From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Oyo State Governor Seyi Makinde said at least seven road projects, totalling 128.5 kilometres, which were flagged off by his administration in 2020, will be completed and commissioned this year as he reassured the people that he will continue to put their interest first.
He gave the assurance in his address during an inter-faith service to usher in the new year 2021 for civil and public servants in the state, which was organised by Office of the Head of Service in the state and was held on Wednesday at the state secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.
The Bishop of Methodist Church Nigeria, Ogbomoso Diocese, Right Reverend Ademola Moradeyo, and the Chief Imam of Oyo State Government House Mosque, Alhaji Ahmad Rufai-Bello, delivered sermons on the occasion, which was graced by top government functionaries, and labour leaders.
According to him: ‘We are starting this year in good spirits. We are confident that this year, the seeds we planted in the previous year will yield good fruits. We are looking forward to commissioning various projects that we started last year.’
The road projects billed for completion and commissioning this year, Makinde said, include 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin Road; 21km Airport-Ajia-New Ife Express Road with a spur to Amuloko in Ibadan; 12km Apete-Awotan-Akufo road in Ibadan; three-kilometre Under G Stadium-LAUTECH-2nd Gate Road in Ogbomoso; 5km Gedu-Oroki-Sabo-Asipa Road in Oyo town; 12.5km dualisation of Challenge-Odo Ona Elewe-Apata Road in Ibadan; and 10km Saki Township Road dualisation.
‘Asides these, we will also be commissioning the remodelled Lekan Salami Sports Complex, Adamasingba, Ibadan. The four bus terminals at Iwo Road, New Ife Road, Challenge and Ojoo in Ibadan as well as the bike and bus terminal at Agodi Gate, Ibadan, will be commissioned. The Akesan Market razed down by an inferno in January 2020 will also be commissioned this year,’ he said.
‘The general consensus is that we have started well. I have heard people say, we hope he continues like this. Well, let me remind you that when our administration took over just about one year and six months ago, our promise was to serve. We remain unwavering in that resolve. We shall continue to serve the people of Oyo State and put their interests first.
‘For those of us in government, let us not forget this pledge that we made to the people of Oyo State. I give the same advice as I did during the inter-faith service to usher in 2020. As you begin this year, 2021 ask yourself: in what way will I be a better person at my job this year? This honest self-examination and appraisal and acting on this appraisal are what will make 2021 better than 2020.’
Governor Makinde, who called for one-minute silence for his predecessor in office, Senator Abiola Ajimobi; as well as a former Commissioner for Environment, Kehinde Ayoola; his mother Abigail Makinde, and others that lost their lives in 2020, stated: ‘We heard some people wondering last year if we will continue paying salaries promptly given the hardship occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic meltdown. Well, by the grace of God, we are not owing to any salaries. We even surprised them more by paying 13th month salaries for the second time running at a time when other states are owing to their workers. In fact, we have spent about N9.3 billion to pay pensions and gratuities owed by the previous administration so far and we will continue to pay to clear up the backlog.
‘Also, as you may be aware, there is a backlog of outstanding promotions from 2016. This will be addressed this year. Furthermore, deserving civil servants will have the opportunity to get up to grade level 17 under our watch. Let me reassure you that we will continue to prioritise the welfare of the civil servants in Oyo State.
‘Yes, we are expecting that 2021 will come with its own challenges. Two things that are making the headlines right now all over the country and indeed Oyo State is the COVID-19 pandemic which started last year and cases of insecurity. I want to assure you that our administration is on top of the matter.’
The Head of Service, Mrs Ololade Agboola, earlier in her address, commended the governor for reinstating over 900 civil servants dismissed by the previous administrations, saying: ‘They have been placed back on a nominal roll, while those with favourable court judgments are having negotiation on payment of arrears of salaries due to them. Just recently, another committee was set up to look into the incessant appeals that were submitted by more people who felt they were unjustly treated.’
Agboola, also warned workers to brace up and be more committed to the discharge of their duties, warning that every infraction would not go unpunished. According to her, ‘all forms of misconduct, such as docility, nonchalant attitude, lateness to work, truancy, disloyalty and others will not be tolerated. This administration is poised to recognising meritocracy and only workers, who distinguished themselves as outstanding, will be given the due recognition.’