision was to bring economic development to the state, adding that the project was another effort at attracting new investors to establish more businesses in the state.
“We believe this project will attract new investors from Nigeria and beyond to do business and we have to create an environment for them to
thrive with resources to support them. We understand that the road is a gateway to the state and gridlock is not a good sign or encouragement to incoming stakeholders. It is the major road that
links our airport to the city. It is a major road that connects the city to the other states in the country. So, it must receive attention.
“The governor is the people’s governor. He understands that he was elected by the people to serve. We are coming up with actionable ideas
to solve the problem we met on ground,” he said.
It stands logic on its head to counter the claim of the commissioner on this issue. Perhaps, successive governments had been shying away from this responsibility because of its capital intensiveness. But here comes a government that is ready to face the menace head on. Why the criticism apparently informed by political considerations?
Besides, the government has thought out the inconvenience that might be brought by embarking on the project in the months it would be carried out.
As a palliative measure, the commissioner stated that alternate roads would be opened and made more accessible to ease vehicular movement and avoid the hindrance on the way of people carrying out their daily routine.
He also spoke on the other major roads that have to do, one way or the other, with Iwo road. Reacting to a question concerning the construction of Oju-Irin to Olorunda-Aba road in Ibadan, the commissioner declared that plans were ongoing to fix the road, adding that as soon as the rain subsided, there would be top gear approach in rehabilitating the road within a short period.
If Oyo State is going to come top in infrastructure and economic development, pragmatic steps must be taken to tackle the deficiencies head long. Time of electioneering has gone. It is time for purposeful
governance. And nobody, under the guise of any political consideration, should be contemplating holding down the moving train.
This is a time for all to shed the toga of politicking and support the government of the day in the task to rebuild Oyo State. It is, at best, hypocritical to continue to criticise the Makinde-led government
for taking on what past governments had failed to do to lift the glory of the state.
As the saying goes, ota eni ki I p’odu oya (one’s enemy does not trap the biggest grass cutter). Oyo does not need this kind of politics now. Former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala is not an indigene
of Ibadan. But we know what he did on the Iwo road interchange and some other roads across the state. So also did his predecessor, Ladoja. They couldn’t finish it all. Let us allow others to do their bit. Makinde is doing this at a time the Federal Government is also focusing on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway. Even Olusegun Obasanjo, during his tenure, did not finish the mammoth project. The Iwo road project is complimentary. Don’t throw away the baby with the birth water.
Adeseewo writes from Oyo via email@example.com