The government of Oyo state approved a bill of N11billion by a contractor for clearing of the bush on the pathway of a 32km circular road, the total cost of which appears equally scandalous.
The contract with ENL Consortium for the road was signed in 2017 during the administration of Abiola Ajimobi and the N67billion cost has upset the incumbent Governor Seyi Makinde, who believes it is grossly inflated.
The governor in a fit of anger about the snail-speed work on the road, initially issued a stop-work order, but has rescinded the decision and asked the contractor to deliver the road as scheduled in 2020.
The new order was made even after the governor found that the contractor claimed N5billion as the cost of four or five culverts, an average of N1 billion per culvert.
The road itself will cost an average of N2billion per kilometre.
Governor Makinde believed the entire road contract was a rip off on the Oyo treasury and that the job was overestimated by N53billion.
When he visited the road project last week, Makinde initially ordered a stop work order, after he found that the contractor has only done 5.5 % of the job, after two years.
He changed his mind after a review meeting held between officials of the state government and the ENL Consortium.
Taiwo Adisa, the governor’s spokesman said the road is being done on Build, Operate And Transfer Basis.
Adisa, quoted the Governor as saying 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.
The statement cautioned political interests who are jumping into the fray of arguments on the 32-kilometre road contract to desist from playing to the gallery just in an attempt to get counted as ‘opposition voices.’
“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 statement read.
Adisa’s statement further read: “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 11 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.”
* initial headline was amended because of misinterpretation.