AGAINST the backdrop of the need for sustainable infrastructure to drive development, and the fact that infrastructure such as roads, bridges, railways, etc., are necessary for socio-economic growth of any nation or state, Edo State Government is not leaving any stone unturned to ensure development of sustainable infrastructure in the state.
As a first step to drive the development of infrastructure in the state, the government has concluded plans to host an investment summit tagged Alaghodaro, through which it intends to chart a new course on investments in infrastructure.
Disclosing to Vanguard Homes & Property the state government's plans to embark on aggressive sustainable infrastructure, Mr. Crusoe Osagie, Special Adviser on Media to Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State, said though there are templates to borrow from in places like Lagos, which is blazing the trail in infrastructural funding, the state government's summit with the maiden edition themed Moving Forward, aims to sell the state as the next destination for investment in human capital, as well as in transport and logistics, due to its centrality in connecting different parts of the country.
Critical road infrastructure
Osagie added that much as the state is willing to open its doors to investments, it has already hit the ground running to create an enabling environment for investments. According to him, the state's drive to create a modern society is anchored on the provision of critical road infrastructure, pointing out that these efforts are evident in the ongoing rehabilitation and construction of roads and other infrastructure across the 18 local government areas in the state.
He noted that other than the fact that the roads being constructed would open up more areas in the state and ease movement of people and materials, there is an underlying principle to use these roads as an artery for economic emancipation, all tied to the idea of making Edo a transport and logistics hub. "Already, the state enjoys the advantage of being a hotspot for transport activities.
"Therefore, giving priority to road infrastructure, for the state government, not only shows a focus on expanding the state for more investment through auxiliary services but also projects the state into the future.
"In 2017 alone, 233 roads were earmarked for rehabilitation and construction. These roads crisscross the 18 local government areas in the state. The contracts for the rehabilitation and construction of these roads have been awarded with funds released. Contractors for some of the roads have mobilised men and equipment to sites. As a departure from the past, the state is also moving infrastructure construction out of the state capital, thereby opening up other parts of the state for investment.
"Steps taken by the state in providing infrastructure across the state have been considered by many experts as unprecedented in promoting economic development in the state. The pace with which the road projects are being constructed not only indicates the urgency of task of development but also shows a commitment to deepen grassroots participation in wealth creation for the people.
"The ongoing road projects in Edo Central Senatorial district, include Idumebo-Ihumudumu-Royal Market Road and the Uselu-Ewohimi Road. In a recent visit to monitor progress on the projects, Governor Godwin Obaseki assured the people in the senatorial district of his administration's resolve to ensure the roads are completed to support the people for sustainable development, and to provide access to drive economic activities.
"In Edo South Senatorial district, road projects in progress include Oba Eweka/Ogbetuo Oni Road, Osabuohien Close, GRA, Wire Road, Nevis Road, Ugbor, Nekpenekpe, Oni Street, Jemide/Akhiobare and Ikpokpan Road, GRA and others, all covering about 50km.
Out of these 15 roads, some have been fully completed with either flexible or rigid pavement. Most of these roads serve as links between rural areas and urban centres. The efforts of the state in providing these critical road infrastructure is strategic.
"It not only does a good job at connecting hitherto separated suburbs with city centres, it paves way for agricultural development. This complements efforts to revive major plantations and agrarian communities across the state, and linking them through well laid roads for evacuation of produce to markets, industries and manufacturing plants," the SA on media disclosed.
Commenting further, he said infrastructure development has been identified by the state as critical in expanding the frontiers of development, maintaining that in keeping with the pace of transforming various parts of the state into a viable investment hub, the state is carrying out steps towards ensuring that the challenge of deterioration of roads in Edo North is nipped in the bud.