The outgoing Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Mimiko, has said his administration spent a total of N54.76 billion on road construction in the eight years of his administration.
He said the amount was besides outstanding financial commitments to contractors handling various road projects in the state.
Mr. Mimiko has been largely criticised by opposition parties for failing to provide extensive road infrastructure for the people, particularly those linking rural communities.
They had cited potholes along roads in Akure despite huge funds available to the government in the last eight years.
The parties, especially the All Progressives Congress which won the November governorship election, made road construction and rehabilitation as one of its campaign focus.
However, Mr. Mimiko stated on Thursday at the official commissioning of NEPA -Arakala Road Project, Bus Shelters and Terminals in Akure, that his administration had performed well above his predecessors in the area of road construction.
The governor revealed that the Arakala dualisation which was being commissioned ,was to be undertaken alongside with the dualisation of Oba- Adesida road in 1977,but was jettisoned for lack of political will to relocate the ancient buildings, shrines and artefacts along the corridors of this project.
Mr. Mimiko noted that therefore pegged the developmental stride for over 30 years as successive administrations did not proceed with it.
Although NEPA-Arakale road and other projects commissioned had been completed since 2013 and 2014, the commissioning barely two months to the end of his tenure may be a way to highlight his achievements ahead of the governor’s handing over.
“A total number of 439 houses were enumerated, and compensation totalling N987,358,985 only was paid to the affected landlords, to successfully dualise the Arakale road,” he said.
“We are proud to be part of history and a government that benchmarked good road infrastructure, consistent street light, consistent bus shuttle facility, geometric increase of dualised roads from 2 to 8 while another one is just commencing at Ikare Akoko.
“I wish to emphasize at this junction that while we were working on this road, we were also fixing other roads simultaneously especially within the Akure metropolis.”
Mr. Mimiko however appealed to the people of the state to see the roads as a collective heritage that should be protected by all.
Addressing the gathering earlier, the Commissioner for Works, Gboye Adegbenro, stressed the fact that successive administrations had tried since 1976 to dualise the roads, but found it impossible due to the opposition of the landlords and traditional chiefs.
“The road is home to ancient shrines and sites revered by the Akure people,” he said, noting that the sacredness of the road accounted for the delays in constructing it.
“Also, no provision for walkways and parking lot along the road resulting in heavy human traffic, coupled with shops extending so close to the road.”
“1100 by 600x150mm thick cover drain of 4.8km length was constructed for provision of adequate drainage system and to serve as pedestrian walkways along both sides of the road,” Mr. Adegbenro said.
“And intervals service ducts were constructed for service lines that may likely be drawn along the corridor in future; 200mm thick stone base and 90mm thick asphalt was laid on road surface to accommodate heavy axis loads.”
Other facilities commissioned include 14 bus shelters, two bus terminals, and three parking lots of 1000 vehicles capacity, which were constructed to curtail traffic congestion on the road.
“Illumination on the road in the night was also taken care by constructing bright street light installed along the concrete median of the road,” he added.