From Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Igan Road in Ago-Iwoye, in Ijebu North Local Government, Ogun State, is perhaps, the longest in the town. The road has seen better days and its remaining portion is under threat of erosion.
Recently residents of the area sighted work gang, equipment and materials, arriving to commence the reconstruction of the road. The rehabilitation is being undertaken by the House of Representatives member representing Ijebu North/Ijebu East/Ogun Waterside Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Majeed Adekoya of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
But excitement was temporarily shattered as a “stop work” directive was allegedly issued by the state government, through a letter signed by Babatunde Adesina, Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure. The letter was addressed to Adekoya:
“I am directed to apprise you that it has come to the knowledge of the Ogun State Government, the illegal reconstruction/rehabilitation of Igan Road in Ago Iwoye, which you have embarked upon without obtaining prior approval from the Ogun State Government, knowing fully well that the road is a state road.
“As a result, you are hereby instructed to stop work immediately on the road. Also, you are enjoined to submit to the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, your proposals for the reconstruction/rehabilitation work and wait for the state government’s approval before you recommence or embark on any such mission.”
The letter sparked off controversy. Adekoya in a telephone chat said: “I was taken aback when I learnt that a letter had been written by the state government, instructing me to stop the reconstruction of Igan Road.
“It is one of the constituency projects approved for me by the Federal Executive. I did not know the agency involved or the contractor handling it.
“It was when the work started that I discovered that it was the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority.” He fingered Deputy Speaker, House of Assembly, Dare Kadiri, as the brain behind the stop work directive.
I never asked govt to stop road project –Kadiri
Kadiri stated in a WhatsApp message to our correspondent: “I did not ask government to stop the project. I wasn’t even aware that the state government would stop the project. The latest news is that Ogun State Exco has approved reconstruction of Igan Road and Molusi College in Ijebu Igbo today (Tuesday).
“I informed him some weeks ago that the state will fix the roads, but he went ahead to jump on them without any approval from the state. He does not even have any design or plan of approval for the roads.”
We’re not averse to private intervention on our roads –Govt
Meanwhile, the Ogun state governor, Dapo Abiodun, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Kunle Somorin, told Daily Sun: “We welcome the private sector and individuals interested in siting projects or contributing to the rehabilitation, reconstruction or construction of infrastructural facilities to obtain clearance from the government to ensure there is no duplication of efforts with regards to their projects and programmes.
“Our inclusive governance takes cognizance of these gestures because we are all partners in progress. This clarification has become necessary in the light of a recent misunderstanding of government position on the reconstruction/rehabilitation of Igan road in Ago-Iwoye by a member of the House of Representatives, Adekoya and other political movements sharing our aspiration, encapsulated in the Building Our Future Together Agenda.
“While government welcomes and indeed commends individuals and corporate bodies interventions on our roads, schools, healthcare facilities and on the social scenes, there is the need to ensure that the reconstruction and other intervention efforts meet the expected standard for such roads, public buildings and such philanthropic efforts as set by the State agencies, like the Ministries of Works and Infrastructure; Urban and Physical Planning; Environment; Health; Education and others, hence our insistence on prior approval of government before work commences.”