Federal Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi, has lauded Oyo State governor, ‘Seyi Makinde, for transforming the state since he took the reins of government.
Umahi, who paid a courtesy visit to the governor alongside officials of the Ministry, at the Governor’s Office, Secretariat, Ibadan, on Thursday, described Makinde as great evidence in infrastructure development, noting that the governor is one of the few governors putting the welfare of his people first.
According to Umahi, Governor Makinde deserved to be commended highly for not waiting to get a commitment for refund from the Federal Government before going ahead to fix federal roads in the state, adding that the interest and well-being of the people must always be first for those in government.
In his speech, Governor Makinde, appreciated Umahi for his kind words, stating that his appointment as Minister of Works was well-deserved and that he had no doubt that Umahi had the wherewithal to achieve success in the task, as his records as governor in Ebonyi State spoke for him.
The governor equally stated that his administration would always be committed to developing road infrastructure in the state, noting that once the state considers any federal road central to its economy, it would not be deterred by whether or not the Federal Government is ready to refund immediately.
He said his government had demonstrated that resolve with the reconstruction of the 34 kilometres Oyo-Iseyin Road, which according to him, would be commissioned by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Governor Makinde, who also commended the Federal Director of Highways in the state for cooperating with his administration, said: “I have been here for four years. For us, if a road is important to our economy, we just go ahead and do it. An example is the Oyo-Iseyin Road. It is a federal road, and it took us two years to get the approval. But the road is passing through our agribusiness hub. I visited the Minister of Works several times then. We had gone through the process of awarding the contract and we were going to spend up to N9bn and we had set aside the money.
“So, they gave us the approval to fix it but they said we should follow the federal standard. We gave it to the contractor and added an extra N1bn to the project and I am happy to tell you that the 34.85km project is going to be commissioned on September 15th.
“Former President Obasanjo is coming to commission the project. It will demonstrate to the country that for whatever is important to the people, one should not pass the buck. We are not asking for a refund straight away, but the records are there.
“Also, the one you mentioned from Ibadan to Ilesha, Ife Road, the road linking our airport. When we came in, we said we would need to fix the road. So, we approached the Federal Government, and it became an issue of funding.
“We said we would fund it and get a refund from the contractor as funds became available to the Federal Government. The bottom line is that the road is very important to us. 19km is on our own side but the one we awarded is about 5.6km, which we paid for.”
Speaking earlier, former Governor Umahi said he was in the South-West to inspect Federal Government infrastructure projects.
He said: “I am very proud to call you Engineer Seyi Makinde, the governor of Oyo State. I am happy to be here. Let me use this opportunity to congratulate you on your well-deserved reelection victory and I am not surprised with what you have been doing, being an Engineer.
“Since you have been in the saddle, anyone who comes to Oyo State will see the massive transformation. Congratulations.
“I am touring all the projects of the Federal Government in the South-West. I have had meetings with all the contractors handling our projects across the country. After such meetings, I needed to physically inspect those projects, offer advice and have total information of what is going on and also ascertain the quality of the work being done.
“Let me first commend you for the jobs you are doing in Oyo State, and I will continue to say this; we have what we call the Law of Evidence and Law of Witness. You have become our Law of Evidence and Law of Witness in alleviating the sufferings of the people without saying this is a federal or state road.”