Being the remarks by His Excellency Seyi Makinde, the Executive Governor of Oyo State, at the commissioning of the 9.7km Saki Township Road Dualisation Project on Thursday, January 27, 2022
Let me start by thanking my dear brother, His Excellency, Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State, for honouring us with his presence here today as we commission this very strategic road to the people of Saki, Oke-Ogun zone – the Saki Township Road. It has been delightful watching all the displays of culture here and the warm welcome you all have given us.
When people see us celebrating a road construction, they sometimes say it’s a third world concept. They ask: What are they celebrating? Why are they celebrating? But, looking at the faces of everyone here today we can answer, we are celebrating accelerated development. Because everywhere a strategic road goes, development follows immediately.
This principle did not start with us. History has it that the first road for motorised vehicles in Nigeria was built here in Oyo State in 1906. That road linked Ibadan to Oyo Town. And the main purpose of that road was to move people and agricultural products from Oyo to Ibadan and then to the ports for export.
This is why I am excited about the road linkages we are creating here in the Oke-Ogun zone. Oke-Ogun is our breadbasket and agricultural capital. So. linking Oke-Ogun up with the rest of the zones means that we can easily move our produce on for export, either by air through our Airport-Ajia Road being reconstructed or through the proposed inland dry port which is just off the Moniya-Iseyin Road, which we have also completed.
We know from history that all of this work we have put in will bring about the needed development to our dear state. As we always say, for our state to take that leading role that we all dream of, we must take development beyond Ibadan.
We cannot afford to continue in the trajectory where one part of the state is generating the revenue that all the other parts of the state benefit from. This will only create another Nigerian situation in Oyo State. We all already know how some parts of the country feel about other parts because they believe it is their revenue that everyone is sharing.
It is time to diversify. And a proper road linkage is the first step in this diversification.
When we say we are engineering a modern Oyo State, this is what we mean. We mean we are designing and building a modern Oyo State. The foundation of that design is a proper road network. This is why we will not ignore any viable road projects started by our predecessors.
We know that it is possible to decide to play politics with development as some people did in the past. All of us here are witnesses to how some people came and said “eh, I will not finish the others started.” “Eh, I have to start and finish my own project”.
This is why they are confused by our style of governance.
Like I have said in the past, we will finish all uncompleted projects which are strategic to the development of our dear state. And when we finish them, we will commission them just as we are doing now. Because, when you are running a race, the question people usually ask is not, “How many people started the race?” No, it is “How many people finished the race?” It is among those who finished the race that we will choose winners.
Therefore, we will finish uncompleted and abandoned projects for the benefit of the good people of Oyo State.
So, when they come to you and say, “Eh, the Saki Township Road was it not the former people that started it?” Tell them, “Yes, it doesn’t matter who started it, what matters is that someone finished it because this is how we engineer a modern Oyo State.”
For the records, let me remind us all that the contract for this road was initially awarded in 2016, and for over three years, the contractor remained here, holding the people of Saki to ransom. In fact, as of when the contract was revoked in September 2020, the contractor had only done less than 15% of the job. But here we are today, just about 15 months after we revoked that contract celebrating another promise delivered. And we are delivering this 9.7km Saki Township Road at a relatively lower cost than when it was first awarded in 2016. We made roughly One Billion Naira in savings.
And this is what we will continue to do. We will continue to deliver good governance to the people of Oyo State with zero wastage. We will continue to make Oyo State the proof that good governance is possible in Nigeria. We are kickstarting an infrastructural revolution that will make people say once again with all pride, “We have roots in the Pacesetter State.” “We are proudly Oyo.”
And with this, we will proceed with my brother, His Excellency, Governor Ahmadu Fintiri to commission the 9.7km Saki Township Road to the glory of God and the for benefit of the good people of Oyo State.
Thank you and God bless you.
~ Governor Seyi Makinde, January 27, 2022