Criticism trails Kwara State government’s N3.7 billion project
A non-political movement, Kwara South Advancement Agenda (KSAA) has criticised the Kwara State government for embarking on the construction of a N3.7billion under pass at Gerin Alimi Junction, Ilorin, describing it as “a misplacement of priority.”
The KSAA in a statement issued in Ilorin on Sunday and signed by its Chairman, Opeyemi Olabanji urged the government to put on hold the construction and meet “the immediate needs” of the people of the state.
But the state government said the criticism lacked in merit as the government has a responsibility to the people of the state both for now and in future.
According to the group after an emergency meeting, “in a critical time like this, government should spend money on critical infrastructure that will benefit ordinary citizens who are in the majority. Will the under pass put food on the table of the majority or grant them the much needed employment?
“We believe that the traffic hold up in Ilorin today or even in the nearest future does not call for the construction of such an under pass at a period of distressed economy we are passing through.
Olabanji said: “ If the government is sincere, it should rehabilitate existing road network rather than embarking on the white elephant project in the name of decongesting traffic in the city. Proper traffic control and management is adequate for the Geri Alimi roundabout.”
He noted that the quoted sum for the project would still be surpassed during the period of a review of the contract, urging the government to give out the said sum in form of soft loans to qualified citizens of the state who have penchant for medium and small-scale businesses.
Reacting to the development, Dr Muideen Akorede, Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed said the governor has a mandate to look after the welfare of all Kwara people, including the provisions of the needed infrastructure for their economic prosperity and comfort.
Akorede told The Guardian in Ilorin, “Kwara residents will, therefore, benefit from the anticipated reduction in traffic congestion and smooth flow of traffic as a consequence of the Geri Alimi Split Diamond Underpass. The project will also take care of current and future requirements of road users.
“In addition, other key roads across the state such as Ilesha Baruba Gwanara, Share-Oke Ode, Maigida Arobadi Road, Anilelerin Road Offa, Dualisation of Micheal Imoudu Institute for Labour Studies (MINILS) Ilorin to Ganmo, Dualisation of Sango/University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH) Road and other major roads across the state are among the numerous roads pencilled for implementation under the IFK platform.
He added, “Governor Ahmed will also flag off the new asphalt plant in Ilorin as a prelude to major rehabilitation of compromised roads across the state. This will commence once the rains stop as it is impractical and wasteful to start road projects during the rains.
Also, the government already has a N1.8billion Revolving SME scheme, which has already benefitted 50,000 businesses in the state. Ifrastructure is key to economic growth and welfare and must be prioritised.”