Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo, writes that the Osun State Government under the previous administration, has carried on with its infrastructural development across the state, this time, reaching out to the Osogbo people
Perhaps one of the reasons the immediate last Osun State Governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has remained in the good books of Osun people is the massive infrastructural development that the state has witnessed since the governor assumed mantle of leadership in November, 2010.
At the twilight of his handing over as governor to the incumbent, Aregbesola commissioned four projects as part of the activities marking his exist in government and handing over to his successor, Governor Gboyega Oyetola.
The commissioned projects were: upgraded Technical College, Oba Sir Adesoji Aderemi East Bypass, Obafemi Awolowo Motorway and
Fakunle/Unity High School, all in Osogbo. Prominent among the projects is the Awolowo Motorway which is the dualisation of 40km Osogbo–Ikirun–Ila odo, Kwara State Boundary. The road construction projects created over 5,000 direct jobs in the state and 12,000 indirect jobs for welders, plumbers and bricklayers, as well as food vendors.
Though quite a number of projects are being undertaken by Osun State Government, but clearly, the flagship project of the massive investment in upgrading of infrastructural amenities in the state in recent months, especially in Osogbo, the state capital, is the dualisation of the 45 kilometer Osogbo-Ikirun-Kwara State Boundary road.
Since the state government signed a N17.8 billion contract agreement with SAMMYA Construction Company Limited for the dualisation of the 45kilometer road, the project segmented into three of Osogbo-Dagbolu (International market) to Alamisi Market in Ikirun (9.52 kilometers); Osogbo (Old-garage) to Ikirun junction road (20.5 kilometers) and Ikirun-Ila Odo- Kwara State Boundary road (16.55 kilometers), the state government has been receiving a lot of commendations from both the people living in the state and road users using the ever busy Osogbo-IIorin road.
In line with the assurance given by the former Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Transport, Late Engineer Oladepo Amuda, that the project would be completed within 24 months, with the explanation that the project was not the usual direct contract award, but a contractor-financing transaction which came out of the confidence of the contractor in the previous administration and that the money for the contract would be repaid across 36 months after the completion of the project,
The contractor, SAMMYA Construction Company Limited has not only demonstrated its capabilities in executing the project technical wise, but it has also displayed a rather solid financial war chest that only few construction companies
can boast of, thereby clearing any doubt about the success of the project.
It should be noted that a development financial institution, The Infrastructure Bank Plc (TIB) which is the Transaction Advisor, Fund Arranger and Financier of the project is also working in conjunction with the construction company and other stakeholders to fund the project.
The Chairman, SAMMYA Construction Company Limited, Mr Sammy Adigun, at the inception of the project, had not only promised to meet up with the 24 months deadline for the project with the assurance that a lot of hands are being employed to ensure the deadline was not missed, but also revealed that the company had signed a local content undertaking, such that the labour and materials would be sourced locally up to 60 per cent, stressing that the actual target was 90 per cent to provide jobs for the people of the state.
He noted that the promises made had been fulfilled, just as he thanked the outgone governor for the job done, adding that he was happy to be the contractor, as well as development partner in the project.
Adigun added that for executing the project, the administration of Aregbesola has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to fully implementing its aggressive road development plan for the state, which, he said, would facilitate the rapid development of the state.
The MD/CEO of The Infrastructure Bank, Mr. AbdulRazaq Oyinloye, said: “Infrastructure financing in Nigeria has received a significant boost with the innovative financing brought to bear to ensure that the Osogbo-Ilaodo road project is well-funded and completed on-schedule.
“The project is a clear statement of intent by the bank to continue to be at the forefront of attracting urgently-needed capital
into Nigeria’s infrastructure space”.
Several months down the line since work commenced on the multi-billion naira project however, opinions of people of the state about the performance of the contractor on the job has been nearly the same, with people praising the technical knowhow that has never been seen in the state before now being employed by SAMMYA in executing the project.
In her remarks after the commissioning, the daughter of the late sage Awolowo’, Rev. Mrs Omotola Oyediran said: We are celebrating an enduring legacy, a legacy that has been through storms, insult and many other challenges.
“Aregbesola has done what Awolowo aimed to do. The dream of Awolowo was to ensure every Nigerian is literate. All what
Aregbesola have been doing is in fulfilment of Awolowo’s dream. Aregbesola’s behavior is similar to that of Awolowo. He has
transformed Osun in spite of the financial and political challenges.
I thank God for Aregbesola’s success.”
Commenting on the project vis-a-viz the quality of technology being employed by SAMMYA, a trader at Igbona Market in Osogbo, Madam Sinatu Layoonu, said the contractor SAMMYA has proven it is capable of handling the job with the deployment of brand new machineries for road construction, adding that the workers handling the project have also demonstrated sense of dedication to the admiration of people of the state.
“Many of these machines that SAMMYA workers are using for the construction are new to many of us in Osogbo. They are not only new, but are also very appropriate, at least to some of us, who have never seen such huge construction machines, for the quality of work people of the state are expecting them to deliver. We in deed very grateful to the governor for given such a project to a serious company like SAMMYA”, she said.
