Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, has reversed the directive, asking contractors handling the Ibadan circular road project awarded by the Abiola Ajimobi administration to stop work on the project. In doing so, however, he hinted that the administration of former Governor Ajimobi may have inflated the road project by several billions.
He said, “Documents at the disposal of Oyo State Government indicate that the ENL Consortium originally quoted N14 billion as the contract sum, whereas the former government went ahead to sign the contract at N67 billion. Again, the sum of N11 billion is being quoted for clearance of the bush on the 32-kilometre stretch of the road, while the same consortium is claiming to have spent the sum of N5 billion on some four or five culverts.”
The governor was criticized by the All Progressive Congress (APC), when he issued the order on Thursday.
APC had claimed that Makinde suspended works on the 32-kilometre road meant to connect the Lagos-Ibadan expressway to the Ibadan/Ife expressway, in a bid to erase the enviable record left behind by the Ajimobi administration.
However, the governor, on Sunday, ordered the contractors back on site, saying the decision came after a meeting between officials of the state government and the contractor, ENL Consortium.
He gave a May 2020 deadline to the contractor to deliver the project in line with the original three-year contract.
In a statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Taiwo Adisa, Makinde added that despite the fact that the first instinct would have been to revoke the contract based on the inexplicable slow pace of work and a number of identifiable irregularities, he would want the company to deliver the contract in line with the original contract they signed in 2017.
Replying the APC, the statement said: “Opposition in a democracy is meant to be constructive and reasonable and not a set of characters that defend underhand dealings and shady activities. A number of issues don’t look straight on the Ibadan Circular Road Project, ranging from the cost of the contract to the capacity of the consortium and eventual value for money realities. It is preposterous for any political party or group to jump at such a critical issue without being abreast of the facts of the matter and by merely trying to play to the card of unbridled opposition.
“Governor Seyi Makinde has, therefore, given the ENL Consortium, the go-ahead to complete the project by May 2020 as specified in the contractual agreement it signed with Oyo State Government. The Ibadan Circular Project is a 32-kilometre road contract awarded by the immediate past administration under a Build Operate and Transfer concessionaire arrangement at the cost of N67 billion.
“However, discoveries by the incumbent administration in Oyo State have confirmed that besides the extremely slow pace of work on the contract which meant that only 5.5 percent of work had been done in two and a half years, sections of the cost quoted may be apparently unjustifiable
“For instance, documents at the disposal of Oyo State Government indicate that the ENL Consortium originally quoted N14 billion as the contract sum, whereas the former government went ahead to sign the contract at N67 billion. Again, the sum of N11 billion is being quoted for clearance of the bush on the 32-kilometre stretch of the road, while the same consortium is claiming to have spent the sum of N5 billion on some four or five culverts.
“Governor Makinde considers the project to be very strategic to the economic expansion agenda of his government, and therefore ordered that since the consortium now claims to now have the required funding, they could as well deliver the project by May 2020, in line with the contract they signed in 2017.
“The decision to allow the consortium run out its contract through was informed by the need not to plunge the state into needless legal battles and thereby cause encumbrances that can hinder the development of the state. The state government is ready to hold ENL Consortium to its words and the dictates of the contractual agreement on the road. It is expected that the consortium would put in place all things necessary to ensure it delivers on the terms of the all-important contract.”
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