Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, said he could have single-handedly constructed a road to Ajia, his village in Ibadan in 2014, but for the administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Senator Abiola Ajimobi, that frustrated his plan.
The governor said the paper work had been completed and the budget had been drawn, but the then administration did not give approval for the construction of about three-kilometre road that would have linked Ajia village with Ibadan-Ife Road.
Makinde disclosed this in his address during a reception organised for him by the Ajia and Its Environs Descendants’ Union under the leadership of Mr. Amos Fakayode, an engineer, held at Cocoa Culture, in front of Pa Olatubosun Makinde Media and Agro Allied Complex, Ajia, Ibadan at the weekend.
He explained that the time he wanted to do the road construction in conjunction with another illustrious son of Ajia, Pa Theophilus Akinyele, who is a retired head of service in Oyo State, was about the same time the popular Aleshinloye Market got burnt in Ibadan in 2014 and it was discovered that the fire service station in the market could not respond to the inferno because of lack of water.
Makinde stated that he decided to sink a borehole for the fire service station so that the fire fighters would have access to water to adequately respond to such disaster in the future. He added that water had been reached and at a time finishing touches were being put to the borehole, some sponsored hoodlums stormed the fire service station, vandalised the borehole drilling equipment and brought stones, which they used to fill up the borehole.
According to Makinde, he did not want what happened to the drilling equipment at Aleshinloye to happen to construction equipment that would have been used to construct the road to Ajia, hence the reason the road construction could not be done since then. He, however, promised that his administration would commence work on the construction immediately the dry season begins.
His words: “Pa Theophilus Akinyele is here, and privately we wanted to construct the road. In fact, we had done the budget. But the government in power then did not give us approval to do it. We wanted to defy the approval and construct the road at all cost at a time.
“But there was a time that Aleshinloye Market was razed. When I went to commiserate with the traders, I asked them why the inferno could not be contained on time, and they said the fire service station did not have water. Then, I made arrangements to sink a borehole for them.
“The borehole had been dug and water had been found. They wanted to begin the casing when hoodlums went to attack them. The hoodlums vandalised the borehole drilling machine and filled the borehole with stones.
“Then, we did not want hoodlums to vandalise equipment of anybody because we wanted to construct road from Ajia Junction to Ajia community.
“But today, as God lives, and the support of majority of people of this state, we are in government today. The road we wanted to construct, will be constructed.”
Makinde also stated that he had “started talking with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). They have given us their conditions to upgrade Ibadan Airport to a facility where bigger aircrafts would be landing and taking off. This means, all the communities around the airport will increase in value because cargo business will start in the airport soon, and horticultural ouputs will also be airlifted from Ibadan Airport.
“We will do it in such a way that people that are coming from Osun, Ekiti, and Ondo States would not have to go to Lagos to board aircraft. This will be an opportunity for us.”
Makinde also assured his kinsmen that the bridge that connects Alakia Airport with Ajia would be made a priority project for the bridge and the road to be constructed, adding that the bridge was supposed to have been done by the immediate past administration through the World Bank-Assisted Ibadan Urban Flood Management Project (IUFMP). He promised that the project would be reviewed this month.
Makinde also used the story of his ancestors to counsel the youth in Ajia community and the entire Oyo State to key into the free education policy of his administration for them to be successful in life, adding that their backgrounds should not prevent them from making it in life.
He also told a story of his paternal grandmother, who was a traditional palm oil maker (iya to fo epo ninu eku), bean cake maker (iya alakara) and porridge seller (iya alasaro), saying: “Whatever God has predestined for a person, will surely come to pass in the life of the person. Who could have said the grandson of a school food seller, grandson of bean cake seller, the grandson of traditional palm oil producer, would be the first to become governor that Ajia would produce?
“The present administration in Oyo State has introduced free education policy because I enjoyed free education in Oyo State, and it contributed to where I am today. So, the youths of Ajia in particular, and the youths of Oyo State in general, if you optimise the opportunities being given to you by the government through education for you to become successful in life, the sky is the starting point.”