The government of Oyo State recently awarded a contract for the construction of four bus terminals in Ibadan, the state capital.
The state’s Commissioner for Public Works, Infrastructure and Transportation, Prof. Raphael Afonja, explained that the government’s plan on the terminals is to bring sanity to public transportation in the state, adding that new buses would also be procured in their numbers to sanitise transportation in Ibadan and the state.
Is the project sensible? Yes! It is indeed a good idea which should have been considered and executed years back. But since no single government can start and complete all projects, the introduction of modern bus terminals in Ibadan by Governor Seyi Makinde, should to all intent and purpose, be commended.
However, typical of APC naysayers and the misguided lot in the opposition camp, the contract has given them another fertile ground for criticisms. To these individuals in the APC, who appear fixated on pulling Makinde down at all costs, any idea introduced by GSM deserve nothing but condemnation.
The questions right-thinking residents of Oyo State should ask them are: Are the people satisfied with the poor and archaic state of public transportation within Ibadan City? Is the current intra-city transportation system the best and befitting enough for the largest city in West Africa? What was the government of their acclaimed leader, Abiola Ajimobi, looking at that it could not improve public transportation in Ibadan in eight years? Why was that same government busy converting Federal Government-assited buses to Ajumose Buses and illegally branding them in Oyo State colours to score cheap political points?
While I am sure that APC cyberdogs will not answer these questions, because they are godless, thoughtless and oftentimes tactless, well-meaning residents of the state will be able to relate to the development Makinde is trying to bring to Ibadan and by extension, Oyo State.
As the Yorubas will say, “omo ale eeyan nii fi owo osi juwe ile baba re,” one can conveniently state that misfits in APC would never want Ibadan to transform beyond JP Clark’s poetic description. They love the rickety buses; their leaders revel in empowering youths with motorcycles and in eight years of governance, their leaders at best, only produced hundreds of impoverished drivers of rickety taxis and vehicles. These are narratives that Makinde is set to change with the construction of modern bus terminals.
Can Ibadan truly develop into an urban masterpiece that it was meant to be? Yes! Can Ibadan rightfully compete with mega cities of the world? Yes! Can the metropolitan beauty of Ibadan as it was in the 60s and 70s be restored? Yes! These are the intentions of Governor Makinde and the reason for the bus terminals and no degree of nail-biting and armchair criticism from individuals who daily cry wolf and look for faults because they have been cut off from feeding fat on the resources of the state can derail that objective.
Is it not funny that the same individuals who praised Ajimobi to high heavens for planting flowers on road medians across Ibadan, the same people who hailed him as “Aare Atunluse” for building an overhead bridge for close to N3 billion, even when it was obvious the project was over priced and a drain on the lean resources of the state, are the ones now criticising Makinde for daring to restructure public transportation and restore the beauty of the city? Is it not funny that the same individuals who praised Lagos for building the Ikeja Bus Terminal will turn in another breathe to bash Makinde? Hypocrites, frustrated hypocrites.
While one can relate with their cries over the contract sum, which they claim run into billions, knowing how their father and god, Ajimobi used to inflate contracts mindlessly, it should be made clear that Makinde is not an “a ti oko wa ba ile je,” like some of the APC leaders. The people of Oyo State trust him, that is why they entrusted the state to his hands and from some of the steps already taken by his government, it is clear that he is not one to waste Oyo State’s taxpayers money on *Owambe* by organising wedding receptions across three continents or taking the entire state to an inter-state wedding. How on earth can they justify the claim that the contract sum for the bus terminal project is high, when they are not privy to the World Bank certified Due Process procedures which such projects pass through before approval in Oyo State. In any case, the benefit derivable from the project is worth it. Governor Makinde’s prudent leadership is already showing forth on the Moniya-Iseyin Road Project (with added street lights) and many other ongoing projects in the state, so we, the people, do not have any doubt that he will do what is best for the state on the bus terminals.
But what shall we do to the loud-mouthed characters who continue to bark at Makinde? A good question. We tell them, wailing wailers, hailers of the looting folks, get thee behind GSM!
Ajao writes from Oyo.