During the times of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as the Governor of the state, infrastructural development was prioritised for rapid socioeconomic development in all the political zones. In 2018, Governor Gboyega Isiaka Oyetola, after serving under Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola as the Chief of Staff, vowed to continue the infrastructural drive of his former leader. With this promise, our analyst notes that Governor Oyetola is expected to walk his talk.
This informs analysis of the awarded and proposed projects for completion within 3 years. “The project prioritization exercise threw up a wish list of 524 projects,” the State Government said in its Infrastructure Plan for 2019 to 2021. A document from the State Bureau of Public Procurement shows that a number of projects, especially the construction of fire service stations in some towns and cities, were awarded between March and November 2018.
From the two documents, our analyst mined and analysed 162 projects awarded and proposed between 2018 and 2019. Majority of the fire service stations are expected to be completed in 2021. Some have been completed while some are at between 75% and 95% completion rate.
Road constitutes more than half of awarded and proposed infrastructure
Examination of the infrastructure classifications and core solutions indicates strong alignment. With this, our analyst notes that it could be concluded that the assessment carried out by the state government reflects in what it has awarded and proposed to do within the period. Out of 162 projects [tangible infrastructure] found by our analyst 104 were road projects. More than 73% of these projects are rehabilitations. Fire and safety projects are 11. All the fire and safety projects are proposed as construction. One security project proposed would be done within rehabilitation solution category.
Out of the 23 electricity projects, 30.7% would be done within provision category, purchasing facilities and installation. Of the same electricity projects, 21.7% would be done through rehabilitation and, extension and repair. Our analyst also discovered that the state government would be mapping some areas as Government Reservation Areas in select towns and cities. The current government also intends to continue urban renewal projects of the last administration. According to one of the documents used by our analyst, urban renewal projects are at gentrification stage. Gentrification is a process of changing the character of a neighborhood through the influx of more affluent residents and businesses.
Our check indicates that Governor Oyetola presented N152.7 billion budget, tagged: ‘Budget of Hope’ in 2019, was lower than the N179.2billion budgeted for 2018. To fulfill his promise of continuing with the previous administration, infrastructure development got a big chunk of allocation.
In 2020, a national newspaper reported that monarchs in Ede Federal Constituency commended the State Governor, for spreading infrastructural development across the state. The Ogiyan of Ejigbo Oba Omowonuola Oyesosin and the Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Lawal gave the commendation when Governor Oyetola was inaugurating the rehabilitated 20km Ejigbo-Ara-Ojo-Ede road; 2.1km Ede township roads; and flagged off 3.8km Ejigbo township roads. Oba Omowonuola described the governor’s infrastructural interventions as non-discriminatory.
“I have never seen a Governor like you. You have done well for us. You have fixed one of the roads giving us a headache. This road had become a death trap before your intervention. During the raining season, some portions of the road looked like fish ponds,” he said.
Also, Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Adesola Lawal, thanked Oyetola for all he has been doing in the State and especially for strengthening the fortune of the town. Timi said: “The entirety of Ede has sent me to thank you for this great favour that we have received from you. We wish you peace in your government, strength and good health to govern us on in continuum because we desire to see more good works
Exhibit 1: Infrastructure Classification [percent]
Exhibit 2: Core Solutions on the Infrastructure [percent]
Revisiting Fire Incident Management Strategy
Meanwhile, the state government needs to revisit its strategy on fire incident management. Several reports have indicated that the state is one of the states in the western region where fire incidents occurred most between 2019 and 2020. During this period, Osogbo, Ile-Ife, Ilesa, Modakeke and Ede had more fire incidents than other towns and cities, according to a number of newspapers’ reports. Before this period, in 2018, valuables worth N1.61bn were consumed by fires with 13 lives lost. The losses were N1.54bn and three deaths in 2019.
Gas-related activity, electrical energy and textile-related material have largely been adduced as causes of fire incidents in Osogbo. The newly procured state-of-the-art firefighting trucks donated by the Federal Government should be deployed to the critical areas. Constant training, retraining and upskilling of personnel of the fire service agency should be pursued vigorously by leveraging the location of the Federal Fire Service Training School for the South West Zone, which was relocated from Lagos state to the state in 2019.
With the award of the new fire service stations, the state government is ready to end incessant fire incidents. However, the number of fire fighters needs to be increased. Competent hands need to be trained and added to the existing workforce in the agency.
Exhibit 3: Location of Proposed Fire Service Station and Completion Status