The Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, pledged his support to the Oyo State governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, over the state’s construction and completion of dualised federal roads.
Umahi made this pledge during his courtesy visit to Seyi Makinde on Friday, 31st of August, at the Governor’s Office at Agodi, Ibadan, as part of the Minister’s working visit to the South West geopolitical zone.
According to the Minister of Works, Umahi, Ile-Ife Ire Akari roads, Oyo-Ilorin roads and Lagos-Ibadan express roads will be revisited, upgraded to concrete and executed more efficiently and effectively.
Umahi lauded Engnr Seyi Makinde’s capacity to attract many road projects into the state despite being in the opposition.
Umahi also commended the governor for staying committed to the welfare of the people, noting that it aligns with the vision and mission of the Tinubu-led administration. Hence, the support he promised to Governor Makinde.
“You are getting too much, Your Excellency; think of what you would have gotten if you were in APC.
“That is what we have for you, and because you are my person and a personal friend of the President, and you are a man who, after the elections, is ready to work, we should encourage more Engineers to come into politics.
“We are not romantic; we are very professional, and that is what the governor is doing here.
“I want to commend you, sir, for welcoming us.
“Your commitment to the people is why I am here. We will partner with you and work with you. It is one government, Umahi expressed assuredly.
Challenges of road project execution
David Umahi explained how Nigeria’s funding and budgetary system has been a major drawback to completing major projects.
According to Umahi, funding slows the pace of road project execution because what is approved in the budget is usually lower than the estimated cost.
“There is still the issue of funding. The funding is very good but doesn’t allow us to move at the desired pace.
“Where in a year, the allocation could be N2bn. That 2bn is less than 2km of road.
“You now find out that it only covers 8km. That is unacceptable.
Umahi, therefore, assured that he would take the matter of funding and budgetary allocation up with the National Assembly.
“Before me is the 2023 budget where you have a 10 billion project and are putting 150 million.
“I cannot award such a project.
“So we have to sit down and discuss because when you award it, you put a lot of pressure on the federal government, and the federal government will not be able to tell their story.
“So, if 150 million is what you can do every year, we approximate it to 600 million.
“By the federal government’s standard, that is less than a kilometre.
“So we award the one Kilometer, and we face it.
“If it is 10 billion, then we phase it into 10 phases to tell our story.
On the road projects in Ibadan
Umahi named a few projects in Ibadan that his administration as minister promised to complete.
He also revealed that he would be introducing the use of concrete for road construction
“We will have an Ibadan-Uyo dual carriage, which is 43 kilometres. It has not yet started.
“We are going to redesign for concretes. I am going to do a meeting with the DMO to find out what we have.
“If it is concrete, we will go home and sleep. And if we want to achieve the same smoothness, we can overcoat the concrete with two-inch asphalt. That is like putting a chandelier on top of the road pavements.
“They say the Ibadan axis is finished. We have the reconstruction of the Ile-Ife- Ire Akari dual carriage road.
“That is the between Osun State and Uyo State. Its dualisation is 108km.
“I have a problem with how we engaged with the reconstruction of the dualised road.
“I am going to redo it.
“When road dualization exists, it is very unprofessional to start both sides simultaneously.
“I recommend engaging one lane and letting the traffic use one lane.
“We finish one lane, even with the funding challenges, and then we can now come over to the other one.
“So, at any point, the people can at least have a good road on one side. You can go over to the bad one if there is a hold-up.
“That is what I am going to rearrange so that all dualised roads that are not up to 20 to 30 per cent done, we will at least finish one.
“This one is 10 per cent done, and I will introduce concrete.
Finally, Ibadan (Ogbomoso)-Ilorin is dualised and 80 per cent completed. This is RCC.
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