By Adebayo Adedeji
Finally, the popular Osogbo-Iwo-Ibadan road is to be rebuilt by Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of Osun State and Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State. The commissioners of works in the two states Engr Oluremi Omowaiye ( Osun) and Kehinde Sangodoyin ( Oyo) confirmed this to journalists and public last Thursday.
According to the governments of the two collaborating states, the reconstruction is being undertaken to meet the yearnings of road users who over the years have suffered untoward hardship on account of plying the road.
The road is a nerve of Osun and Oyo states because it is a major route that connects the people of both states. Without it in good condition, economy activity will suffer discomfort and dislocation.
The road is divided into two segments: Ibadan-Iwo and Osogbo-Iwo. The Ibadan-Iwo was last built by Soleh Boneh Nig. Limited in 1977 during the military administration of David Jemibewon.
The construction of the second segment ( Iwo-Osogbo ), awarded at a contract sum of N11.5m in 1977, was more challenging because it passed through shades of contractors ( TWZ Construction, Tewogbade and Sons and POAT Construction Company) before it was eventually inaugurated in 1990. But unfortunately, the road was shoddily done because as early as 1991, it began to show concerns.
To salvage the untold hardship the failure generated for the road users, the Multi State Road Project II of the newly created Osun State Government engaged in patching exercises on the road. When the needed relief was far from being achieved, the state government later commissioned an engineering firm, Competence Engineer to come to the rescue.
They were to investigate the causes of the attendant failure on the road. When the company could not deliver as charged, the Geotechnical and Structural Unit of the State Ministry of Works and Transport was, in the year 2020, drafted-in by Chief Bisi Akande, the state governor at the time. The effort of Chief Akande to convince the Obasanjo-led federal government to rehabilitate the road yielded no fruit.
The Ila-Orangun aristocrat had to fall back to the little resources at the disposal of his government to make the road motorable while his governornship lasted. However, the road became more deploarble under successive governments even though Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Akande’s immediate successor, made frantic effort to fix it when he engaged the services of Dekit Construction Company Limited and Centre for Research and Development (CERAD) of the Federal University of Technology, Akure. Whereas the road became a campaign tool under the administration of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, no lasting solution was offered: it was all noise and unprofitable media jamboree for the whole eight years he spent in office.
A ray of hope came in 2019 when Governor Oyetola mobilised men to site for immediate repairs while his government earnestly sought permanent solution. In the course, the federal government partnership, which Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as president denied the state, came in 2020 and since that time the road has undergone series of patches and rehabilitation to make it always passable for users.
Today, the two states of Osun and Oyo appear to have found the permanent solution to the perennial troubles encountered on the road and it is hoped enthusiasm, thoughtfulness, hardwork, and principally, statemanship, brought to bear thus far by the two governors and their team will materialise as envisaged.
On completion of the road following this current reconstruction approval, travel experience is expected to be more enjoyable for thousands of road users who daily ply the road. Again, the security threat which unacceptable condition of the road poses for travellers would be a thing of the past. The reconstruction, no doubt, will open up the two states for more thriving, enduring and rewarding commercial activities.
The entire project, from Osun State to Oyo State, is 91.0km. It stretches from Osogbo ( Dele Yes Sir Roundabout) – Iwo – Papa Village – Lalupon – Olodo Bridge – Iwo Road Interchange (Ibadan) road.
The Osun state section is to cover 55.4km: from Osogbo to Osun/Oyo boundary with dualisation of 2.8km Dele Yes Sir Roundabout to Sawmill. And it will cost the state government N11.3billion. While the Oyo State section is to cover 35.6km, from Iwo Road Interchange ( Ibadan) to terminate at the Oyo/Osun boundary at Papa Village.
The Oyo State Government has sub-divided the project into three parts: the 7.7km from Iwo Road Interchange to Olodo bridge will be dualised. The state will also extend the bridge to about 24 meters wide and 12 meters long while 500 meters will be dualised from the bridge to Ogunmarako junction; and the rest will be 27.33km from Ogunmarako to Oyo/Osun State Boundary. The contract sum for Oyo State is N12.5billion.
The project, awarded to Messrs Peculiar Ultimate Concern Ltd, is to be completed in 18 months.