Similarly, a shop owner at Ayeitoro area of the state capital, Chuks Ezemokuai, noted that despite the rain, the uncompromising spirit of SAMMYA has ensured work progress steadily on the project.
He added, “when the company initially commenced on the project and the contractor, SAMMYA Construction started work on the road, I, like many others doubted the capability of the construction firm because we were not familiar with that name, but it was not long before we were all proved wrong and SAMMYA won our hearts with the quality of machines and the expertise of its men constructing the road. Indeed, we are pleased with SAMMYA.”
Boost for Indigenes
Speaking on how activities of the contractor handling Osogbo-Ila Odo Kwara Boundary road, SAMMYA, has aided businesses of petty traders especially those that have their shops close to the construction site, Mrs. Beatrice Olawoore opined that many of petty traders have immensely benefitted from the on going project because the construction workers have been patronising them.
She added: “many of us petty traders have benefitted from the presence of SAMMYA’s men on this road because they buy a lot from us ranging from snacks to drinks and stuffs like that, they have aided our business very well. I believe this is part of the gains of this on going construction work, at least if the construction is not going on here, these men will not be around here and our sales would have remained what it was”.
Similarly, answering questions on how the construction work has improved youth empowerment, one of the drivers recruited by SAMMYA from the state, Yunus Adegboyega from Oba Ile, a town in Olorunda local government area of Osun state, explained: “I got a hint that SAMMYA was employing drivers and I approached its office. That was how I got the job.
“The salary is very attractive and there was training for all the workers. Besides empowering us financially, SAMMYA is also
exposing us to skills in our various areas that are very new to many of us. The number of youths from Osun state that have been employed into various departments and sections of the company since the work began on the road is well over 500”.
Corroborating views of
Adegboyega on empowerment, but on a general note, a construction materials supplier based in Osogbo, Francis Fadoyin commended SAMMYA for sourcing construction materials from with in the state.
Fadoyin said business of many construction materials dealers have improved greatly since SAMMYA commenced work in the state capital. “True to the promise of the chairman of the company, when the contract was awarded that, construction materials for the project would besourced locally; the workers are actually sourcing materials from people dealing in the materials in the state. We can only hope this will be sustained and other contractors working on projects within the state will emulate SAMMYA and buy materials from people dealing in them from the state”.
Counting the Gains
While counting the gains of Osun massive investment in infrastructural development vis-a-viz the construction of Osogbo-Ila Odo-Kwara Boundary road, a labour leader in the state, Comrade Kazeem Oladepo challenged administrators in the country to borrow a leaf, not only from the model adopted to finance the project, but also the sheer dedication to duties which he said the contractor has shown in making sure that the work is done to specifications.
Speaking further, the employee of state Ministry of Health, added that the construction of the road has demonstrated the readiness of government to place the Osun in the league of developed states and the choice of SAMMYA, a pointer to the resolve of Aregbesola’s administration to permanently etch his name in the minds of people in the state as a governor that lift the state to enviable heights in terms of infrastructural development.
A traditional ruler, Oba Rauf Adedeji, the Akinrun of Ikirun, the headquarters of Ifelodun local government area of Osun state, one of the towns through which the road transverses, commended both state government and SAMMYA Construction Limited for making the project a good reference point for the development-driven administrators in the country.
For the monarch, the dream to transform the state’s infrastructural amenities as conceived by the then governor was actually being given a life by the contractor handling the project, charging all those involved in the project to ensure that the same vigor with which they commenced the work with is retained throughout the duration of the project.
In his own reaction, the founder of Sword of Spirit Ministry, Eweta, Pastor Israel Wemimo said the major gain the state is recording through the ongoing Osogbo-Kwara Boundary project is in the area of empowerment.
He declared that those youths in Ikirun and adjoining communities, who could not be absorbed by the contracting firm handling the work at the moment, eagerly awaits when the contractor will shift full attention to
the part of the project that traverses the community.
Similar to the view expressed by this clergy man is the one held by Chief Tadese Esuleke of Oloba Compound, Osogbo, who was of the opinion that, besides giving the state a facelift, employment opportunities created through the project and the perceived readiness of the contractor, who he said was not planning to use and dump those employed, but in addition, empower them by given them training in specific vocations, is simply the continuation of youth empowerment efforts of the previous government.
He said: “Many youths in the state, who could not get opportunity in OYES are beginning to turn their attention to SAMMYA, the contractor working on Osogbo-Kwara Boundary road. Honestly, this work is assisting in mopping our streets of these hitherto idle young men. You can call it an indirect way by government and its partner the contractor to empower young ones.”
Speaking on behalf of students’ movement in the state, a former Osun State Chairman of the Joint Campus Committee (JCC) of National Association Nigerian Students (NANS), Comrade Bosede Safety said: “People are saying youth empowerment is one of the gains recorded by the state through the project of Osogbo-Kwara Boundary road but beyond that fact, I think the preservation of lives and properties of the people that will use that road. The rate of accident on that road before this construction work is relatively high. Lives and properties have been lost and that will have to stop now with the expansion and reconstruction work going on.”