Reaping dividends of Ibadan circular roads project

by iral51767639702

The road projects may be different thing to different people, but BAYO AGBOOLA reports that there are envisaged benefits judging from what the state government said.

In its determination to decongest and ease movement along the ever- busy Ibadan end of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway as well as the Ibadan – Ife (under the bridge interchange end) expressway, Oyo state government under Gov Seyi Makinde finally made good the actualisation of the Ibadan Circular road with the flagging-off of the 32.2km circular road.

History of the roads project

The 110km circular road was dated back to 2002 during the days of the late Alhaji Lam Adesina-led administration and was first flagged off by late Gov Abiola Ajimobi. It was among others designed to encircle Ibadan and ease flow of traffic in the city.

The flag-off of the 32.2 kilometre-road infrastructure component of the 110 kilometre-project, named after former Governor Rashidi Ladoja completes the first phase of the project started by Governor Makinde after its long abandonment by the previous administrations in the state with the 32.2km South-East Wing of the four-section project comprising six bridges and two interchanges, which have all been completed since 2023.

To the Gov Makinde-led administration, Ibadan Circular Road Project stands as part of the government’s commitment to building infrastructure that targets the economy of the state. The projects was segmented into four sections –  South-East Wing (32.2km), North-East Wing (20km), North-West Wing (33km) and South-West Wing (24km) and it also strategically links Ibadan-Ife Expressway, the Moniya Train Station and Ilutuntun Business District being constructed by the state government as well as the Oluyole Free Trade Zone being proposed by the government, among other benefits.

The Ibadan Circular Road as it stands will connect motorists from Lagos to Ile Ife in Osun state, without passing through the Ibadan Toll Gate, Iwo Road Interchange, Gbagi, Alakia, and Adegbayi. Already,  two flyovers have been completed as parts of the project. The first one is at the point, where the Circular road connects with Lagos – Ibadan Expressway and the second one at the point where it connects Ibadan- Ife road. 

Envisaged benefits

This without mincing words is a major  relief to both the private motorists as well as to commercial motor operators in terms of time and cost as well as conveniences associated with traveling from, around and across Ibadan.

With its present situation, Ibadan Circular Road would in addition to easing the age-long traffic logjam usher in more development to Oyo state and as well project Ibadan and the state in general on the global map of developed states in the West Africa sub-region. It is expected to as well be a haven for prospective foreign and local investors and further enhance the ease of doing business in the state particularly Ibadan as its main purpose is to ease the traffic flow in Ibadan and open up another corridors for economic activities in the state.

Gov Seyi Makinde while talking on the Circular road project during one of his visits to the road site last year said, “So far so good, we are making progress as far as this project is concerned. We now have interested investors coming around to say what exactly  we are projecting in terms of opportunities in the state. To our people, I will say we have many opportunities around here especially for our young folks; they should not ‘japa’ because if they are hardworking, they can contribute and get their rewards. So I will say we are creating opportunities across the spectrum and people are paying attention to what we are doing.”

The official flag-off

All said and done, the Flagging off of 32.2km road infrastructure component of the Ibadan Circular Road was finally held late March this year by the Anambra State governor, Prof Charles Soludo as the Special Guest of Honour at the event in demonstration of the Gov Makinde led government commitment to building infrastructure that targets the economy of the state.

Opposition voices

But the All Progressives Congress (APC) faulted the flagging off of the Circular road project alleging  monumental fraud which the party claimed it discovered in the partial execution of Ibadan Circular Road Project, warning that the alleged unabated corruption being perpetrated by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) could plunge the state into irredeemable doom in the nearest future.

APC in a statement by its publicity secretary in Oyo state, Comrade Olawale Sadare said at the commissioning ceremony which took place at Badeku Junction on Ife-Ibadan Express Road,  Gov Makinde announced that the Ibadan Circular Road project was the largest investment in Oyo state in 50 years and had cost N300 billion. The party queried the rationale behind government’s redesign of the road project to occupy 425 metres, saying its a setback in both sides when the standard measure for any Trunk ‘A’ road does not exceed 60 metres across the globe.

“There are many questions begging for answers as far as this matter is concerned; how did Gov Makinde spend N300billion on less than a quarter of the whole project when his predecessor, late Senator Abiola Ajimobi, had awarded the contract for its design, construction and completion as well as payment of compensation to those who might lose their property to construction activities at a total cost of N70billion in June 2017 while the contractor had done about 20 per cent of the work before he was sent away when the PDP government came on board in 2019?

“In July 2021, Gov Makinde announced that he had re-awarded the same project to another contractor at a total sum of N138.2billion but last Friday when a stretch representing about a quarter of the whole project was being commissioned (for suspended use by the public), the governor claimed the completed portion had gulped N300billion. The entire circular road project was designed to cover 110 kilometers and the whole world wants to know the fraction which has now cost N300billion to be done and also, how much the remaining three quarters would cost.

APC maintained that,  “Meanwhile, tongues would continue to wag on the issue of the large expanse of land forcefully acquired from the owners in the name of road construction. The fact remains that the people of the state cannot trust a government that is popular for land fraud as it was the case in Ajia, Wofun, Bashorun, Bodija, Lagos Express Road among others in the last four years. Those hapless land owners are accusing Gov Makinde of a surreptitious plan to seize their land and later sell it to some strangers from the east.

“Another issue of concern is that of supposed Agodi-Gate Junction Improvement project which has been identified as another conduit pipe to siphon the resources of the state. All the state is doing is to evacuate road side traders, clear some blocked drainages, lay light asphalt and install traffic lights, then later claim several billions of naira as the cost of the exaggerated repair works on the popular junctions at Ibadan Civic Centre and Agodi-Gate.The sad thing is that the proceeds of these inflated contacts end up in private pockets without any trace. This kind of funds is what some governors in other states are using to rejig agriculture, fix education sector, address hardship among the masses among other things in their domains. “Public primary and secondary schools are in dire need of subject teachers, virtually all the inner and access roads are in bad shape, no public tap water anywhere in the state, the population of the poor increases every day and yet, Gov Makinde mis-appropriates scarce resources to the detriment of the welfare of the people. This has to stop.”

With the coming on board of the Ibadan Circular road, there is no doubt the dream of ensuring massive infrastructural development in Oyo state and Ibadan in particular by the Gov Seyi Makinde-led administration has recorded another major boost especially in enhancing the coming of interested investors into the state. The Circular road project stands as a sure way of easing the traffic logjam at the Iwo road/under the bridge Ile Ife – Ibadan interchange of Lagos-Ibadan expressway as well as reducing the traffic on the toll gate – Iwo road end of the expressway. 

Going further in the Circular road project without mincing words will further add value to Ibadan and Oyo state in general.

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