The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State have clashed over the proposed reconstruction of the Iwo Road, Ibadan interchange which will cost the state government N8 billion.The APC described the project, which Governor Seyi Makinde revealed at the weekend as “a misplaced priority as well as an attempt to squander government resources.”
Makinde had on Friday announced plan to immediately embark on the project which would be completed in about one year as a measure to decongest the area and also give the physical outlook of Ibadan a facelift. The governor stated this at Adogba Central Mosque where he had joined the congregation for the weekly Jumat service to clear the air on what his government would do in compensation for the facilities expected to be affected by the reconstruction project.
Oyo APC in a statement issued at the weekend by its Assistant Publicity Secretary, Prince Ayobami Adejumo, said that the present administration was now popular for building castle in the air in demonstration of its gross incompetence and avowed desire for mismanaging public funds.
The statement read: “The good people of the Pacesetter State were taken aback by the action of Gov. Makinde last Friday when he chose a mosque as the place to announce the plan to do a multi-billion project. Without any record of presentation at the State Executive Council meeting or consideration and approval by the appropriate organs of government as required by law, the governor reeled out a contract sum for another white elephant project.
“The question on the lips of many people now bothers on how the cost of N8 billion was arrived at even when no picture of the proposed picture has been shown to the world. What is the scope of the reconstruction project and where are the engineering designs that culminated in the contract sum? Was there any due diligence before the cost was arrived at and when did the consultants carry out their survey of the proposed site? Where is the Bill of Quantity (BoQ) and when did the relevant office advertise for Tender to be made?
“Another pertinent question is: Why the desperation, on the part of Gov. Makinde, to commit a bogus amount of money to any construction work in an area that would be covered by two different projects already awarded by the federal government? There are strong indications that the ongoing Lagos-Ibadan Expressway rehabilitation project would take care of the expansion of the Lagos/Iwo Road Interchange while again the recently awarded rehabilitation of Ibadan-Ife Expressway project would cover the remaining portion of the axis.
“As it has become the usual practice of Makinde administration to put the cart before the horse, the people of the state cannot just watch while a government without any blueprint or action plan would continue to experiment after five months in office. So far, the only achievement of the current administration is the rebranded exercise books distributed recently with pomp and ceremony.
“It would have been better to follow up on the exercise books distribution with provision of pieces of furniture and release of running grants for the use in public primary and secondary schools across the state. Rather the state government embarked on loan bazaar as it awarded some supply contracts without anything to show for the billions of naira being spent on daily basis.
“As if this was not enough, Gov. Makinde again took to the mass media recently to announce his plan to construct a new Gbagi Market on the popular Exhibition Ground in Sanngo, Ibadan at a time experts blamed the vehicular traffic challenges bedevilling the state capital on the existing market places in the heart of the city. If not sheer display of incompetence and the unbridled quest to mismanage public funds, there is not reason for this kind of desperation for contract awards by the present administration.”
But the PDP in a reaction said the APC’s criticism was a sign of insensitivity to the economy which it said has been bleeding as a result of loss of time by motorists and commuters using the interchange.
In a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Engr. Akeem Olatunji, the party said: “Our immediate response to the show of shame by the APC, whose governor, Abiola Ajimobi, spent eight years romancing the Iwo Road problem was to show pity and educate them on the forward-looking approach already adopted by Governor Makinde in solving the problem of that Interchange.
“Let us place it on record that Iwo Road is not just a segment of a road located within the Oyo State Capital. It is an interchange that has become the melting pot of all travellers within Nigeria as it brings those coming from the North face-to-face with travellers across the South West, South-South and South-East as well.
“The criticisms by the APC show clear indication that the disregard shown to that road by the immediate past government led by the party was sanctioned by leaders of the APC, a clear show of insensitivity to the plight of commuters who daily waste lots of man-hours trying to wade through the sea of traffic around the interchange.
“We do not know when APC elements became the record keepers of the Oyo State Executive Council, such that they know which contract has been debated, approved or tabled.“We as the party that sired the performing government in Oyo State have made necessary checks and discovered that Governor Seyi Makinde is not only on point with the decision to reconstruct Iwo Road, he has also shown his humane character by choosing to directly explain the developmental objectives to the people in Iwo Road.
“It would shock the APC to note that the people who worship at Adogba Mosque and others who would be affected by the demolition exercise have gladly adopted the Governor’s decision following the interface.
“We are reassured by the fact that contrary to the profligate, mindless and clueless administration foisted on Oyo State by the APC in the last eight years, which could not proffer a single solution to the challenge of Iwo Road, the government of the PDP has in less than five months designed and started implementing a holistic solution to the perennial Iwo Road Traffic problem.
“We can only commend Engineer Makinde and ask him to ignore the rantings of the APC, which is likened to the noise of an imbecile, signifying nothing.”