See What Fayemi Has Done To A 1934 Bridge

October 16, 2012

Bamidele Ajayi is in an expansive mood. As he speaks, you cannot but notice the sheer delight on his royal face and the excitement in his words. The thrill in the traditional ruler’s voice is understandable. The Elewu of Ewu-Ekiti, a sleepy community in Ilejemeje Local Government area of Ekiti State, is absolutely pleased with the current administration in the state.

He’s very happy with the state government for ensuring that his community isn’t cut off from the rest of the world. The administration of Dr. Kayode Fayemi has just completed the new bridge over the Ero River in Ewu community, providing a replacement for the outmoded bridge that had served the community for about eight decades.

It wasn’t Fayemi that awarded this aesthetically-pleasing bridge that’s causing excitement in Ewu, Ayetoro, Iye and other communities; that initiative was taken by the Segun Oni administration. However, like some other projects of that government, work on the bridge was abandoned midway, subjecting residents of the area to untold physical and mental trauma.

Farmers could hardly get to their farms while motorists and commuters must seek alternative paths to their destinations. But in line with his pledge to continue with the plethora of abandoned projects that littered all parts of the state when he became governor, Fayemi continued with the construction of that bridge and successfully delivered the new product to the highly elated residents. Until the completion of the new bridge, traversing that road had become a suicide mission.

Even in the best of times, the bridge could accommodate just one small vehicle – or a motorbike – at a time. There wasn’t even sufficient space for a car and a bike to move simultaneously on the narrow bridge. Whenever it rained, the story changed drastically.

The long, slim bridge simply disappeared, totally submerged by the river. Motorists and pedestrians journeying from either side must turn back and seek alternative routes. But then, who would have expected more from a bridge built for a remote Ekiti community in 1934? Now, with the completion of the new bridge, all that has changed, and the royal father is happy.

“Even a blind person will see that the difference is very, very clear,” the king enthuses. “This old bridge is very narrow and has become obsolete. But the new one is very wide, and equipped with modern amenities. There are barriers and a walkway, and motorcycles would pass conveniently alongside the vehicles without the slightest hindrance.

So we are very happy, and our prayer is that the governor and his administration will continue to be uplifted. “I have always said it, and I will repeat it: I doff my hat for the governor because he’s a governor of continuity. He doesn’t believe in the abandonment of any project. This is very good. He’s an excellent governor.” It isn’t just the traditional ruler that prays for Fayemi and his government over the hitherto bad roads in many parts of Ekitiland.

Across the state, thousands are they that daily raise their voices in supplication to the Almighty God, praying that whatever challenges that might be confronting Fayemi, his family and his government be divinely fixed just as the governor has fixed their roads.

Among such is Mr. Sule Mohammed who resides in Ise-Ekiti. He says Governor Fayemi has focused his attention on bad roads in the state and is fixing them well. “Go to Ido, Aramoko, Ijero. The roads in these towns are very good.

I’m just coming from Ijero now, and the road is very good. We commend him.” For Pa Akinyemi Joseph, who is also resident in Ise-Ekiti, Governor Fayemi is God-sent. “We thank God, and we also thank that young man, Kayode Fayemi for what he’s doing in many places here.” In Iloro-Ekiti, a community in Ijero Local Government area, Mr. Lawrence Oluwadare describes Fayemi as a good and listening governor who doesn’t like seeing people suffering.

He’s particularly impressed with the Ekiti helmsman for completing work on the Otun-Iloro Road. “No one knew that he would continue work on this road when he was sworn in. We’re happy with him. He has not forgotten the masses, and God will not forget him too.

As he has opened up this road, God will open doors of blessing for him too,” says the middle-aged man in Yoruba rhythmically blended with undiluted Ekiti/Iloro dialect. “This road used to be very impassable,” interjects his wife, Funmilayo, in what many would rightly call Yoru-Ekiti. “In the dry season, it was usually very dusty, and during the rains, it was always full of water. Nobody could use the road. But right now, it has become a very smooth ‘expressway,’ as you can see. Vehicles now move to and fro with ease.

