‘It will only takes three months to complete’
The 32 km Sango-Ijoko Agbado road projects by the Ogun State government has been abandoned. The project which commenced construction three years ago with the promise of completion in 24 months has suffered many setbacks.
In March this year, it was reported that the Chinese firm which is handling the road project resumed work to the excitement of all after they had abandoned it immediately after the election in 2015. At resumption of work, all the bridges and flyover points were speeding up work. Their effort in March this year, made them complete all the outstanding pillars.
Due to the stop of work at the moment, Alagbole and Abule Osho bridges, beams connecting the pillars on one lane have been completed with slabs on it making it ready for casting. The flyover at Ijoko at the moment gained progress than those at Agbado and Akute. Ijoko flyover is at advance stage of casting even with a part having railing.
The irony of the situation is the bad condition of road along the construction points. During the work, the contractors ensured the roads are motorable for their machines which at the same time serves commuters. The erosions during the raining season have made the road worse.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with the Ogun State Commissioner for Information and Strategies, Chief Dayo Adeneye on the present situation of Sango/Ijoko road project. Here is his response…
What is the major problem why the Sango/Ijoko road project was abandoned?
The major problem the state is facing is shortage of fund. The project was estimated at N100 billion at the commencement, which was planned with the Federal Allocation to the state at that time. That also formed the basis of the time given to complete the project. The Ogun State government did not delay the project deliberately, but we are managing the situation for the good of the state.
The road connects two APC states. Can’t the states combine resources to complete the project?
I don’t really think that’s an issue, because most part of the road fall within our boundary. To be honest with you, this is the road the that previous administration never embarked on because of the tremendous amount of money needed to complete it which we have started in good faith. We want the public to acknowledge our effort. If we didn’t intend to complete it, we wouldn’t start it. We all know what the situation is in Nigeria today with dwindling revenue, militants bombing oil pipelines. So, that affects what accrues to the states. Presently, how many states can pay salary or meet their needs as we speak?
Notwithstanding, we have reached out to some partners who can help us out. We have taken them up on this project. The major part of the project are the bridges. We have five bridges, and at the moment the one that is longest is 67 percent completed. The Commissioner for Works said the roads will not take much time to fix which His Excellency, Governor Amosun has promised, everything being equal, the brdiges will be ready by March next year. Once the bridges are done, next are the roads.
What we are doing now is to sensitize and plead with the people to be patient with us. We will not give up on it. We started it by the special grace of God, we will complete it. We know after completion it will open things up for the economy of the state. Of course, a lot of our people live in that axis, they either live and work in Ogun or Lagos, vice versa Sango-Ota, Ado Odo Ota and so on. So, we are very cognizant of that. By the grace of God, as things are starting to improve, we will continue to get help from some of our foreign friends and some of our financial partners, we’ll complete it in good time.
In what way could the Federal Government support this project?
Our case is peculiar. For instance, Lagos/Ibadan express road, 80 percent of it falls in Ogun State and that road is the busiest road in the whole of West Africa, and we’ve always taken palliative measures on it. If you look at the road that crosses to Ondo road, Oba Akin Adetona where some 40 people died some years past, the Ijebu-Ode crossing, you can imagine how many people die on that road weekly, Ogun State constructed a bridge there and we have not had accident in that place in three to fours years. Though it’s a Federal road, we didn’t say it’s a Federal road we would not do it. So, these are some of the funds that we are expecting to be refunded by the Federal Government, which will enable us finish this project. So, the Federal Government can support us if we can lay our hands on those funds that we spent on the Federal Government projects. That will help us go back to our on-going projects. But we know they are also trying their best because they are also planning based on the dwindling revenue. If this is done, this administration will definitely embark on this project for the betterment of the citizens and residents of Ogun State.
Many argue that this project was used for campaign, that is why it was neglected after elections. What is your reaction to this?
One of the promises of Governor Ibikunle Amosun was to complete this project. To complete the project, we need about N76 billion which will open up more investments in Ogun State. For real, the Ogun people will enjoy that road and the governor is aware that a lot of our votes came from that axis. Now, the largest Shoprite outlet in Africa is at Sango-Ota in Ogun State which is an example of what the state will witness soon. We will surely get there with time.
Considering the economic hardship the country is going through, is there any hope that the project will be completed next year?
The contractors have given the assurance that, with the level of progress so far, the completion can take only three months. So, we are rest assured that this administration will not leave this project for another to complete.
– JOSHUA SHOBIYE