By Kehinde Aderemi
Eight-year-old Temitope, alongside his friends, jumped for joy as the heavy tractors dipped into the soil. For the children, and most of the adults, who have lived in the Abusoro area of Akure and its environs for decades, the workmen and their heavy machines were a sight to behold.
Abusoro, located off the popular Ijoka Road in the capital city, was witnessing the construction of a major road and drainage for the first time in its history.
“I am very happy. Now, the rains will no longer disturb us because the new drainage will carry the rainwater away,” said little Temitope.
Adetipe Abraham, a community leader, said the people were full of praise for Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for coming to the rescue of the community. He charged the government to also intervene in the erosion that is eating up the landscape of the area. He expressed joy that the area was witnessing a good turnaround in his lifetime.
Pa Rufus Adetimilehin expressed similar sentiments. The octogenarian moved to the area about 11 years ago after he completed the construction of his one-storey building. But for the more than one decade that the retired civil servant has spent in Abusoro, life has been everything but sweet.
For good reasons, Pa Adetimilehin and other residents of the area did not believe that the road leading to their neighbourhood would ever be graded, let alone paved.
“We have heard many stories about the government coming to construct our road in the past, with all of them turning out to be false. That was why we were cynical when we were told that the road was to be constructed,” he said.
But with the road construction nearing completion, the people of Abusoro and the several adjoining streets can begin to dream again. Business and other commercial activities are expected to pick up in Abusoro with the construction of its road network.
A similar situation exists at Iwalewa community, off Hospital Road, in the centre of Akure. Here, the residents are excited over the commencement of the construction of the community’s road.
Pa Omotosho, a resident, said members of the community were happy with the governor for remembering the area: “We are all praying for him and asking God to prosper him.”
In the Okeayo zone of Idanre, the beautiful hilly town that inspired Wole Soyinka’s poem, Idanre, the people are also jubilant, as the government has also commenced construction work on Bajare Road. The people trooped out to welcome the inspection team of government projects when it visited the site recently.
Tinder Akinsoye, a stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the town, also praised Akeredolu for rekindling the “lost hope” of the people.
He expressed satisfaction with the decision of the governor to spread development across the 18 local government areas of the state.
“Despite the fact that I belong to the opposition party in the state, I am very happy with the decisions the governor has taken so far. For instance, unlike other governors in the country who would spend precious time to rubbish whatever their predecessor had done, whether good or bad, Akeredolu has concentrated his efforts on the job that he is elected to do. That, for me, is maturity and shows a good understanding of what governance means,” Akinsoye said.
Another resident of Idanre, Damilola Akinsuyi, said, with the construction of the road, economic activities are expected to pick in the area and the town as a whole.
“Even before the construction is finished, commercial activities along Bajare Road and other adjoining streets have already picked up. You can imagine what will happen by the time the job is completed,” Akinsuyi said.
Residents informed Daily Sun that with Governor Akeredolu’s promise to ensure equity and fair play in the distribution of social amenities and other projects across the state, construction of roads, all aimed at opening up the state to better economic activities, are currently in progress in the three senatorial zones.
Mr. Segun Ajiboye, chief press secretary to the governor, told Daily Sun that in the northern senatorial district, Ogbomo/Igbadara Street and Howlet Lane, both in Ifon, were already wearing a new look, even as work has commenced on Jubilee Road, Ugbe junction, Ikare, in the same senatorial district.
In Ese-Odo, in the southern senatorial district, the reporter learnt that the state government partnered with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to construct a road to link Araromi in Ondo State with the Lekki-Akodo area of Lagos State. The state government has also started work on the Sabomi Road in the area.
Ajiboye said: “You will recall that, in his inauguration speech, Governor Akeredolu said he witnessed the deplorable condition of the people and promised to make a difference. The governor said he had listened to the voices of the people in the course of campaigns to all the nooks and crannies of the state. He witnessed, first hand, the deplorable conditions under which the people live and he is determined to make the difference. And so, with the commencement of construction works on the deplorable roads spread across the state, Governor Akeredolu has spoken loud with a clear voice that he is to be taken for his word.
The governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Infrastructure, Aminu Raimi, an engineer, noted that, “We went round the state and found out that these roads were in very bad shape. We made our recommendations to the government, and they were accepted. The governor gave speedy approval for the construction of the roads, because it is one of the cardinal programmes of this administration to open up every part of the state to better economic activities.
“The beautiful thing about these roads is that they are in areas populated by the ordinary people of our dear state. What that means is that the decision to construct the roads is not influenced by any politician or as a result of the presence of any influential person in the areas. They are areas that are populated by the ordinary people.”
Mr. David Ajayi, a public affairs analyst in Akure, said, with the construction works nearing completion in most of the areas, fresh life would be breathed into the economic activities of the people of the areas.
“We expect that soon other parts of the state will begin to reap from the determination of the present administration to put Ondo State back into global reckoning as the pride of the nation,” he said.