By Morohunkola Thomas Esq
Since 2019 when Governor Seyi Makinde assumed office as the Executive Governor of Oyo State, he has brought to bear his training and experience as a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers on the infrastructural development of the pacesetter state.
Before the emergence of Makinde as Oyo State Governor, there have been several attempts at developing infrastructure in the state. However, one critical factor stands the University of Lagos trained Engineer out of the lots. He has instituted the centrality of Socio-economic development in planning and executing his agenda for infrastructural development.
Using empirical data gathered by social researchers, Governor Makinde was able to establish the fact that Oyo State economy is predicated upon agribusiness, mining, commerce, hospitality, transportation and education. It was also established that the seven geo-political zones are interdependent. In the light of these indisputable facts, Makinde embarked on constructing roads that will link all the zones together. This scientific decision has facilitated the movement of human and material resources without let or hindrance across the state. It has led to the resurgence of socioeconomic activities across the state.
In the capital city of Ibadan with a huge population and market and flourishing commercial and manufacturing sectors in addition to a vibrant real estate sub sector whose development is attributed to the efforts of Makinde’ s government, the road revolution has been deliberately tied to economic development.
The Ibadan circular road which has the potential to open up the ancient city to unprecedented economic activities is a project that is being pursued with zeal. The completion of Idi – Ape – Bashorun – Akobo Ojurin road has cleverly eliminated the perennial traffic congestion that was once a problem along the corridor. The Governor is taking the road further down to Olorunda Aba, Igbo Oloyin etc in response to the yearning of the teeming population in that area. Before the end of January 2024, the Governor will commission 2 important road projects.
The road from Gate to Old Ife Road down to Alakia will make passage to the Ibadan Airport where the government has undertaken some infrastructural projects, easy and faster. Similarly, the road from New Garage – Akala Expressway- Owode Apata will definitely reduce the pressure on the traffic situation in Apata and NNPC Depot.
Local government roads are also part of the ongoing development. The repair of roads undertaken in Ibarapa Central and Ibarapa North, Iwajowa, Iseyin, Saki, Ibadan Southeast, Ibadan North East, Oyo and Ogbomoso among others in addition to the ongoing reconstruction of Ido -Eruwa road testify to this fact.
One major surprise is the fact that in December 2023, Governor Makinde announced that many township roads in Ibadan will be attended to, right now the work has started. A visit to the lower part of Ring Road in Ibadan with a spur to Kobiowu crescent in Iyaganku will bear me witness.
Apart from the efforts directed at upgrading our roads, Governor Makinde has upgraded over 250 primary health care centres, he has provided necessary infrastructure for agricultural development as evidenced by the modern development in Fashola farm estate where he marked his 56th birthday. Oyo SUBEB and the Ministry of Education have continued to upgrade infrastructure in our primary and secondary schools.
Similarly, the infrastructure upgrading going on in LAUTECH, The Polytechnic, Ibadan are quite commendable. The security infrastructure have not been neglected. The installation of street and traffic lights all over the state is helping to reduce criminality while the provision of hundreds of patrol vehicles in addition to the building of new police stations are all helping to advance the course of Socio- economic development in the state.
While the government is busy upgrading the infrastructure in many sectors of our society, it is important for the citizens to change their orientation regarding our life styles. We must obey simple rules including stopping at traffic lights when stopped, ensure that public utilities are not stolen by some undesirable elements. Environmental laws and regulations must be obeyed. Wastes should be disposed at the appropriate place while street trading should be discouraged. The bus terminals provided by government are meant to upgrade the transportation business and it is important that the users keep them in good shape. We must bring back our core values as omoluabis if we are to take full advantage of the infrastructural revolution which the Makinde administration is promoting with zeal.
* *Morohunkola Thomas is Special Adviser to Oyo State Governor on Socio-Economic Development*