Asa-dam-Egbejila-Airport Road: How Successive Kwara Govt Used Project for Political Gain

By Adebayo Said

…Awards Contract to Unregistered Company,  Works Ministry Attributes Delay to Lack of Funds

…Causing a Lot of Havoc. Our People Cannot Use the Road – Community Leader

Egbejila is a peaceful community that provides a home for thousands of people in Ilorin West local government area of Kwara State. The road is connecting over 20 communities namely; Budo-Nuhu, Galadima Oke-odo/Village, Obanisua, Temi dire, Oke-tudu, Akorede, Arsenal Field, Oja-Oke, Jooro and Ajegunle communities. The road links Ilorin City Centre to Ilorin International Airport as it could ease traffic on Airport to Geri-Alimi-Taiwo road when completed.

The residents of Egbejila include farmers, traders, artisans, civil servants, and others who rely on the road to meet their daily needs. Therefore, the construction of 7.5km Asa dam-Egbejila Airport road became necessary to ease the flow of movement in this area, give farmers opportunity to move their produce to markets, energize economic activities and help secure the area. As some evil doers use bad roads to engage in robbery, extortion, kidnapping and other criminal acts.

Pic: The spot where Abdulfatai Ahmed administration ended the 3.5km construction of the Asa-dam to Egbejila road.

Abdulfatah Ahmed Commences Road Construction in 2014

It is no surprise that the residents were excited when the administration of Abdulfatah Ahmed started the construction of the road in 2014. They believed that the road construction would end their suffering and eliminate the difficulties of using a dilapidated road every day for their social and economic activities.

Former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed while inspecting phase 1 of the project (Asa dam -Egbejila road) said the project is being constructed under the Kwara State Infrastructure Development Fund (IF-K).

Ahmed urged the contactor to fast track the job, and promised that payment would be effected as and when due under the IFK.

The project Contractor, Engr. Sulaiman Elega attributed the slow pace of work on the project to the fluctuating exchange rate in the country which he said has affected the quotation given as at when the contract was awarded.

He (Ahmed) therefore directed the Commissioner for Works and Transport to review the contract sum and compare with current realities with a view to releasing more funds to the contractor where necessary.

Projects executed with the proceed of the 300,000,000 loan obtained from Sterling Bank Plc by the Kwara State Government in 2019.

Contract Awarded To Company Without CAC Registration

Controversy surrounded the road construction project. In 2014, Kwara State Government awarded the contract to a company named Sky Tech & Construction Ltd.

But Our Correspondent record is not found on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) website. The only information available about the company was on Google, where a phone number belonging to a former worker of the company was listed. The road construction included drainage and asphalt covering a distance of 3.5km.

Past Administration Spends N40million on Rehabilitation After one year of construction

Surprisingly, Abdulfatah Ahmed’s administration later spent N40 million in 2016 on the same road using a N300 million loan obtained from Sterling Bank PLC.

According to the consolidated debt verification report published in December 2020, the contract was awarded to Sky Tech Construction Ltd on November 13, 2014, with a contract sum of N900,720,723.63k and a duration of 12 months.

“The contract agreement also indicated a maintenance period of 12 months from the date of completion of the project. Out of the N300,000,000 loan taken from Sterling Bank Plc in 2016, N40,000,000 was spent on this project,” according to the Fiscal Responsibility Commission report.

This indicates that the administration of Abdulfatah Ahmed completed the construction of the Egbejila-Asa dam-Airport road (Phase 1) in 2016.

Governor Abdulrazaq Moves To Complete Project

The communities and motorists continued to suffer for over a decade since the project began. The successive administrations have used the road as a political tool during elections.

In 2022, the present administration led by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq mobilized contractor to commence work on phase 2 of the road construction from Airport axis to Egbejila.

In 2023, Our Reporter interviewed the Permanent Secretary of the Kwara State Ministry of Works, TLP Oloruko-oba Isiaq Yinka to get clarification on Asa dam -Egbejila-Airport road.

The Permanent Secretary stated that Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq approved the construction of 1km (from the Airport to Obanisua).

He explained that the road was divided into three lots due to a lack of funds. The Governor released funds for the immediate construction of the Airport-Obanisua road in 2022.

However, the Permanent Secretary did not disclose the amount allocated for the project.

Reaction from Community Stakeholders

Stakeholders in the communities along the road appreciated Governor AbdulRazaq for constructing 1km out of the 3.2km road but appealed to the state government to promptly complete the remaining lots.

The Chairman of the Egbejila Development Association, Mallam Jamiu Babatunde Alado

The Chairman of the Egbejila Development Association, Mallam Jamiu Babatunde Alado, wrote a letter to the Kwara State Government led by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, requesting the construction of the Egbejila road. They pledged to construct 1km from the Airport axis to Obanisua with the promise of completing the road after their reelection.

“It is causing a lot of havoc. Our people cannot use the road. We cannot move from Egbejila road to the airport. Residents have to go back to the Asa dam road to access the Airport/Eyenronrin,” he said.

According to him, “We congratulate the Governor after his reelection. The road is causing a lot of havoc to the economic and social activities in this area. Residents using vehicles cannot use the Airport axis due to the deplorable state of the road. They usually pass through the Asa dam axis to connect to the airport road. The road is not motorable. Okada riders and tricycle riders are facing difficulties plying the road. They now frequently visit mechanic workshops. Egbejila to Obanisua is not motorable. It is having a negative impact on the economy of the community. We cannot transport farm produce to the market due to the bad road.”

He disclosed that during the Fatai Ahmed administration, the drainage was constructed along 3.5km from Asa dam to Egbejila road.

Mallam AbdulRahman AbdulRaheem, a Former Chairman of the Egbejila Community Development Association, said in an interview that only 1km of the road was constructed in the buildup to the 2023 general elections.

“We are yet to see the completion of the road. The past administration started the road from Asa dam to Egbejila junction, and the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration tarred 1km from the Airport road. We are expecting them to construct a roundabout and drainage to redirect flood to Jiah junction. The state government promised to construct the road to link Odore-Odota-Egbejila-Jiah, but they have yet to complete the road. It was constructed in the buildup to the 2023 general elections. The Egbejila Development Association has written letters to the Governor, Secretary to the Kwara State Government, and Ministry of Works seeking assistance, but there has been no feedback,” he explained.

 

 

All efforts to speak with the company manager proved abortive. Our correspondent tried calling the number found on the company’s online page, but the person who picked up redirected the reporter. The first person claimed to have left the company, while the second person claimed to be a former worker of the company. So far, we have not been able to speak with a representative of the company.

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