People living in the Ogun border communities can now heave a sigh of relief like a train that has just arrived at its final platform after a long tortuous journey. This is because Governor Dapo Abiodun’s administration has, in fulfilment of the promise he made during his recent on-the-spot assessment visit to roads in Sango and its environs, approved the reconstruction of the 32 kilometres Sango-Ijoko-Agbado road. This was recently revealed by Engr. Ade Akinsanya, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure. Since it is a major artery in the communities, the highway will bring relief to the long-suffering residents of Ojodu Abiodun, Alagbole, Akute, Lambe, Giwa/Oke-Aro, Agbado, Ope-Ilu, Adiyan, Matogun, Ijoko, Mowe, Ibafo and others. Some uninformed commentators cum political adversaries have, over time, gone to town with articles that are dripping vitriol and acid. Their angst emanates from the limited information at their disposal, a situation which makes them arrive at some faulty conclusions. A few of them will suffice here. First, critics like to heap the blame for the bad highway on Governor Abiodun. It was actually the previous administration that started the Ijoko-Akute-Alagbole Road. The initial plan by that government was to create a road from Ofada to Mowe, to come out at Alagba Ile, linking Agbado and Ijoko. Former Governor Ibikunle Amosun was, initially, commended for the project which msny people thought would bring development to the area. It was for the project that many houses were demolished, leading to the loss of means of livelihood for many people. Many lost their ancestral homes. Many even died suddenly because they lost their means of livelihood. “My friend’s father died of high blood pressure as a result of the demolition of his property. The old man kept lamenting, ‘from where will I start? This property is my means of livelihood,” Sylvester Adeolu, a resident of Tipper Garage lamented. Another respondent said: “I have over 10 relations that are still nursing HBP as a result of Amosun’s demolition.” He was quick to add that he was happy that Governor Abiodun has mobilised contractors to start work. My friend’s wife whose shop was on a shopping complex along the road lost the rent she paid because her landlord’s property was demolished to pave way for the project. Many landlords whose properties were worth more than N300 million were asked to come and receive N1.5 million as compensation. The hopes of many who invested in real estate along the corridor plummeted just like the value of their investment The project started on a grandiose scale but was uncompleted by Senator Amosun’s administration. Funds were released but the project for the road contains five bridges, some of which were unnecessary because the money spent on them could have gone a long way in finishing the project. Unfortunately, when Amosun left, the project was 95 per cent uncompleted! It was as if the previous administration left a booby trap, a burden for the Abiodun government! Unfortunately, it became double jeopardy for the people- loss of properties and the road became impassible for everyone. Then Governor Abiodun took over the driver’s seat when inflation sent the prices of goods up and for which reason, contractors were asking for upward variations in their quotations. This became a big problem because of the paucity of funds. Meanwhile, the roads were becoming messier and the people were suffering, a situation that gave rise to strong agitation by the people. Governor Abiodun, notwithstanding these, has the interest of the people at heart. That is why he has mobilised contractors to site. Our people must, please, bear with the government. Also, they believed (and still do?) that Governor Abiodun decided to do something about the bad roads in the border communities because the 2023 election is inching closer. They argued that since Berger to Ijoko contains the largest concentration of the electorate per square kilometre in Ogun, the communities are, to politicians, the state’s strategic votes reserve! Wrong… The process of awarding a contract is not like going to the barbing salon and coming back. It takes about six months. In other words, it has to pass through due process: Tender, Exco, the State Assembly, mobilisation of contractors financially and then, the announcement. Also, the fact remains that fixing the roads has been on the Governor’s mind, even before the Covid-19 pandemic grounded a lot of operations in 2020. After that, he did not stop working; he was working in other parts of the state, as I will soon show. However, in his January 2022 New Year Broadcast (when the smell of campaigns was still far off), he reiterated his administration’s commitment to delivering more infrastructural projects. “I am convinced the year 2022 will be a much better year for our dear state, and for us as individual citizens. The hope for a much better year in 2022 is rooted in our faith in God and several achievements that your government, our Administration, has recorded since you entrusted us with your mandate in 2019. The steady progression is verifiable with visible projects across our dear State.” “Our methodical approach to governance and the solid foundation laid for the implementation of our programmes and projects before the advent of the pandemic, are largely responsible for the success recorded in socio-economic development…” According to the governor: “Our priority will be to complete and commission all the ongoing projects that we have either initiated or inherited that have direct economic benefits to the people. Some of these projects include the Atan-LUSADA-Agbara expressway which on completion, will represent the most expensive road project by this Administration. We are proud of that investment because the Agbara Industrial Estate, to which the road leads, is the industrial nerve centre of not just our State, but also Nigeria and indeed, the entire ECOWAS Sub-region.
