The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, on Friday flagged off the construction of the Ibadan Circular Road estimated to cost about N70 billion.
A statement released by Yomi Layinka, Mr. Ajimobi’s media aide, said the road will boost the socio-economic development and transportation system in the state.
The governor, while speaking at the flag-off held at Badeku Village in Ona-Ara Local Government Area, said the 32km first phase of the 110km road would be completed within 18 months.
He said the first phase of the project, which would start from Badeku Village and end at Ajanla Village on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, representing the Northeast corner of the project, was awarded to the ENL Consortium Limited.
The statement quoted the governor as saying that the project will be financed through a facility sourced from the Nexim Bank of China by the contractor on a “Build, Operate and Transfer” arrangement between the ENL and the state government.
“This project is at no cost to Oyo State Government; our partner (ENL Consortium) shall raise fund to finance it on the basis of `build, operate and transfer’ as part of our public-private partnership agreement,” Mr. Ajimobi said.
“Nexim Bank of China will provide the fund because of their belief in the expertise and international best practice of our partner for whom we are guarantor.”
Describing the project as a dream which had remained unfulfilled until his administration successfully brought it into fruition, Mr. Ajimobi said, when completed, it would further enhance the socio-economic development of the state.
Besides, he said it would generate unquantifiable number of skilled and unskilled employments as well as end the perennial traffic snarl within the Ibadan metropolis and help those travelling in and out of the city.
The governor pledged that his administration would not leave any project uncompleted, stressing that that was why government opted for the PPP arrangement for the circular road to ensure its speedy completion.
He recalled that the road project, which was conceived in 2002 by the Lam Adesina-led administration, had suffered abandonment and neglect from successive administrations.
The governor, however, called on the federal government to support states with more funds for development to reach the grassroots, the statement said.