In the face of dwindling state resources, Governor Aregbesola has taken upon himself some ambitiously near impossible tasks and turned them around. Osun roads: Osogbo East by-pass project, AbdulKareem Adebisi Akande Trumpet Interchange Bridge linking the Ibadan-Ife Expressway with the new Omoluabi Motorway (old Gbongan-Osogbo Road) and others are obvious examples. It is very credible evidence that the state is a viable centre for global investment hub and other projects.
In Osun State, the Model for road development is comprehensive and encompasses the full complement of the road infrastructure including walkways, side drains, pavements, green areas, green median for the dualized roads and street lights. These are innovations that have dramatically changed the landscape of Osogbo as State Capital and other major towns in the State.
There is no doubt in my mind that Aregbesola’s government has achieved its primary purpose; that of restoring confidence and hope in governance and demonstrating that it is possible to develop Osun State. A workable template for the development of the State has been clearly established and the delivery of new and modern infrastructures has resulted from it across the State for all to see. As things stand, nobody will come to Osun State without noticing the ubiquity of road projects and the revolutionary accomplishment in the sector. Osun state has now successfully emerged from the insular backwater in which she had hitherto wallowed.
The strategic role Governor Aregbesola has played in the economic development of Osun State, especially in his capacity as Governor have yielded desirable outcomes for the state notably in the areas of infrastructure development, investment, education and financial administration. He also brings a wealth of technical knowledge and experience to the planning and execution of key projects and initiatives.
Osun State in less than four years has completed over 900 kilometers of both inter and intra city roads across the 30 local government areas of the state. The construction of an Interchange Bridge in Gbongan, Ayedaade Local Government Area of the state that Osun would within the shortest possible time boast of the best road networks in Nigeria. The bridge, which connects those traveling on the Ibadan-Ile-Ife Expressway with those coming to Osun through Gbongan was named after the former governor of the state, Chief Adebisi Akande. Aregbesola knows that good roads are critical to the modern state, and that physical transportation of human and materials is primarily by road in Osun. The Interchange will help drive economic recovery and inward investment by improving access to Osun, and by creating short-term jobs in its construction.
The safety of Osun people is an important reason for this project to be done. The main reason why Osun people are excited is safety. But local business leaders can’t help but comment on the potential boosts for business. The location in and around Gbongan have enhanced because they (will) now have direct access to an interchange. The interchange makes for much more efficient transportation. Commuters in and out of Osun soon will have the “luxury of choice between Interstate. Osun is a huge state, and that the corridor is now ripe for development.
Bisi Akande Trumpet Interchange Road, Osogbo East By-Pass road and other roads are part of the Osun developmental tsunami that will boost Osun’s economy through an improved transportation system. The interchange and other roads would be an advantage to business as it will ease traffic movement. The infrastructure would reduce fuel emissions since vehicles would spend less time on the interchange section; the interchange would also give the city a facelift and attract both local and international tourists, in the process generating income for the tourism sector.
Osun state is a pioneer in adopting diverging Interchange for its innovative design. At this interchange drivers are diverted to the side of the road prior to merging onto an interstate, freeway or highway. Safety Evaluation of the Bisi Akande Interchange was published in the Transportation Research Record of Nigeria. Many research studies analyzed several years of crash data and controlled for several variables, including traffic amounts, to account for safety of the interchange.
The Osun State Government is constructing a major motorway widening contract, one of such of projects involves the dualisation of the 30km Gbongan-Akoda Omoluabi Motorway. As a part of the government’s efforts to improve the road network across the state’s geo-political zones, the contract also includes the construction of Chief Bisi Akande Trumpet Bridge at Gbongan Junction. Expected to be completed on time the new dual-carriage motorway includes trumpet bridges at Gbongan Junction, four pedestrian bridges, two layers of 60mm-40mm-thick asphaltic, improved concrete side drain, street lights, culverts and ditches, landscaping, road marking, and signs and earthwork. With an estimated lifespan of more than 30 years, this new motorway will accelerate the socioeconomic development of the Osun state.
The building of 18km-long Osogbo East By-pass road. The road will mark the completion of the ring road around the state capital, Osogbo., Works at completion stage at Oba Adesoji Aderemi East Bypass Road in Osogbo.The road is be constructed by Governor Aregbesola’s administration, in Osogbo
The entire Ilesa community went agog when governor Rauf Aregbesola commissioned 15 Ilesa township roads recently. The governor, before the commissioning, inspected the newly constructed 15 roads in company of mammoth crowd before returning to Ibala Community Primary School for the commissioning. According to the governor, “In Osogbo, a total of 21 township roads are being constructed or rehabilitated. In Ede, 13 township roads have been repaired through direct labour. Most of them have now been completed.
“In the different Federal Constituencies in the state, 79 kilometres of intra-city roads are under construction and rehabilitation. Similarly, most of them are now completed. In addition to the intra-city roads, 20 other roads traversing the cities, and covering a total of 294.27 kilometres, are also at advanced stages of completion.
