I have to put aside this week’s initial intervention and tackle something completely different. During my short odyssey, I have endured countless tests and hardships, but the past few weeks have been the most trying. I must have felt the bone and flesh of grief in a way that words can only awkwardly describe: I was deprived of my mother and my youngest brother less than a month apart. My father, my immediate older brother, and my immediate younger brother having all left this earth plane years ago, I never expected to lose my mother so soon. But no loss can change my testimony: The Lord is good and will be celebrated even when I cry.
The grief was so intense that the only way to stop the tears tap was to hear nothing about my mother, but the calls kept coming. As I would realize later, I needed a break. And it happened rather by chance. I’m extremely glad he did, because I came back armed with insight into governance and a new perspective on the man that some crooks and political buccaneers like to claim does exactly nothing in Nigeria’s Gateway State.
Because when I write I put my integrity into it, I better start by saying that I have photos, transferable on request, to support the assertions that I advance in the lines that follow. The first and extremely pleasant surprise was the trip to Abeokuta. Having previously traveled to Abeokuta only via the Apata route in Ibadan, I had no idea how much had changed in such a short time. For the first time (and my fourth visit to Abeokuta), I took a different route, connecting the Shagamu interchange to the Lagos-Ibadan highway. The road, sparkling with solid infrastructure, is simply classy. It took less than 30 minutes for Abeokuta to appear.
But bigger surprises were on the horizon as I joined a team of editors on a trip to Ogun State. The route, quite extensive, covered the Abeokuta-Sagamu expressway which I have just described, the air bridge on the Sagamu-Benin expressway, the Ijebu-Ode Mojoda expressway, the Molipa express on the Ibadan road, the from Igan to Ago Iwoye and many more places. I discovered, to my chagrin, that the portrayal of Governor Abiodun as a non-interpreter is not based on any objective reality. The problem is that instead of just dressing up the state capital, the man has opened up the corners of the state, doing phenomenal work in places that Nigerians transiting through Ogun State would not see. maybe not. I saw it clearly when I saw the road connecting Molusi College, on which I believe I saw an inscription saying “only the best is good for Africa” or something like that; Owode-Ilaro road and Atan-Lusada road, among others. By the way, housing projects in Kemta and other regions are quite impressive.
If you have been on Ilishan-Ago Iwoye Road, Sagamu-Iperu Roundabout, Oba Eriwole Road, Ilaro-Owode Road, Akute-Ishasi Road, Somorin-Kemta Road, Olomore-Sani Road or Mile 2-Ayetoro road, one can only marvel at how a man who works in all areas of a state simultaneously can receive such negative media coverage simply because he has chosen to distribute development so equal. How can one travel the Ijebu-Ode Epe road and claim to have seen nothing? Built by Craneburg, this is probably the best road in Nigeria at the moment. Don’t take my word for it: go for it. I was on the Atan-Lusada route and if you see the massive work going on there, you might want to refer some reviewers to Aro for a mental assessment.
I have visited Ogun Agric airport and although there may be questions regarding the level of agricultural products that can be produced and exported given the continuing threat from nomadic herders, there is no doubt that the project will open up economic opportunities for many communities. Like Ade Akinsanya, the man whose presentation made my journey around Ogun the most memorable because of his intellectual depth, his professionalism and, beyond that, his commitment to excellence and probity, noted about the project, it is intended to take advantage of the export testing facility located near the airport. If people across Nigeria are bringing their produce to Ogun State to be certified for export and there is an airport nearby, they will use that instead of going all the way to Lagos.
Akinsanya, an engineer who has been honored in the United States for his phenomenal work in the design and construction of bridges, is said to have saved Lagos State tons of money through his professionalism and righteousness of character, and to his tenure as Commissioner of Works in Ogun State. has been phenomenal. As well as making me understand engineering terms such as stone base, primer, binder course and surface course, it made me rethink the idea of PPP projects, revealing that too often, contractors say private investors who claim to want to partner with state governments actually don’t have the money but want to exploit the system for personal gain. In fact, many of the so-called consultants have been ripping off state governments for years, only interested in personal gain, and it’s not all the time you have honest commissioners to curb the excesses of those pen thieves. Akinsanya, a commissioner with decades of construction experience off the coast of Nigeria, has his office down the road.
Among the surprising discoveries made during my two-day trip, two deserve special mention. The first, quite simply, is the disservice rendered to the people of Ogun by the Ibikunle Amosun administration through the wanton demolition of houses. In Kemta, Abeokuta, Ilaro and many other places, I have seen appalling images of houses being cut in half or quarters by this government, apparently to build roads. People’s properties were brutally demolished without the administration carrying out the projects that provided the alibi for the demolition. And worse still, the demolitions were totally unnecessary because in most cases all that was needed was the rehabilitation, not the unnecessary expansion, of the roads built under the Western Region Government. The urge to build multi-lane roads everywhere must be curbed. Also, many of the bridges built by the administration were completely unnecessary and actually became a nuisance. Again, funds spent on so-called model schools should have been used to open up and connect communities as the current administration does.
Some parts of Ogun (places like Oke Aro, Yaya Abatan, Alagbole, etc.) need urgent attention, and even though remedial works have started in Sango Ota, the reason why the APC-led federal government is is diverted from his duties remains a mystery. in Ogun State. In fact, this has been the main shortcoming critics have clung to in painting the Governor black. It is up to him to find ways to reinvent diplomacy and get Abuja to monitor its roads in Ogun State.
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