Hon. Adesola Adebayo is the Ekiti State Commissioner for Works and Transport. In this chat with Vanguard in his office, he speaks on his job, the plans for Ekiti people in the area of infrastructure and the legacy he would like to leave behind. Excerpts:
So far, so good but to be honest, it is very difficult. The Ministry of Works comprises of road construction, public buildings and general infrastructure. As we all know, it is very expensive to construct roads so it has been very difficult to achieve what we want but because we know the governor, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi is very eager to develop our state, so he is doing a lot of work to ensure we get the required funding to be able to carry out our mandate in the ministry.
Have you considered using alternative, cheaper and locally available materials to build roads? Do you have bitumen?
No, we don’t have bitumen. Ekiti is landlocked, no water, no bitumen, no oil. We only have land and human resources. So the priority for this government is agriculture. We want to develop our human capital to be able to take advantage of a Collaborating with researchers.
Talking about alternative, cheaper and locally available materials, what we intend to do actually is to work with our own tertiary institutions. We have Afe Babalola University and the Ekiti State University so we want to collaborate with their engineering departments to see what ways we can work with them to construct cheaper roads; but that is still in the planning stage. It will take a while but I am sure eventfully, they will come up with something. If they come up with something that is reasonable, cheaper and sustainable, we will definitely patronise them. Nobody wants to construct expensive roads.
Like I said, the major challenge is funding. Every town in Ekiti wants road constructed in their area but with the dearth of funds, it is very difficult to satisfy each and every one. We have decided to construct roads in the three senatorial districts because we cannot do roads for every town and village. We have just flagged off three different roads that cut across the three senatorial districts – Ekiti North, Ekiti Central and Ekiti East.READ ALSO: Computer Village Crisis: Osundairo residents send SOS message to LASG
We flagged off Aramoko-Erijiyan-Ikogosi; Oye-Ikun-Otun; Ilupeju-Ire-Igbomo-Ijan; Agbade-Omuo-Esinbode roads. We have given the contractors between 12 and 18 months. We have mobilised them and they are all on-site.
Engaging the youths
It’s a policy in Ekiti State. We call it local content. We have told the contractors that if they can buy things locally like cement, sand etc, we need to help the economy of this state. One of the three contractors is actually an Ekiti indigene. He is constructing the road that is going to pass through his village so I am sure the indigenes will take ownership of that project. We have told the contractors that they must employ our youths and we also told our youths if they employ you, don’t look at it as politics. If you don’t come up to standard, the contractor has the right not to give you the job so it’s a Catch-22 situation but we try as much as possible to make sure that the local economy benefits from all these contracts.
The budgeting system in Ekiti is bottom-up. We hold town hall meetings; we go round all the towns and villages just before we do the budget, we ask them for three things they would want the government to do for them for the financial year. Based on the amount we have, we then prioritise. If we can’t do all three, we at least do one in that financial year so if we have a four-year span for the administration, eventually all the things they want will be done before the expiration of the tenure. We don’t insist on what we want; we ask the people what they want because we are here to serve the people.
Transporting farm produce
For us it is not a problem. There is a programme called Rural Access and Mobility Project, RAMP, of the World Bank; they are going to open 1,000km of rural roads over a two-year period. They have approved it and any time from now, they will start opening up all these roads. The whole idea is so that the farmers can be able to bring out their produce into the urban areas. So definitely, since we are going to make agriculture part of the main things that we want to be known for, then definitely, there will be access roads from the hinterland to the urban areas,
What I would like to be remembered for
As a person, I just want to be remembered for hard work, diligence. I want to make sure we move Ekiti forward and leave it better than we met it so that our children and children’s children will have a better place to grow up and be proud of. As a commissioner, I will just like to implore people to be patient with this administration; the Governor definitely has their best interests at heart.
We urge them to continue to pay taxes so that we will have money to carry out our agenda -build good hospitals, good roads and good education for our children so that at the end of the day, let history and posterity judge us.
We have a couple of legacy projects that the governor is carrying out.
There is this Pavilion which we use for different functions. The whole idea of the pavilion is so we don’t put stress on the stadium. We will rather leave the stadium for sporting activities. The pavilion will take care of march-pasts, Independence day celebration and even churches can hold crusades there. The project is 90% complete and hopefully, in March, it will be commissioned.
Then there is the Civic Centre which will be ready soon. It’s like a shopping mall; Shoprite and others would be there, also cinema houses. This is a civil service and university town, there is no commerce after 7:00pm; transportation is difficult after 7pm so we are trying to organise Ado-Ekiti. That project is about 95% complete.
We have the Oja-Oba market which is a modern market, hopefully, it will house at least 1,000 petty traders.
We want to take them away from the streets. There is so much street trading within the capital and it is not befitting for a city and it is dangerous for them when there are accidents. This should be completed by end of March.