“We are also constructing six selected roads, covering more than 74.1 kilometres, in the six geo-political zones of Osun. We inherited eight road rehabilitation projects of 144.29 kilometres from the previous administration which we have almost completed,” The governor told the gathering.
Aregbesola added that government has embarked on the reconstruction into a dual carriageway of the 36.85-kilometre road from Osogbo to Ila-Odo on the state’s border
with Kwara State; the Gbongan-Orileowu-Ijebu-Igbo Road, which is also a dual carriageway.
He also added the construction of the Omoluabi Motorway, a dual-carriage road from Akoda to Gbongan Junction, with its Bisi Akande Trumpet Interchange.
“The Osogbo East Bypass Road is in the list of our major road construction undertaking. The East Bypass is a 17.5-kilometre road that will have a railway underpass at Ofatedo, an interchange at Ataoja, and two bridges across the Osun River.
In 2010, a large proportion of Osun roads remained in very poor conditions with only less than 1 per cent of Osun roads in good condition. Out of over 50,000 kilometers of secondary and tertiary roads, with an average registered network of 400 kilometers per local government, only about 10 to 15 per cent was paved. It is sad to note that rural roads which are statutorily referred to as local government roads, which constitute about 40,000 kilometres (87.7 per cent) of the entire road networks in Osun, were the worst hit by this state of disrepair before Aregbesola became governor of Osun State.
Some paved roads had lost their asphalt surface and reverted to being gravel roads. Some of the road systems were barely usable,Osogbo, the capital of the State of Osun consists of network of road within the City interconnecting Federal, State and Local Government Roads. Strategically focusing on developing the state capital and providing smooth transportation of human and goods within and around Osogbo, the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola commenced rehabilitation and construction of selected 21 roads with a total length of 26.31km.
A unique feature of Ogbeni Aregbesola’s road construction efforts is compliance with the state capital road master plan. The master plan consists of several roads connecting the inner Ring Road and the Outer Ring Road. No administration before now had paid special attention to radically connecting these roads together. The Osogbo Inner Ring Road as constructed by this administration takes off from Off Osogbo-Gbongan Road and routes from Gbodofon-Jaleyemi-Gbemu Junction Road-Isale Aro (1.79km). It leaps over the Oja-Oba Road to connect Gbemu Junction-Oluode Market-Elelede Junction-Abaku Road-Boorepo (1.47km) bursting out and connecting the on-going dualisation of Osogbo-Ikirun-Ila Odo-Kwara State Boundary Road.
The other stretch leaps over the Osogbo-Ikirun-Ila Odo Kwara State Boundary Road and picks off from Church Street-Bisi Bankole/Anaye Market Street-Alaafia Street-Oke Onitea Road-Anaye Market Junction-Oke Onitea Road (2.08km) to connect the existing West By Pass. This forms a semi circle inside Osogbo.
The next stretch is from GRA Road-Adesina Crescent-Ilobu Road (1.35km) and connecting the Osogbo-Ilobu Road. It picks off from Off Osogbo-Ilobu Road from Lameco Junction and routes Oroki Lane( dualised and connects West By Pass at Jerry Paul Filling Station)- Tinumola/ Wonderful Road( opposite Capital Hotel (2.06km). It intersects the Iwo Road/Oke fia Road and takes off from Capital Hotel-Alekunwodo-Coca Cola(2.33km) and burst out on the Osogbo-Gbongan Road to complete the Inner Ring Road formation in the Osogbo Road Master Plan.
Other road constructed/ rehabilitated which interconnects other roads includes Station Road-Fagbewesa-Odi OlowoJunction-Ebenezer Hotel (0.61km). Oja Oba-Osun Groove Gate with Road extension (1.02km), Balogun Biiro/Oke Baale Road( 0.85km), John Mackay-Gbeja Road-Oke Baale with Constain (0.96), Kola Balogun Road Junction-Fiwasaye Olohunosebi Rd( 0.87km). One important stretch of constructed road is the Heritage Hotel Road-Dupe Aina-Odetoyinbo Rd(3.28km) which connects the on going dualisation of the 18km East-West By Pass Road at the Fountain University End. The second axis which connects the East-West Bye Pass (Outer Ring Road) is the Osunbukola/Mercy Land-Ajani Street-Prime Petrol Station (0.98km) to connect the Ofatedo- Ido Osun Road and connect it at the Ebunoluwa School Area
A careful study of the constructed and rehabilitated roads will reveal an interconnectedness of these roads with one another showing a deliberate, conscious, strategic and skilful road infrastructure upgrade of the State Capital. As stated earlier, the roads with asphaltic thickness of 50mm will no doubt last between 15-20 years thus giving the state value for money
This success story will forever be celebrated by all, home and abroad. Governor Aregbesola has strong grasp of the state’s issues and his immense contribution in raising the revenue profile of the state and effectively managing scarce resources to ensure that projects are executed and salaries paid promptly, have helped to lay a solid foundation for the economic empowerment and development of Edo State, and expressed a desire for continuity in the implementation, monitoring and completion of key projects in the state.
Inwalomhe Donald, a public affairs analyst writes from Benin City.