When Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed was inaugurated in 2011 for his first tenure, he promised to embark on ‘operation fill the potholes’ across the state to repair all the bad roads and embark on new road projects in order to ease movement of goods and people within the state.
This was done during his first term which many Kwarans believed would be the achievement of his administration. This continued recently when the state government commissioned a N200 million asphalt plant with capacity of 25 tonnes per hour to ease maintenance and repair of damaged roads within the state.
The governor during the commissioning described it as a major milestone of his administration’s determination to create vital new infrastructure and maintain existing ones for the benefit of the people of the state and directed the State Ministry of Works and Transport to commence immediate section overlay and filling of potholes on major roads within Ilorin metropolis, the state capital and other parts of the state.
According to the governor, benefits of the plant include substantial reduction of cost of road maintenance and provision of employment to professionals and artisan who will be employed on the project and other road projects across the state.
Governor Ahmed gave an assurance that the plant will attract patronage from within and outside the state as the plant “has been tested and found to be of the highest quality standard.”
Dr Ahmed appreciated what he called the people’s patience with government over the state of roads across Ilorin metropolis, adding that the “current state of our roads and other infrastructure is attributable to wear and tear as it is also due to wilful damage by certain members of the public.”
He commended the Federal Government for accommodating most of the major federal roads in the state in the 2016 Federal Appropriation Act and resumption of work on Ilorin-Jebba road, Ajasse-Offa road and Offa bye-pass.
Unfortunately, Kwarans are still lamenting over the poor state of roads within the state as there is hardly any road motorists can ply smoothly for ten minutes without encountering potholes.
The roads, according to motorists, are giving them sleepless nights, as they have to visit mechanics each time they ply any of them.
Our correspondent reports the roads have damaged many vehicles, just as some of them are being described as ‘gutter’ due to the level of depth.
A resident of Irewolede, along Muslim cemetery at the state capital, Mr Kayode Akinlabi, decried the state of the roads within the state capital, especially the Irewolede road that leads to his house and said that even dead bodies feel the impact of the bad road.
“A lot of vehicles have been damaged on this road without government doing anything on it and the worst of it all was the day a vehicle conveying a corpse to the cemetery had an accident on the said road. I felt so bad because only God knows the cause of the person’s death and we still allowed it to suffer in death.
“If the state government cannot come to the aid of those who are still living, they should consider the corpses who are suffering on the same road,” Akinlabi said.
Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the roads that link the local government headquarters to the state capital are all bad.
Some of the roads that need serious and urgent attention are: Offa, Ilemona, Omun-Aran, Arandun, Olorunsogo – Mandate road, which lead to the constituency office of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Ola-Olu-Gaa Akanbi-Agbabiaka, which links the University of Ilorin and Olooru ward of Mooro local government road which has about 13 small towns. Another resident and Secretary of the Alliance for Democracy in Kwara, Mr Michael S. Ologunde, condemned the Geri split diamond underpass embarked upon by the state government, saying the project amounts to misplacement of priority.
“I expected the state government to expand the Geri Alimi road instead of the one they are constructing there and face major roads that link other areas to the state capital. This government has failed woefully,” Ologunde said.
The Secretary of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mr Aliyu Yemi Rasheed, said the roads are affecting their members seriously because a journey of one hour now takes longer than necessary because of the situation of the roads.
“In fact some of our members can no longer ply some routes because of the level of damage on the roads. We are appealing to the government to come to our aid by repairing the roads and we want the state government to speed up work on Geri Alimi, because it has really affected our members,” Rasheed said.
The state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Aro Yahaya, said with the Asphalt plant, the ministry and its agencies will now respond quickly to impact of erosion and road degradation across the State.
Meanwhile, Daily Trust on Sunday gathered that the Asphalt plant packed up a few months of purchase. But the Senior Special Assistant to the state governor on Media and Communication, Dr Muideen Akorede, denied that the Asphalt had packed up, saying they only stop working because of lack of bitumen to run it.
“Road projects are on-going at Kulende-UITH road, Share-Oke Ode road, Anilelerin Offa road while Babanloma township road, Olooro road, Isale koko adualere while Ilala and Oko bridge are all completed.
“Work on township roads was suspended because of lack of fund and bitumen. At the height of forex problem, it became difficult to get bitumen but now it has come down and work will commence any time from now.
“We also discovered some people are building on the drainage path, one of which is a filling station which the state government shut down after the collapse of a bridge in the area but we are assuring Kwara residents that work will resume on the roads in August,” Akorede said.