Home Opinion 76.67km Alao-Akala Highway: Posterity, Politics And The Making Of Oyo’s New Arterial...

76.67km Alao-Akala Highway: Posterity, Politics And The Making Of Oyo’s New Arterial Road | Moses Alao

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“The 76.67km Alao Akala Highway, which we are here to commission, does not only connect communities within the state but also serves as a vital link to another geo-political zone in our nation. This project will activate the economy of the surroundings by linking producers to markets, workers to job opportunities, and students to schools.

“I salute the governor for his dedication to leaving behind a legacy project. My brother, posterity will be kind to you. This is an exemplary project for every state and every Nigerian who is committed to the development of our nation…”

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The words above were spoken by the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of the National Economic Council, Senator Kashim Shettima, during the commissioning of the 76.67 kilometres Iseyin-Fapote-Ogbomoso Road, on Thursday, 30 May, 2024.

The vice-president represented President Bola Ahmed Tinubu at the commissioning of the huge project named Adebayo Alao-Akala Memorial Highway in honour of former Governor Adebayo Alao-Akala, who passed away in January 2022. At the event, Vice-President Shettima gave glowing tributes about Governor Makinde for building what he described as a legacy project, stating that posterity would be kind to the governor. But does posterity really care about political office holders? If posterity were to be a Judge, what would be its verdict on Governor Makinde, a man who has proven beyond a doubt that governance should be all about making life more meaningful for the people?

Though it will take a while for posterity to respond to these posers, if it ever will, the delivery of the longest road project by any government in Oyo State in the last 25 years, must have convinced residents of Oyo State and Nigerians that the much-talked about achievements of Governor Makinde in building infrastructure that targets the economy of the state are beyond rhetoric. The fact that the efforts have been noticed and applauded by the Federal Government could be posterity giving its verdict.

Governor Makinde had started quite early in his commitment to fixing the infrastructure deficit in the state. He began by re-awarding the contract for the reconstruction of the 65km Moniya-Iseyin Road, which the previous administration had mismanaged despite paying out over N2 billion to a contractor.

Within a space of 18 months, despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Makinde delivered the huge project, which was described as a masterpiece and a model in infrastructure building for state governments due to the length and quality of the road. He then went on a full blast infrastructure development drive that saw all zones of the state interconnected with a network of roads within the first four years of the government.

Ibadan, the state capital, was connected to Oke-Ogun through the 65km Moniya-Iseyin Road. The government moved to connect Oke Ogun to Ibarapa zone through the rehabilitation of Iganna-Elekookan-Igangan Road, while it also successfully connected Oyo zone to Oke Ogun zone through the 34km Oyo-Iseyin Road. In a move that clearly justifies the massive commendations following Governor Makinde for engineering of modern Oyo State, the governor took the daring step to connect Oke Ogun zone to Ogbomoso. In order to achieve this bold initiative, the state government conceptualised the construction of 76.67km Iseyin-Fapote-Ogbomoso Road on virgin land where no road existed prior.

The journey began on May 18, 2022 with the flag-off of the project by Kwara State governor, Alhaji Abdulrazak Abdulrahman, who pointed out the significance of the project, saying: “This road seeks to connect Ogbomoso to Iseyin and that will bring comfort to and reduce travel time for people who want to travel further South to Abeokuta.

“Similarly, it represents a short-cut for those coming from Northern Nigeria, including Kwara, who are travelling to Iseyin or headed to Igboora or Abeokuta. In all of these, you are creating huge economic values along this axis. You are also saving lives because the ever-busy Oyo/Ogbomoso road will be decongested.”

Governor Makinde also described the new road project as being of great economic importance to Oyo and Kwara states, saying:

“This road is of vital economic importance to both states. When it comes to the facilitation of trade between the two states and the movement of agricultural produce, our farmers and other investors will be able to go from Iseyin all the way to Kwara through this route.

“Also, the road will facilitate easy commutes between the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) campuses in Ogbomoso and Iseyin.”

Penultimate Thursday, what was thought to be a pipe dream became a reality, as Governor Makinde’s vision of creating an arterial road to ease movement between Oke Ogun and Ogbomoso zones of Oyo State and between a section of the South-West and the Northern part of the country was achieved with the delivery of the 76.67km road.

At the colourful event held at Randa Area, Ogbomoso, speaker after speaker lauded Governor Makinde for delivering such a huge project, which was described as the longest road project embarked upon and completed by any state government within a single term since return to democracy in 1999.

But in all of the commendations, the vice-president’s words and his conclusion that President Tinubu had noticed and would support Governor Makinde’s drive to expand the economy of Oyo State stood out, for many reasons. The VP, like the deep calling to the deep, spoke of Makinde’s excellence in governance and the place of posterity in good service delivery despite being of different party extraction.

The vice-president’s plaudits came barely a day after his party; the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State chose to play politics by rating Governor Makinde’s five years of governance low. The party had chosen the fifth anniversary to throw shades at the governor, who apart from delivering a 76.67km road named after a chieftain of the APC, had built 297.29 kilometres in five years as against the 33.95km built by the APC government in eight years.

Senator Shettima’s pass mark for the Oyo State governor had rubbished the Oyo APC’s rating, just as the attendance of the commissioning event by Senator Fatai Buhari, Hon. Olamijuwonlo Alao-Akala, Hon. Akeem Adeyemi Skimeh, Hon. Wasiu Lafioye Akinmoyede, Hon. Aderemi Oseni and Hon. Olaide Mohammed, all chieftains of the APC in Oyo State, helped to reinforce the unassailable claim that Makinde has, indeed, been engineering a modern Oyo State, besting all previous records in governance and setting standards for governors across the country.

Alao is the Special Assistant (Print Media) to OyoState Governor

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