The current nightmare experienced by motorists, commuters and other road users in Sango-Otain the Ado-Odo/Ota local government area of Ogun State due to the current deplorable condition of almost all the roads is indicative of a near total collapse of governance in the communities that also constitute one of the major industrial hubs of the state.
We demand immediate remedial work on some of the bad roads by the federal and state governments especially the ones linking the areas to Lagos State and the international route to Idiroko border with Benin Republic to alleviate the long sufferings of the people.
Though 19 of the identified roads belong to the state and three to the federal authorities, the Sango-Ota-Owode-Idiroko expressway; Atan-Agbara road and the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway, which have been in terrible condition over the years, further degenerated at the outset of the current rainy season, thereby compounding the people’s hardship as most of them are impassable and riddled with potholes and craters following persistent flooding engendered by poor drainages.
Apart from the untold suffering, this has caused, major accidents sometimes with not properly latched containers atop trailers tumbling and falling down to crush pedestrians, motorcycle and tricycle riders, a loss of unquantifiable man-hours daily, increasing cost of vehicle maintenance, hike in transport fares by motorists as well as rising cost of goods because market women usually transfer the escalating cost of transporting their goods to the cost of selling and the consumers.
Similarly, the tale of woes also include a total dislocation of social and economic activities, terrible traffic jam with passengers and motorists stranded at the bad portions of the roads for hours, depreciating value of property especially commercial buildings and exodus of tenants from the area.
The dwindling fortunes of the popular Sango-Ota industrial estates, which used to be a beehive of activities, are very worrisome as heavy vehicles carrying either raw materials to or finished products from the many factories in the area easily tumble on the bad roads leading to losses of goods and injuries to pedestrians and Okada riders while there is endless standstill in the city everyday and late into the night.
It is shameful and a matter of concern that despite its strategic location, linking Nigeria to other West African countries, home to many industries in the state and the attendant huge revenue generated yearly and its close proximity to Lagos State, the nation’s industrial/commercial nerve centre, the condition of most roads in Sango-Ota, except the few inner ones executed by the Ibikunle Amosun administration in Ota and the new Osi-Ota road executed by the state government with a grant from Bishop David Oyedepo that links with Lagos is horrible.
Oyedepo who is the founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, popularly known as Winners Chapel, we recall, had in 2019 donated two million dollars then about N650 million for the maintenance of bad roads in Ota and its environs, to alleviate the perennial hardship of users, a gesture that was roundly applauded by many even though the church has been responsible for the construction and regular maintenance of Oju-Ore to Atan to Agbara road.
Since its commissioning, the strategic Osi to Ota link road has brought tremendous relief to Lagos-bound motorists as many of them connected it from the Ota end of the old Lagos-Abeokuta expressway toll gate to avoid the potholes-ridden stretch leading to Abule- Egba, Lagos.
But that reprieve was terminated over two months now when Julius Berger Plc, the contractor handling reconstruction of the Lagos to Abeokuta expressway, without repairing any of the deplorable alternative access routes, blocked the only exit from the toll gate to Osi-Ota road thereby inflicting avoidable incalculable pains on the users. The short distance road from the flyover bridge too, to Joju roundabout by Access College is the worst portion of the road, which could have served as the remaining alternative has remained a death trap.
The construction giant, Julius Berger, which has been working on the highway for many years apparently due to poor funding by the Federal Government even with the Sukuuk loan, seems insensitive to the endless nightmare of passengers and motorists given its slow pace of work.
Also, the Itele-Lafenwa road that links with Ayobo in Lagos that could have made motoring pleasant for users, is crying for rehabilitation while other routes in a state of disrepair are Joju road on the Lagos-Abeokuta highway through Sango-Idiroko road, Bible College road, Temidire, Dalemo to Sango Motor Park, Maltina road, Temidire and Tarmac road, among others.
Ota, host to Covenant University, Bells University and the adjoining communities have become densely-populated due to the influx of people from Lagos among them the working class and business people who, as a result of unbearable pressure and high rents charged by landlords in the Centre of Excellence, find solace there in the relatively-affordable accommodation.
Unfortunately too, the 32-kilometre Sango -Ijoko-Agbado-Ojodu Abiodun road designed to connect Berger bus stop on Lagos-Ibadan expressway by the immediate past administration of Senator Amosun that could have served as alternative route to Lagos and ease the pressure on the Lagos-Abeokuta highway has remained abandoned and in very deplorable state.
It is however scandalous that one of the dual carriages of Sango-Ijoko road hurriedly commissioned by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo as part of activities lined up to commemorate 40 years of the Gateway State under Amosun government is now dotted with potholes just a few years after.
Very disappointing too is the fact that numerous appeals by residents for the state and federal authorities to come to their aid seem to have fallen on deaf ears. The only response came from Governor Dapo Abiodun, who, recently while pleading with the residents, blamed the federal government for frustrating his administration’s efforts at reconstructing the Lagos-Abeokuta highway without unveiling his administration’s plan to fix the state-owned roads and that is the crux of the matter.
According to him, several dialogues by the state with the federal government over possible takeover of the roads for reconstruction did not get presidential approval just as the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Ogun State Branch recently protested in Sango-Ota against the dilapidated conditions of roads across the state.
On a very disappointing note also, the few inner roads constructed by Amosun’s predecessor in office, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, including the Plaza road and Animashaun in Sango, were washed off by the rains shortly due to poor drainage network in the area without any rehabilitation in place, thereby further aggravating the hardship of users.
Given the traumatic experience of motorists, passengers, riders and others on these deplorable roads, over the year, we demand that the federal and state governments through their maintenance agencies commit to immediate rehabilitation of the failed portions of the roads as the people are tired of excuses.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, as well as the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, ICPC, should as a matter of top priority commence investigation into all contracts awarded for the construction and rehabilitation of roads in Sango-Ota with a view to recovering all misappropriated funds by the past administrations in the state and get justice for tax payers.
It must not be business as usual for a government that derived its mandate from the Change mantra anchored on fighting corruption, transforming the economy and eradicating insecurity.