So, as he has made movement very stress-free for us, Fayemi’s movement in life will be stress-free. Enemies shall have no power over him. No evil shall have power over his family, and trouble shall be far from his habitation and his administration. He has tried; he’s a hero.” Sunday Adunmo, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Special Projects – Roads, says that Governor Fayemi specifically declared 2012 as the year of delivery. He informs that the governor is bent on delivering projects that have direct impact on the people before the year runs its course.

But Adunmo doesn’t want to just tell you about the roads being done by his principal across Ekiti State; he wants you to see the work with your own eyes. So he suggests a drive round the state during which you can feast your eyes on the great roads that Fayemi is building. And the team from The Sun, comprising this reporter and Mr. Femi Adesina, deputy managing director, The Sun Publishing Limited, promptly concurs. One good thing about the Fayemi administration is that he’s not taking his eyes off projects started by previous administrations in the state.

He has, instead, decided to complete all of them. Many of such projects have been completed while others are at the final stages of completion. Some of the road projects that Fayemi inherited but has now completed include the New Iyin-NTA-Ilawe Bye Pass and Judges Quarters Road, a 3.21kilometre road in Ado-Ekiti awarded by the Segun Oni administration in August 2008.

Also completed is the Erinjiyan-Ilawe Road awarded in December 2009 (14.3km); Ijesa Isu-Ode Road (10km); Odo Owa-Oke Ila Road (12km); Awo-Iyin Road (6km); Ayede-Gede-Omu Road (22.5km); Otun-Iloro Road (9.4km) and the Secretariat-Awedele Road extension, a stretch of 0.26 kilometres. Besides these, the Fayemi administration is continuing work on many other road projects awarded but abandoned by past administrations in the state.

One of such projects is the 30-kilometre Ikere-Emure Road awarded by the Segun Oni administration in December 2007. That administration never completed the project until the regime was sacked in October 2010. Some other roads that the Fayemi government inherited but is currently working on are the Itawure-Okemesi-Osun State border Road (15.67km); Ado-Iworoko-Ifaki road dualization (19km); Aramoko-Ijero-Ido Road (27.56km); Oke-Iya Sharp Corner, Ara; Wuraola Gomez Street, GRA, Ado-Ekiti; Ido Ile- Okemesi Junction Road (8.5km); Irele-Ponyan Road (11.64km); Ori Apata-Adebayo Road (2.6km); Aisegba-Ijesa Isu Road (14.068km); Otun-Osan-Ora Road (9.6km); Ilemeso-Omu Road (3.6km); Oye-Are Road (12.148km); Ode Township Road (2.5km); Olokuta/Ilora Road, Ado-Ekiti and the Ikere-Ilawe Road, which covers 20-kilometres. Completing roads initiated by other people isn’t a pastime of Dr. Fayemi, however. The Ekiti State governor has initiated several road projects, many of which have been completed while the rest are in the final stages of completion.

Some of the roads started and completed in the last two years by Fayemi, the reporter learns as he drives round the state with the governor’s aide, include the Ado-Ilawe Road (11.5km); Ado-Afao Road (10.754km); Ilawe-Igbaraodo-Ibuji Road (17km); Ijan-Ise Road (17km); Ikogosi-Ipole Iloro Road (24km); Ojumose-Basiri/Police headquarters along Iyin Road; Ijigbo-Isato-Ile Abiye Road (1.8km) and the box culvert connecting Apostolic Faith Community with the Ajilosun Main Road. Several other road projects initiated by Fayemi’s government are also ongoing, this writer discovers.

