The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oyo State has raised the alarm over plans by the administration of Governor Seyi Makinde to spend N8billion on the proposed reconstruction of the Iwo Road Interchange axis in Ibadan, the state capital, describing it 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 juma’at service to clear the air on what his government would do in compensation for the facilities expected to be affected by the reconstruction project.
But the 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.
“The question on the lips of many people now bothers on how the cost of N8billion 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?”
But the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the criticism of the planned expansion of the interchange N8 billion by the APC is a demonstration of the party’s insensitivity to the plight of commuters in the axis.
A statement issued by Mr Akeem Olatunji, the state PDP Publicity Secretary, also accused APC of showing disregard for the state economy which, it said, had been bleeding owing to loss of several man-hours due to perennial traffic congestion at the interchange.
Adetunji said that the immediate response to the criticism by the APC on the project was to educate the party on the forward-looking approach already adopted by Governor Makinde in solving the problem of the 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 point of all travellers within Nigeria.
“It brings those coming from the North face to face with travellers across the South-West, South-South and South-East as well.
“The criticism by the APC shows a clear insensitivity to the plight of commuters who daily waste lots of man-hours trying to wade through the sea of traffic around the interchange.
“Makinde is not only on point with the decision to reconstruct Iwo Road, but has also shown his humane character by choosing to directly explain the developmental objectives to the people around the area.
“It will shock the APC to note that the people who worship at the Adogba mosque and others who will be affected by the demolition exercise have gladly adopted the governor’s decision, following the interface.
“We are reassured by the fact that the PDP government has, in less than five months, designed and started implementing a holistic solution to the perennial Iwo Road traffic problem,” the party said.