Saki stood still on Thursday, January 27, 2022. The occasion? The one they have come to know as the engineer of modern Oyo state was coming to the Oke-Ogun zone for yet another commissioning. This time it was the dualized 9.7km Saki township road. Traders, artisans, students, farmers, traditional leaders, people of all walks of life showed up and lined the streets to welcome the people’s governor. The atmosphere was electrifying.
This was not the first time Governor Seyi Makinde would be coming to Saki in his 32 months as governor. In fact, a person who says that the Seyi Makinde administration is Oke-Ogun’s time to shine would not be too far from the truth. Last year, the former OYSADEP headquarters which was reconstructed and now houses the Oyo State Agribusiness Development Agency headquarters was commissioned in Saki. Also last year, the 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin road was commissioned.
All of these point to the fact that there is a deliberate attempt to create an alternative economic block outside of Ibadan. And as Governor Makinde stated in his remarks during the commissioning of the Saki township road, the foundation of engineering a modern Oyo state is a viable road network.
“When we say we are engineering a modern Oyo state, this is what we mean. We mean we are designing and building a modern Oyo state. The foundation of that design is a proper road network.”
Indeed, a look at the completed, ongoing and proposed road projects in Oyo state show that there is a strategic plan in place to link up the various zones for economic prosperity. For example, it goes without saying that the 65km Moniya-Ijaiye-Iseyin road opens a direct link between Oke-Ogun and Ibadan. But beyond that, it also provides the much-needed linkage between the food basket of the state and transport hubs. The airport and Inland Dry Port can both be accessed through Ibadan. Little wonder that the proposed Ilutuntun Business District is being sited at Moniya.
But that’s not all. The ongoing 21km Airport-Ajia-New Ife express road with a spur to Amuloko provides a vital link to the airport. This road links Amuloko to Dagbolu (the boundary of Oyo and Ogun states). It is also a link to the Lagos-Ibadan expressway through the Olorunsogo bridge. Surely, this makes transportation of goods and services easier.
Also, the ongoing 34.5km Iseyin-Oyo road, links the Oyo zone to the Oke-Ogun zone. Bearing in mind that the Oyo zone is home to the ongoing Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub, putting an interesting spin on this project. The Fasola Agribusiness Industrial Hub will house large-scale processing facilities that are desperately needed by aggregated farmers in the Oyo zone. While there are plans to create a similar facility in Oke-Ogun, the Iseyin-Oyo road ensures that in the meantime, it would take just about 15-20 minutes to travel between the two zones on this road.
Then there is the soon-to-be flagged off 76.7km Iseyin-Fapote-Ogbomoso road. Not only will this create a link between the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Ogbomoso campus and the newly created LAUTECH Iseyin Campus which hosts the College of Agricultural Sciences and Renewable Natural Resources, but it is an answer to the prayers of members of the communities along that axis.
In addition to all these, the Seyi Makinde administration is also working on strategic internal linkages between towns and villages that will ultimately terminate in the roads that link to the airport and ports. The 45.3km Saki-Ogbooro-Igboho road, 12.5km dualisation of Challenge-Odo Ona Elewe-Apata road, 12km Apete-Awotan-Akufo road, the dualisation of 7.3km Agodi Gate-Old Ife-Adegbayi junction with a spur to Alakia Airport, Ibadan, the 5.2km Gedu-Oroki-Sabo-Asipa road, and the just-completed 7.2-kilometre Idi Ape-Basorun-Akobo-Odogbo Barracks road are just a few examples.
Without a doubt, Governor Seyi Makinde’s administration is engineering a modern Oyo state by building vital road networks. As Makinde would always say, road constructions and rehabilitations are very important because where roads go, accelerated development follows. Little wonder that communities all over Nigeria keep celebrating administrations that prioritise road projects.