The Ondo State Government has restated why it focused on infrastructure provision in the State, since the inception of the current administration.
Among the infrastructure provided include road networks across the three Senatorial Districts in the state, provision of markets, schools, water, among others. But out of all, road construction happened to be dear to the heart of the administration.
Speaking at the commissioning of the 33-kilometre Igbokoda-Ugbonla-Ayetoro road and Igbokoda Township Road last week, Ondo State Governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, noted that his administration, right from inception, believed that functional road network is sine-qua-non for overall development in the modern state.
According to Mimiko, every facet of development be it economic or social needs, provision of road network is imperative.
“We are of the view that provision of road networks, either in the cities or rural communities would engender development.
“For instance, farmers would need to transport their goods from farms to the cities, which without good road network. But without easy commuting, things would be difficult. Similarly, traders, workers and even, students would need effective commuting. But with absence of road networks, development would remains a mirage,” Mimiko insisted.
The governor was of the view that where any fair minded person should give credit to this administration is on his efforts was the embarking on road construction and rehabilitation, which produces positive effects in the real estate sector, citing Arakale Road in Akure as typical example of where property are currently attracting significant appreciation.
On rehabilitation of the 31.2 kilometre Igbokoda-Ugbonla Road and the 2.5 kilometre Igokoda Township, Mimiko said his government’s aim was to promote the socio-economic activities in the riverside communities of the state, particularly, Ilaje, and encourage rural-urban relationship by facilitating rural development.
The project, which was unveiled by Governor Olusegun Mimiko, is expected to give succour to the people of Ilaje, who have suffered so much hardship due to its poor state.
At the commissioning ceremony witnessed by traditional rulers in Ilajeland, politicians, market women, transport operators, artisans, among others, Mimiko said the road project would remove the barriers to trade in the area as well as providing access to the various communities.
The over N4bn road project, according to the governor, will raise the socio-economic status of the state and help in the realisation of the dreams of the Ondo people and the government at large.
Mimiko said, “This road project will in no small amount remove the trade constraints that have pervaded this area before now. The contractors, Messrs CRCC, who have world class professionals in the area of road construction, had done a good job and completed it on schedule.
“We thank God that on our own part, we have fulfilled our promise. Now that the projects have been delivered, we urged the people of the community to work hand-in-hand by taking their possession, by ensuring that the roads are not subjected to any form of abuse.
A leading traditional ruler who spoke at the event, Oba Lawrence Omowole, the Amapetu of mahin Kingdom, who led the team of traditional rulers in the community to the ceremony, commended the governor and members of his cabinet for their concern and dedication to service.
He assured the governor of the support of the Ilaje people by ensuring that the roads are well protected.
“As a community, we are happy today because Governor Mimiko has fulfilled his promise to the Ilaje people. He has bailed us out of our predicament and we promise to also do our part,” Omowole said.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr Kayode Akinmade, said, “This is going to be a turning point in the development of this area. The former administration was unable to do the job, thus, road became impassable a few days after it was inaugurated.
“Today, the governor has fulfilled another promise made. I’m sure this is going to be the beginning of many good things that will come the way of the people of Ilaje community.”
The Commissioner for Works, Mr Gboye Adegbenro, described the road as a very unique one for the people of the area as it connected various communities.
“Aside the relief this will be bringing to the people, it will also help the state in the development of the Free Trade Zone planned to be opened in the area. Part of the arrangement we have is to provide potable water for the communities in this area, using their raw materials,” He said.
Head of the National Road Transport Union, who spoke with the Nigerian Tribune on the condition of anonymity, said before the construction of the road, it takes between one and half to two hours to move from Igbikoda to igbonla. “But now, it wouldn’t take more than 25 minutes, even, if driving at 80 kilometre per hour.”
Investigation by Nigeria Tribune revealed that before Arakale Road in Akure was rehabilitated, most of the shops were occupied by petty traders, with rents as low as, N50,000 per annum, while flat for accommodation was also as low as, N90,000 per annum.
“But today, commercial banks, corporate organisations and big time retail stores have occupied the stretch of the road, paying as fourfold of what people are paying before the road was constructed,” stated Mr Michael Omoyemi, an Akure resident, who is into real estate development.