Following the destruction of part of the barrier of the recently commissioned Mokola flyover in Ibadan, the Oyo State Government and the Accord Party are again locked in a war of words.
The barrier at the entrance of the flyover was reportedly pulled down by a vehicle, which hit it at about 2.30pm yesterday, causing traffic congestion in the area. Street Journal gathered that the driver of the truck has been arrested and detained by the police. Mrs Bisi Iloabanafor, the PRO of the Oyo State Police Command could not be reached on phone to confirm the arrest of the driver till the time of filing this report.
Senator Rashidi Ladoja, a former Governor of Oyo State who doubles as the Leader of the Accord Party and a cousin to Governor Abiola Ajimobi has been a critic of the flyover in time past, especially regarding the N 3 billion cost.
Last month, the Ladoja led Accord Party had faulted the argument that the barriers erected at the entrances to the bridge were to minimise road casualties by barring articulated vehicles and other heavy trucks from plying the bridge. Back then, leaders of the Accord Party had asked why, after more than two years in office, the ACN government had not thought it wise to erect similar barriers at the Molete overhead bridge, which was built 35 years ago.
The party also queried why the 470-metre two-lane Mokola bridge could cost the state N3 billion, when a 620-metre four-lane bridge in Abeokuta, including adjoining roads, built by the same contractor, cost the Ogun State government N1.5 billion.
The statement generated a reaction from the Action Congress of Nigeria in which it doubted the genuineness of former Governor Ladoja’s qualifications as an Engineer.
While the brickbats being thrown by the two parties were believed to have subsided, the destruction of the barrier has sparked off another round of verbal salvos between the All Progressive Congress-led government in the state and the AP.
In a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Infrastructure, Mr. Kayode Adepoju, he noted that it was interesting that only a few weeks ago, the opposition in the state threatened to pull down the barrier. He said the ministry was working on the theory that the barrier had probably been knocked down over night and the carcass left hanging only for it to be hit by the truck.
Responding however, Lanre Ogundipe, an aide to Ladoja said it was uncharitable to point fingers at the opposition over the destruction of the flyover barrier, more so, as there was supposed to be a large concentration of security and law enforcement agents in the particular area.
The State Government has also stated that about three weeks ago, it had alerted the public, through a press statement, of alleged plan by the opposition to demolish the barrier.
In the release, broadcast on the state-owned Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), the government alleged that it had received security reports to the effect that some political thugs had been commissioned by the opposition to demolish the flyover’s barrier which the opposition claimed was an indication that the bridge was substandard.
In a reaction on Tuesday evening however, Ogundipe denied that the Accord Party was behind the destruction. He accused the state government of trying to gain cheap political sympathy from the people and incite the public against the Accord Party, which he claimed was serving the interest of the people.