By Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
Ogun state governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has welcomed is plan by African Finance Corporation (AFC) to partner with the state government to reconstruct the all-important Attan-Lusada-Agbara in the country biggest industrial hub located in Ado-Odo/Otta Local Government Area and that of Ijebu Ode-Epe reconstruction road projects.
Gov Abiodun also declared a state of emergency on flood ravaged Isheri North on its border with Lagos State by the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and other affected areas in the State.
According to statement from the Spokesman of the governor, Mr Kunle Somorin, Prince Abiodun said Isheri flood problem was beyond the state government could handled while the deplorable state of the Atan-Lusada-Agbara road which plays host to over 70 industries manufacturing various consumer goods being distributed across the country was worse than a nightmare whenever it rains.
Notable industries in the axis include GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Unilever, Nestle Plc, Beloxxi Group, Procter & Gamble, Sunsteel Industries Ltd, Cometstar Manufacturing Company Ltd, GZ Industries, Drury Industries Limited among others.
“I stopped by at Isheri where we have lots of Estates and the state of road infrastructure is deplorable. Currently, the place is totally flooded and the entire estates have been submerged. I told the flood victims that this place require for us to declare a state of emergency and we are actually going to do that because the problem is beyond the State”, the Governor said when he received a four-man team of the African Finance Corporation led by the Senior Director, Mr. Taiwo Adeniji, in Abeokuta.
Prince Abiodun said that his government had since realized that the biggest issues for the people of the state was the state of infrastructures, especially the state ecology and bad road network.
“The area is mixed with industries and residential estates. There is a lot of development going on there and people have abandoned their houses, beautiful houses. This is because the roads are none existing, there are no drainages, houses are built on flood plains, so we need help”, he pleaded on the flooded Isheri Estate.
He said the State has a lot of infrastructural challenges being the closest to the biggest economy in the country, adding that the task now was how to provide water, electricity, good roads and other amenities to those who choose to live and invest in the State.
He commended the financial institution for showing interest in partnering with the State to address infrastructural deficiency, saying that he was happy with choices of roads which the Corporation has indicated interest in.
Residents, commuters and motorist plying the Atan-Lusada-Agbara route have for over six years been lamenting about the hardship they are facing as a result of the poor state of the road traversing the areas.
Also the industries in Atan-Agbara axis said the deplorable state of the roads has become a major hindrance to productivity, which they said had not only become a nightmare but a threat to their existence as goods worth hundreds of millions of naira are lost to frequent accidents on the road.
Efforts to get the Ogun State government to do palliative work the road had yielded no results, so far. Transporters on the route are also groaning in pains, as the lifespan of vehicles plying the route have been drastically reduced while human lives are put at risk as they travel through.
His administration, he added was poised to make roads in the state motorable for ease of doing business and for the people and goods to move with relative ease.
“I am happy you have mentioned in particular Agbara, it is the biggest Industrial hub in the country and the state of road in the area is totally unbelievable terrible. It is bad and I am glad the road is of interest to you. We have received a number of proposals on that road but this is a credible offer coming from the African Finance Corporation (AFC)”, Governor Abiodun stated.
By the new arrangement based on the State Government Private-Public Sector Partnership also to be fixed by AFC is the Ijebu -Ode -Epe road.
The Governor noted that he was pleased that, “the Ijebu Ode-Epe road is a road that is an alternative road to the Lagos Ibadan expressway. These two roads are of concern to us too. Once these roads are reconstructed, it will free up the volume of traffic on the Lagos Ibadan Expressway, especially with the population explosion in that corridor”, he said.
In his remark, the Senior Director, African Business Corporation, Mr. Taiwo Adeniji, said the Corporation in partnership with the private sector focuses more on roads, power, telecommunication and heavy industry projects and was currently developing infrastructures in 28 African countries, noting that his visit was to see how the Corporation would help in developing infrastructure that could assist in driving more development in Ogun State.
Throwing more light into AFC programmes, Adeniji in an interview said, “we focus on roads that have commercial viability, the roads that can pay for themselves. Atan-Agbara and Epe-Ijebu-Ode roads are some of the roads that can be done on Public Private Partnership basis.
“African Financial Corporation brings in its technical capacity and the finance to fix the roads and the users pay a token amount. We intend to engage with the industries within the industrial areas and discuss these roads with them. We will be transparent, we will let them know how much the roads will cost and how it is going to be paid for.
“We think that would be a better arrangement than the current situation where the roads are impassible. We have done similar projects in other African countries and the people there are better for it”, he concluded.