By: Olajide Toriola
Minister for Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola was on Thursday in Osun to inspect federal government road projects across the state just as he described the efforts of Governor Rauf Aregbesola on the projects as fantastic judging by the meagre finances of the state.
The inspection by the minister is part of the inspection of federal roads in the Ondo, Ekiti and Osun axis.
Federal road projects visited in Osun include: the 30 kilometre dualisation of Gbongan-Akoda road and Chief Adebisi Akande Trumpet Interchange Bridge, the 30.20 kilometer reconstruction and rehabilitation of Gbongan-Iwo-Oyo road.
The minister also assessed the condition of the Ifetedo-Ile Ife road as well as the Ilesa-Ife dual carriage way.
Fashola who paid a courtesy visit to the Osun Governor in his office shortly after the inspection stressed that the federal government is not in competition with any state governor concerning road projects, but that the federal just wants good roads delivered across the country.
The minister while commending the intervention of Aregbesola on the Gbongan to Akoda road and especially the Adebisi Akande Trumpet Interchange bridge stressed that the job will certainly be a masterpiece when completed.
Fashola says the visit is necessary in order to take stock of the state of federal roads and also to liase with necessary ministry officials to facilitate support for the drive of governor Aregbesola in terms of road networks.
The minister who was led round the project sights by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works, state of Osun, also charged the contractors handling the road projects to ensure a timely completion of the job.
While at the sight of the ongoing projects, the former Lagos state governor also urged the handlers of the project to do a thorough job and keep to the specified standard given to them at the beginning of the project, stressing that standard should never be compromised for any reason whatsoever.
He said, “I want to sincerely appreciate the efforts of Ogbeni Aregbesola on his intervention on federal roads in the state despite the paucity of funds.
“He is not only attempting at doing the roads, I can see that the projects have been given to competent contractors who are doing a good job.
“Road construction is a continuous thing, we will see how we can partner with you and support your efforts. I assure you that the debts on these roads will be paid very soon, the President is serious about making this easy for you.
“I am so delighted seeing the kind of mutual relationship that exists between the federal controller of works and that of housing with government officials in Osun, these people should be seen as ambassadors because they are to assist in delivering good projects for Osun.
“Let me make it clear that the federal government is not in competition with any state governor concerning road projects, we are just concerned about the delivery of quality road projects across the country. He said.
Speaking on the issue of power and housing as it affects Osun, Fashola expressed gratitude to the Osun governor, saying Osun is one of the few states in the country that out land for the federal housing project.
He said such a project will go along way in generating employment opportunities for the youths of the state adding that the federal government has recently approved the extension of the Osogbo transmission station which according to him will boost energy supply in the country.
According to the minister, “I want to sincerely thank the government of Osun for being one of the few states that gave us land for housing project, this will go a long way in enhancing building as well as reducing the rate of unemployment in Osun.
“We are also responsible for the delivery of power to Nigerians, we have recently approved the extension of the Osogbo transmission station, this will also help in boosting energy supply all around the country.
“We have got the letter from the government of Osun seeking to provide power through involvement in a solar project, I want to assure you that we are fully in support of it and I have forwarded it to the minister of finance and we are only awaiting financial approval.
The minister then promise to see to the payment of procurement cost on the roads as the federal government is committed to redeeming the expenses incurred by the state government stressing that all stakeholders involved will put hands on deck in making sure that there is smooth relationship between the state government and the ministry of Power, Works and Housing.
In his response, Governor Rauf Aregbesola commended the passion of Fashola on the welfare of the Nigerian people as well as the development of their standard of living.
The governor while appreciating the efforts of the minister since assuming the seat, urged him to see to following the correct allignment of federal roads in the state, while expressing gratitude to the minister for extending the construction of the Ilesa-Osogbo road to the railway junction in the state capital.
He also charged the federal government through the minister to intensify efforts at rehabilitating the Ilie-Ikirun-Iragbiji Road, stressing that it will be a major break as it will go a long way in Opening a lot of agricultural communities in the area.
Ogbeni Aregbesola also used the minister’s visit to solicit for transformers from the federal government, noting that the state government had supported a lot of distribution centers and would need assistance from the federal government in that regard.
He also charged Fashola to expedite action on the federal housing estate in the state, saying the state deserves it as a matter of right.
“I am grateful for your commitment to the improvement of our nation and we urge you not to look back, I have absolute confidence in your capacity to deliver.
“Concerning most of the federal roads in Osun, I want you to please follow the actual allignment in the rehabilitation of these roads, for example, the Ilesa-Osogbo road is not just from the round about at Ilesa, but from “Eti oni”.
“I know there is paucity of funds, but will be very glad if you can embark on the Ilea-Ikirun-Iragbiji road, it will be a major break through for government as it will go a long way in opening a lot of farming communities in that area.
“As you go about doing your job around the country, in whatever capacity you feel you can assist us to better the lives and living conditions of our people in terms of the social amenities which your office oversees, please do,” Aregbesola stated.