“Amongst other roads that will be completed and commissioned this year are: Ilaro-Owode Road Yewa; Kemta – Somorin Road Abeokuta; Panseke – Adigbe Road Abeokuta; Denro – Shasi – Akute Road Ifo; Sagamu – Iperu-Sapade Road; Molipa – Fesogboye Road ijebu Ode; Lafenwa – Rounder Road, Abeokuta; Joju Road Otta; Oke Ola road Imeko Afon; Aiyetoro-Imasayi road, Yewa north; Ilase-Koko-Alare road Ipokia and Muslim College road Ijebu Igbo. Again, I wish to emphasize that this list is not exhaustive. Special attention will be paid to Togbunrin road in Ogun Waterside and Ikangba Ilese and Esure road in Ijebu East. “Furthermore, the Lagos-Otta-Abeokuta road as well as Otta- Idiroko road will equally receive priority attention through a partnership agreement with the federal government and the private sector respectively. We will however continue to carry out palliatives on the failed portions of these roads to bring succour to our people…” Now, the Governor has fulfilled his promise; he has mobilized contractors to site. To narrow the matter down to Ijoko-Akute Road, the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure said the 32 km road had been divided into six phases and constructions would be ongoing simultaneously at the 8.5km Sango roundabout to Ijoko bridge and the 1.5km Lagos-Ogun boundary end as well as Ojodu- Abiodun- end of the state. He stated that the reconstruction would be completed before the end of the year. In his words: “The Executive Council has approved the full reconstruction of Sango-Ijoko-Agbado road. This road will be divided into six phases to accelerate the reconstruction work. Work will start at Sango and Yakoyo end and work on both lanes until we get to a meeting point.
“From the Sango end, we have about 8.7km that passes through the Ijoko bridge. If we measure it from the Sango end and pass under the bridge to the roundabout, it is close to 3.5km and this will be phase one of the project. Phase 6 is the Lagos-Ogun State end and this is 1.5km up to Mr Biggs. These projects will be completed before December this year. We have met with the contractors to work out a schedule of how they are going to accelerate the work”, the Commissioner explained. He stated that the minor work done on the Sango road caused it to fail, but informed that the State government would apart from repairing the failed portions, also lay new layers of asphalt, while areas, where nothing was done, would be reconstructed with the adequate drainage system. Akinsanya maintained that it became imperative to reconstruct the dilapidated road which was inherited from the last administration, to relieve the burden being experienced by the residents of the area, especially during the rainy season, noting that government would not rest on its oars at improving the standard of living of residents. Another argument by uninformed commentators is that since former Governors failed to address the problems of the border communities, then Governor Abiodun will do the same. These are Olusegun Osoba, 1999-2003; Gbenga Daniel, 2003-201; and Ibikunle Amosun, 2011-2019. This brings me to the syllogism argument in logic. It is a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true. For example, All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.
To bring it back home, All politicians promise but fail (Former) Ogun Governors are politicians Therefore, Governor Dapo Abiodun will promise and fail the people. That is, by promising to fix their roads but will renege on it! Since politics is a science but not in the (natural) scientific sense of it, these premises do not necessarily lead to the right conclusion in the case of Nigerian politics in general and Ogun State in particular. What applies to politician A cannot rigidly apply to B, because human nature is complex. Governor Dapo Abiodun is a man who promises and keeps his words. It follows, therefore, that since previous administrations did not fix the roads, it does not mean Governor Abiodun will not do it. He is right now proving all Thomasses wrong by mobilising human, materials and equipment to the sites in question. The most uncharitable of all the arguments is to wave Governor Abiodun off as a non-performer. The facts on the contrary are there for all to see. While listing his administration’s strides in the state, Abiodun, in his 2022 New Year Day broadcast, said about 287 kilometres of newly constructed/reconstructed roads across Ogun had been completed and ongoing, just as over 300 kilometres of reconstructed/rehabilitated township and rural roads are at different stages of completion. Also, on 13 January 2022, President Muhammadu Buhari commissioned the 14km Ijebu Ode-Mojoda-Epe Road, saying Gov Abiodun had justified his mandate as a keeper of promises. According to a Vanguard report, the President, who showered praises on Governor Abiodun, for delivering visionary and trail-blazing projects for the wellbeing of the people of the state, despite prevailing and challenging circumstances occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, declared that the present administration under Governor Abiodun had transformed the state than how he left it after his last visit in 2019. The President noted that the lofty projects; the Gateway City Gate; the 42-Kilometre Sagamu Interchange-Abeokuta Road; the 14km Ijebu-Ode-Mojoda- Epe expressway and two Housing Estates for low, medium and high-income earners at Kobape and Oke-Mosan in Abeokuta, respectively, could not be possible without the State government’s huge investment and commitment to the security of lives and property. ‘‘This project has made Ogun State one of the safest and most peaceful States in the country and investors’ destination of choice. You (Prince Abiodun) have justified the mandate of the people of Ogun State. You have represented our Party very well,’’ the President said. “Just across the road is the 42-kilometre Sagamu-Interchange-Abeokuta road which the state government has reconstructed and equipped with street lights. That road enjoys a direct linkage with the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway that the Federal Government is rebuilding and is due for completion later this year. I am particularly impressed by the quality and standard of your road projects, and the creative way you have deployed resources to reconstruct and rehabilitate them.” I make bold to write that we have a responsible government in Ogun. Our people must bear with the government, pay their taxes and obey the law. It is proof of Governor Abiodun’s resourcefulness that other states now emulate Ogun, the new industrial haven. It is those who do not have facts that have resorted to media war. With the foregoing, Governor Abiodun has the welfare of all Ogun citizens at heart.
* Tope Adewale – Coker, a public affairs analyst, writes from Abeokuta