It was a great relief on Monday, May 21, 2018, when the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, Senator Gbenga Ashafa and Member, Federal House of Representatives, Hon. Babajimi Benson , led other dignitaries to flag-off the reconstruction of 30.4km Ikorodu – Sagamu road.
After about two decades of persistent neglect by successive federal governments led by the People Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) Federal Government (FG), led by President Muhammadu Buhari, at its Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday, March 29, 2018, awarded the contract for the full rehabilitation of the strategic road, which passes through Odogunyan – Ogijo – Likosi -Mosimi – Sotubo before terminating at Shagamu in Ogun State, at the cost of N20,845,338,248.20 to Messrs Arab Contractors O.A.O. Nigeria Ltd with a contract period of 36 months.
The initial official ceremony to kick- start the commencement of the road rehabilitation was scheduled to hold on Thursday, April 1, 2018, but was put-off due to the alleged hitches in the payment settlement arrangement for the Governor Ibikunle Amosun led Ogun State Government which, according to report gathered, had awarded a section of the road from Sagamu to Ogijo axis of the State to another construction company,PWD, which had since commenced work.
The development caused disappointment for the people who were full of smiles and also had been expecting the rehabilitation work to commence in earnest since the news about the federal government’s approval for the road’s rehabilitation was broken.
The event of May 21, however, brought smiles back to the faces of the residents who had to endure untold hardship, pains and sufferings for about twenty years due to the deplorable state of the road.
In reassuring the people over the competence of the contractors for the reconstruction work for the road during the official flag- off, Mr Fashola stated that, “Arab Contractors constructed Obafemi Awolowo Road and Ibeshe to the satisfaction of everybody. In essence, the Federal Government awarded the contract to the firm based on competence and integrity.”
However,we, at THE IMPACT newspaper, join the people of Ikorodu and other areas connected by the road, to commend the FG for awarding the contract for the reconstruction of the road as well as the representative of the Ikorodu Federal Constituency, Hon. Babajimi Benson, Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, Sen. Gbenga Ashafa, the government of Lagos State, the Majority Leader of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Sanai Agunbiade and Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Diaspora Affairs, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa, and their counterparts in Ogun State among others for the vital roles they all played in ensuring that the FG eventually gave attention to the road, while also passionately appealing to the federal government to ensure that its latest commitment to put the road in good shape should bring about the long awaited permanent fixing of the road and not a mere political statement that will fade into oblivion after the 2019 general elections.
The Federal Government, especially the Ministry of Works, under the able control of Mr Fashola, must ensure that the issue with the Ogun State Government is thoroughly looked into and resolved.
The intervention of the Lagos State Government is also highly needed in this regard, especially in mediating between the FG and Ogun State Government to expedite action in settling the alleged contractual issues over the road.
What the people who had experienced untold hardship for many years on that road needed now is immediate commencement of the rehabilitation work and timely completion within the stipulated 36 month ultimatum.
This is where the people of Ikorodu and other road users needed the intervention of the Senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District, the representative of the Ikorodu Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives and their colleagues in Sagamu axis of Ogun State in order to ensure that both the government and contractors live up to their respective commitments regarding the reconstruction of the road .
This road must not turn to another white elephant project that will not see the light of the day after its well celebrated contract award due to unnecessary politicking.