By Opeyemi Azeez
The present administration in Kwara State set a new record in October 2016 when Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed commissioned the first state-owned N200 million Asphalt Plant built with the capacity to produce 25 tons of asphalt per day. Considerably, it’s a leap to bridge the road infrastructural gaps in the State.
The development, objectively, has the potency to solve the major problems faced by the State Road Maintenance Agency (KWARMA) in the maintenance and further accomplishment of quality road networks across the State.
Beyond the rhetoric, however, what is plausible is to ensure the government remains on track by blocking all chance for distractive circumstances. In other words, the commendations should be less important. Rather: the end goals.
On the heels of the progress, the State Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Aro Yahaya, recounted the need to domesticate the production of quality asphalt, and by so doing: generate employment for both skilled and unskilled labour, reduce cost of road maintenance, and provide quick response to the impact of erosion and road degradation. According to him, these needs made it imperative for the State government to acquire the asphalt plant.
From the above, the acquisition of the plant is worthy, realizing the direct impacts it bears on the duo of the government and the people, simultaneously.
Since the commissioning of the plant, respite has overwhelmed motorists and other road users in the State courtesy of the quick (statewide) road rehabilitations embarked upon by KWARMA.
Crowning to the employment opportunities and substantial reduction in the cost of road maintenance is the increasing source, provided by the plant, for more revenue generation through the sale of asphalt to contractors and other users. Revenue generated will assist the government to actualize more projects in other sectors.
It is also cheering to note that despite the lean financial resources at the disposal of the State government, contractors handling various road projects across the State have been mobilized back to sites. Almost on daily basis, we hear of the Works Commissioner inspecting road projects across the State. While a few of these projects have been completed, many others are ongoing including the Maigida-Arobadi road in Moro local government, Ilala brigde, Oloro palace road and Share-Oke ode road (lot 1 and 2).
Other ongoing road projects are Coca cola bridge road, Egbejila-airport road, Agbo-oba – Henry-George extension, and Amule Saraki bridge. Some of the roads that have been completed are the Babalonma township roads, mini-campus- Henry George road and Adua lere – Sanu Sheu- Isale koko road.
With the establishment of the Kwara Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K) by the State government, Kwara will no doubt witness unprecedented infrastructural growth as IF-K provides a sustainable funding window and ensures that all ongoing and new capital projects across the State are funded to completion, thereby ending the era of abandoned project in Kwara.
The Geri-Alimi diamond underpass is among several other infrastructural projects planned for implementation under the IF-K scheme. Others are the establishment of two campuses of the Kwara State University in Osi and Ilesha-Baruba, dualisation of Michael Imodu-Ganmi road; dualisation of UITH-Sango road, renovation of the Indoor Sports Hall of the Kwara State Stadium and the Light Up Kwara projects.
Certainly, there is no doubt about Governor Ahmed’s determination and commitment to ensure that Kwara State becomes self-reliant and achieve sustainable development by looking inwards to solve its challenges and initiate far-reaching measures to carry-out developmental projects in the face of lingering national economic downturn.