Fury over deplorable roads in Ogun

Fury over deplorable roads in Ogun

In Ogun State, there have been outrage and barrage of criticisms, especially on the social media in the last few days over deplorable roads, Daily Trust can report.

The social media, especially X (formerly Twitter), has been awash with pictures and videos of bad roads across the state; and residents have been calling out Governor Dapo Abiodun for failing to provide good roads.

Some of the communities in Ogun which share borders with Lagos State are said to be worst hit. Commuters plying roads from Yakoyo to Alagbole, Akute, Ajuwon, Lambe, Oke Aro, always lament the poor condition of the roads.

A number of roads in the Ota axis of Ado Odo-Ota Local Government Area, Obafemi-Owode and Abeokuta South local government areas are equally affected.

Perhaps the most problematic of all the roads is the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, where some portions have collapsed, forcing motorists and commuters to resort to one-way.

The Laderin-Olokuta road, connecting the Wole Soyinka Train Station, has collapsed, claiming lives in the last two years.

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Daily Trust reports that before the wet season, a number of the affected roads were in bad shape, but they are now being worsened by the flood.

The state government ignited the people’s anger after rolling out names and the number of roads it had undertaken in the last five years of the Governor Abiodun administration.

The long list contained names of 42 roads, including Ijebu-Ode-Mojoda-Epe, Abeokuta-Siun-interchange, Arepo-Journalist Estate, Iboro-Imasayi-Ayetotro- phase 1, Molusi College road in Ijebu North, Molipa-Asafa-Isale-Ayegun-Oojofa road in Ijebu-Ode, among others.

The government also boasted to have constructed and rehabilitated over 600 kilometers of roads in the last five years.

But many residents and road users who are groaning under the crushing weight of bad roads viewed government’s image laundry as insensitive to their plight.

A former governor of the state and now Senator Gbenga Daniel also raised the alarm over the deplorable state of roads in Ogun. He told state governors to assist the ongoing road infrastructure development of the President Bola Tinubu administration by intervening on numerous bad roads in their respective states, even if they belonged to the federal government.

Daniel, who made this call at an interactive session with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abeokuta, charged governors to do more for the people as the power to develop is more concentrated on states than the federal government.

“I read the avalanche of comments on the social media after the Ojude Oba festival and the criticism on the state of our roads, not just in Ijebu but the entire state. To be fair to governors, most of these roads are federal, while some, like the inner town roads, are for the state.

“Governors are the custodians of their states and we cannot continue to wait for the federal government alone while the people are suffering,” he said.

The former governor acknowledged that some states were not as financially buoyant as others, but state governments could make sacrifices for the love of the people they serve.

Daily Trust reports that there has been cold war of sorts between the former governor and the incumbent, stemming from the Ogun East senatorial ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the last general elections. In the last two years, the two political gladiators have engaged themselves in proxy media war.

Insiders said Abiodun’s inner caucus viewed Daniel’s comments on the state of roads in the state as a subtle disapproval of the present government’s performance; hence, the release of the long list of roads reportedly constructed by the administration.

However, the image laundry move by the government backfired as it rather attracted the people’s anger against the administration. As a result, hashtag #DapofixOgunroads has dominated the social media space, with users posting pictures of bad roads from various locations in the state, accusing the governor of negligence.

For example, @yeankhar stated, “Road of note: The road leading to the Wole Soyinka Train Station in Abeokuta South is not motorable. If you are passing through Idi Aba via Olokuta to get there, you can literally lose your senses. Abeokuta, a state capital, has some of the worst roads ever.

Also, @OAKGbenga wrote, “I once got trapped around this axis: Sango-Ijoko-Giwa-Okearo and it was raining heavily. My luck that day was having V6 (off road) Nissan Frontier truck. That axis has very terrible roads.”

Furthermore, @EastsideIgboboy claimed that Ogun State “is the headquarters of bad roads in Nigeria.”

“Upon all the big factories in Ota, I still wonder why Sango has very bad roads,” @alexottiofr stated.

But @tundealuko described the people accusing the Abiodun government of failure to fix roads as ungrateful. He wrote, “Very ungrateful people, I tell you. Look at the state of their roads in 2022. I took these photos; these roads are almost not motorable today. It is indeed a paid public relations war; they are crying out after everything excellent Dapo Abiodun has done for them.”

A former governorship aspirant in the state, Segun Showunmi, described the development as appalling, stating on his Facebook page, “I believe it is time to declare a road emergency in Ogun State. The federal government needs to stop being an obstacle to our desire to fix our roads under the guise of a terminology called federal roads.”

Meanwhile, the State House of Assembly has urged the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure in the state, Ade Akinsanya, an engineer, to intensify efforts on road reconstruction and rehabilitation across the state.

The Speaker, Oludaisi Elemide, made the call while responding to the submissions of a member representing Ijebu-North East constituency, Oluseun Adesanya, and his Ifo 2 counterpart, Fola Salami, who reported the state of roads in their constituencies.

Adesanya and Salami had called for palliative measures on the Stadium-domila- Idomowo-Barrack road in Ijebu-North East Local Government Area and the need for the rehabilitation of Taju Bello-Hercules-Giwa Road in Ifo 2 constituency, which had caused flooding that affected some houses in the area.

Reacting, Commissioner Akinsanya, on Wednesday disclosed that the Abiodun-led administration had embarked on massive rehabilitation and reconstruction of many roads across the state, saying there would be priorities based on the availability of fund and the economic viability of the roads.

He said that 120 roads, spread across the 20 local government areas in the state, were submitted by stakeholders, reiterating that the Abiodun-led administration was determined to make Ogun more attractive to both local and foreign investors.

He noted that to achieve its goal, the governor had mandated stakeholders, including royal fathers, lawmakers, both state and federal, local government chairmen, community and religious leaders, among others, to submit critical roads that required immediate attention in their various domains. He said rehabilitation work had commenced on some of the roads while contractors would soon move to the remaining ones.

Akinsanya said Governor Abiodun had also secured the collaboration of the federal government for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of an additional 14 roads.

Also speaking, the special adviser to Governor Abiodun on information and strategy, Kayode Akinmade, asked the federal government to allocate 20 per cent of all the funds it spent on federal roads in Lagos State to fix the deplorable roads in the state.

He maintained that Ogun had the highest number of federal roads without proper attention from the government.

Akinmade, who spoke during a programme organised by the Consolidated Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abeokuta, said: “Arguably, Ogun State has the largest federal roads inNigeria. The Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road that everybody is clamouring for is a federal road. And you people are aware of some of the effort Prince Dapo Abiodun made when he came on board in 2019.

“We have so many federal roads here; and I want to ask if the federal government could assist Ogun State by spending 20 per cent of all it spent in Lagos federal roads in Ogun. If that is done, our roads will not be like this.”