By Richard Akintade, Osogbo
Osun State Governor, Mr Adegboyega Oyetola has reiterated his administration’s support to the Osun Rural Access and Mobility Project (Osun RAMP) in its efforts to promote and develop rural mobility roads in the state.
The governor revealed this at a two-day workshop on sensitization and awareness for the Stakeholders organised by the RAMP to promote and disseminate Low Volume Road Manuals and improved rural mobility held at Ulli Beier Hall, Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, in Osogbo, the state capital.
Governor Oyetola who was represented by the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Prince Adebayo Adeleke, disclosed that RAMP had improved the transportation and marketing of farm produce, thereby reducing the trauma being experienced by the rural dwellers, especially the participant groups otherwise known as direct and indirect beneficiaries, saying the project had, indeed, reduced rural-urban migration.
According to him, “This is because farmers are now staying where their jobs are thus increasing productivity.”
Governor Oyetola stated further that the cost of transportation and vehicular maintenance had equally reduced compared with what was obtainable in the past when the roads were in deplorable conditions.
In his welcome address, the Project Coordinator, Prince Adesola Adewumi, explained that RAMP was established to ensure rural dwellers have easy access to their communities, especially their farmland as well as accessing the nearby markets for the purpose of selling their produce.
Adewumi emphasised further that the workshop would help the farmers to understand the essence of Low Volume Road Manual as a tool for the planning, management and maintenance of the access created.
“The improved rural mobility is another major aspect of the project that will ensure the optimal use of the created access in relations to relevance, efficient, effective and available Intermediate Means of Transport that could stand the test of time in the rural areas,” the project coordinator added.
He therefore enjoined the participants to make use of the opportunity of the workshop to brainstorm and bring out the best options on how to achieve the main objectives of the workshop.
The National Coordinator, Second Rural Access and Mobility Project, Engr. Ubandoma Ularamu, who represented the Federal Government, said in his keynote address that the Governor Adegboyega Oyetola-led administration in the state deserved commendatipn for being proactive and alive to the requisite conditions provided by the Project.
He stated that Osun was the second State to conduct the important workshop among the RAMP-participating states to disseminate the rural road manuals, which would serve as a tool and a guide for engineers and other stakeholders in planning, designing, implementing usage and maintaining the rural roads in Nigeria in general and particularly in Osun state.
According to him, “the need to promote rural mobility cannot be over-emphasized due to the fact that the created access has snowballed into an unprecedented growth in agricultural activities, which has hitherto led to increased economic and social activities.
“Farmers move their produce to markets and processing Centers and by this, post-harvest losses have reduced to the barest minimum while employment opportunities are on the increase.”
Engr. Ubandoma, however, encouraged the State Government to key into the new RAAMP, having “constructed about five hundred and twenty-two kilometres (522km) of rural roads with twenty- six river crossings across the nooks and crannies of the State which in addition has agro-logistics as another component in its mandate.”
Consultant to tge project, Prof. M.K. Yahaya stated that Osun RAMP had been up and doing in the last five years to bring succour to the teeming population in rural areas across the State with Low Volume Road (LVR) to alleviate the transportation burden of the society.
He explained further, ” Osun RAMP activities across the State can be described as a proverbial ‘golden fish that has no hidden place’.
“This directly addresses the second leg of these activities, which is to sensitize and mobilize stakeholders in order to improve transport condition and bring sustained access to the rural populace through rehabilitating and maintaining key rural transport infrastructure in a sustainable manner in Osun”.
Prof. Yahaya said, to further deepen the activities Osun RAMP, the project was already prospecting for possible further assistance that would be all encompassing like establishment of agricultural hubs, buffer stocks, farmers market as well as enhancement of several livelihood enterprises across the Senatorial Districts of the State.