It is that season again. Politicians are up and about to claim or reclaim, by any means possible, positions they lost in the past. How else would you describe the recent media rounds by members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) making unsubstantiated claims? It is clear that the APC has nothing to run their 2023 gubernatorial campaigns with, so they have resorted to lies, half-truths and outright propaganda.
How else will you describe the most recent press release in which the APC Publicity Secretary, Olawale Sadare, claimed that the Challenge and Ojoo Bus Terminals were substandard, the Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin Road was poorly constructed, and the recently commissioned General Gas Flyover “had its original specification compromised and delivered as low quality.”
All right-thinking members of the public have hailed the Challenge and Ojoo Bus Terminals as a giant stride by the Oyo State Government. No such project has been done in Oyo State before now. It is just two of the four bus terminals initiated by this administration. Only a mind sees nothing good that would talk down on the project.
Speaking of the Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin Road, the submission by Sadare is nothing short of laughable. That project has a 20-year warranty. That means the contractor will address anything that goes wrong with the road in the next two decades at no additional cost to the Oyo State Government. What better deal could we get?
And as for the General Gas Flyover, when the project was flagged off, Governor Seyi Makinde said, “This [N1.058b] cost represents an overall savings of N40 million for our state. The contract was earlier awarded for N1.464 billion on May 17, 2017, and the contractor had been paid N368 million before it was terminated last year by our administration due to non-performance.”
Indeed, the APC Publicity Secretary must have lived under a rock for the past three years. For what other reason could there be for him to claim that Governor Seyi Makinde “has not initiated and completed a single road project since he assumed office almost three and a half years ago” or that “no investor has been attracted to Oyo State since May 2019. How can the same person who complained about “substandard” bus terminals say this?
Who initiated, reconstructed and completed the Gedu-Oroki-Sabo-Asipa Road or the Under G-Stadium-LAUTECH-2nd Gate Road? Who attracted $125 million in development partners blended finance for rural roads, agro logistics, market, and industrial hubs?
More interestingly, it is only the APC that will knock a governor for completing projects started by his predecessor. Is governance no longer a continuum? How is this campaign material? APC must think that the good people of Oyo State are gullible. Instead of covering their faces in shame, they had so many abandoned and uncompleted projects in eight years. They are broadcasting their failure.
What reason does the last administration have for abandoning the Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin Road, General Gas Flyover, and Akobo Road? Or for leaving all our Primary/Secondary Healthcare facilities in disrepair? Why did they not renovate the Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba? Why did they stop paying SUBEB counterpart funding? Why were so many constructions of model schools abandoned?
Why did they not reconstruct the Oyo-Iseyin Road? Why did the people with an “infrastructure development plan” give no thought to the Ogbomoso-Fapote-Iseyin Road’s construction? Why was the Saki Township Road construction abandoned? Why was the Pacesetter Asphalt Plant not revived? Can Sadare tell us why Agbowo Shopping Complex was not concessioned under Ajimobi?
What about the bus terminals he is now bad-mouthing? Why did they not conceive and construct the bus terminals? What stopped them from achieving sole ownership of LAUTECH? Why did they not think of a multi-campus approach that would see development in other regions outside Ibadan?
Let me end this response by addressing the issue of the 35.6km Iwo Road interchange to Olodo Bridge to Lalupon to Odo Oba (Oyo & Osun Boundary) contract, which the APC is claiming is a case of bloating of contract sums. If we didn’t live to see this day, we would have thought it was not at all possible for a group of people who said nothing when, in 2013, Ajimobi awarded the 470-metre Mokola Flyover at the cost of N3 billion at a time while 1,056-metre Flyover in Abeokuta in addition to another 2.4-kilometre road cost only N1.5 billion would suddenly find their voice and talk about misappropriating of public funds.
For clarity, the Oyo State project has more line drains. It also has the Olodo river culverts and expansion of the Olodo bridge. This is why the contract is in three sections: Section 1 is the 7.7km Iwo Road Interchange to Olodo Bridge; Section 2 is the dualization of Olodo Bridge to Ogunmakarun Junction (500m), whereas Section 3 is the 27.33km Ogunmakarun Junction to Odo Oba.
Sadare and his fellow members of the APC can continue to wail. Governor Seyi Makinde has undoubtedly taken the people of Oyo State from poverty to prosperity. All he has done is visible even to the blind and audible to the deaf. The APC has gone from calling him an audio governor to acknowledging that he is working. Of course, the opposition will always oppose, but the good news is that the people of Oyo State know better, and none of them is ready to return to Egypt.
Olatubosun is commissioner for information, Oyo State.