These include the Omisanjana-Deeper Life Church, Ikere Road (9.3km); Oye-Ikun-Otun Road, a 43-kilometre stretch that passes through a number of communities in Oye, Ilejemeje and Moba Local Government areas; Ikere-Igbaraodo Road (19km); Igede-Awo-Ido Road (24km); Ikole-Ijesa Isu-Iluomoba Road; Ijigbo-Baptist College on Ilawe Road (3.62km); Old Garage-Ado-Ikere Road (13km); Ijero-Ipoti-Ayetoro Road (17km); Dualisation of Old Garage-Ojumose Road (0.8km) and the dualisation of Atikankan-NITEL-Baptist Road. All the roads were awarded between March and November last year.

Many of the roads are virtually completed and are very smooth. The Ijan-Ise Road, for instance, is almost done. Only a few sections are being worked on at the moment. Adunmo informs that under the immediate past administration which awarded the contract for the road, two contractors were given the job. Both, however, abandoned it. “But when Fayemi came, he took over and started the job afresh, because some of the places that were done were already failing.

We are treating the road and overlaying many sections with asphalt all over again. For three years, they were doing this stretch of 1.5kilometres, and you can see that the road is already failing.” The 24-kilometre Oye-Otun Road project, you are told, was started by the Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo administration which governed the state between 1999 and 2003.

The work had not gone beyond 17 kilometres in the Ilejemeje area when a new administration took over. Between then and when Fayemi was sworn in as governor in October, 2010, none of the succeeding administrations remembered the road. But Fayemi started work on it and the road is virtually completed now.

“The other areas that were done then, we want to overlay with asphalt so that everything will be new,” says Adunmo. “The road also has a bridge which we have just awarded for N150million. That bridge is going to be done now.”

At Erinmope, the government is replacing a collapsed bridge on a local river. The bridge, built just a few years back, is now in a dilapidated state. You are told that several souls, including four serving youth corps members, were despatched to the world beyond when the vehicles in which they were travelling leapt right from the bridge into the river below.

A new bridge is already being constructed, and Adunmo says it will be ready soon. The road that welcomes you to the state capital from Ikere is far from being smooth. The road is being reconstructed from the Old Garage area, but you wonder why the work didn’t start from the Ikere end. Adunmo explains: “The contractor is already working on the road. The Ikere end was very bad. It has failed completely, even though that same road was commissioned a few years ago.

But now, we have about 30 bad spots on that road. In some places, it stretches as far as a kilometre, in other places, 200 metres, and so on. So what we do is, allow them to stabilize, and then we move in. Our contractors are working on the road right now.

They are already laying asphalt from the Old Garage. You know, that road starts from the Old Garage area. What was done on that road initially was wrong. They would remove suitable materials and replace with unsuitable materials. No proper tests were conducted. That is the problem on the road.” Some intra-community roads in the state are also not in the best of conditions. Most roads in Ikole, for instance, are in terrible states. But according to Fayemi, his administration would face the roads in the major towns next year. “Ikole roads are bad,” the governor admits to The Sun team during a meeting at the Government House in Ado-Ekiti. “But we are focusing on that in 2013.

We are doing Ado roads now, and in 2013 we’re focusing on roads in Ikere, Ikole, Ijero and the other major towns. The rest are pretty much okay. But Ikole is big, and it’s a university town now with the federal university. So we’re paying more attention to the infrastructure there.” Ado-Ekiti is also a huge construction site right now.

The dualization of the Old Garage-Ojumose Road, the dualization of Atikankan-Baptist Road and the other projects that are ongoing in the state capital coupled with the ones that are already completed would change the face of the town like never before. Besides all these, the state government is also doing five kilometres of roads per local government.

When completed, Ekiti would have 80 brand new roads besides the ones being done directly by the state government. Right now, the new picture of Ekiti is gradually emerging. In a few months, when all the roads are completely fixed, and work on the township roads are completed, a new Ekiti would have emerged, and the term ‘rustic’ might no longer be fashionable as the preferred moniker for this homogeneous state in Nigeria’s South West.

 By Tope Adeboboye Oba
This article was first published in The Sun on 16 October, 2012.

Last modified: October 16, 2012

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