Oyo State Governor, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, has advised the Federal Government against selective implementation of the World Bank-assisted Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) among the 36 states of the federation.
The governor, who gave the advice while welcoming the National Coordinator of the project, Ubandoma Ularamu, to his office, on Thursday, said that the country’s rural areas without exception were in dire need of attention.
Applauding RAMP as a laudable initiative capable of opening up the rural areas through construction of access roads, the governor maintained that the project should be all-inclusive to accommodate the 36 states of the federation in view of the inherent benefits.
Ajimobi said, “I warmly welcome you to the state and let me express my state of happiness about this programme. I should also hint you about my reservation that Oyo State was just being considered to benefit from the project taking into cognizance the number of our rural dwellers.
“Oyo State has the best arable land in sub-Saharan Africa, with six research institutes not to talk of the population of rural dwellers compared with others.
“I am pleading that the programme should not be about competition. It should be about ensuring that all states enjoy this facility; it is of right and not about competing for it.
“If you really want to develop the rural areas, all states must be given the opportunity. The Federal Government should extend it to all states without exception. I’m stating this for emphasis that there should be no exception; all states should benefit.
“But, if other states could meet the criteria, Oyo State will definitely meet them for its smooth take-off. We are very willing and ready to log on to this programme so that our rural dwellers can have improved living standards.”
The governor commended the FG for revitalizing the programme, which, according to him, was the answer to rural-urban drift occasioned by poor access roads and lack of other social amenities in the interiors.
Earlier, the coordinator of the project had told the governor that RAMP was a FG-inspired World Bank-assisted project being used as an implementation strategy for rural dwellers and transportation development policy.
He stressed that the main objective of the project was to develop and maintain the rural transport infrastructure to ensure all-year sustainability of rural roads in the country.
Ubandoma added, “Access to market, affordability of food production, access to raw materials for industries and increase enrolment of students in schools are some of the benefits of the project.
“The RAMP is aimed at bringing about enhanced productive capacity and rapid development of the rural areas and the improvement of the living standards of its dwellers through the provision of improved and efficient rural transport infrastructure necessary for economic and social development.
“We want to institutionalize the capacity and culture at all tiers of government for coordination, construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of rural road network that will ensure all-year-round accessibility and mobility, thereby contributing to sustainable rural transformation and poverty reduction.”