Call for help: We deserve federal presence, Osogbo/Olorunda/Orolu constituents beg FG

The colonial bridge on River Erinle on the Osogbo-Ilobu-Ogbomoso road awarded for construction in the 2016 budget.

Constituents of Osogbo/Olorunda/Orolu/Irepodun Federal Constituency, which is represented by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Honourable Lasun Yusuff, recently threw their weights behind the lawmaker and sent an SOS appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari on projects for the four local governments, reports MOSES ALAO.

Take the Ojutu Bridge on the Osogbo-Ilobu-Ifon-Ogbomoso road for instance; that bridge is a colonial bridge built around 1901. It can only take a vehicle at a time and a lot of accidents have occurred at that place. The road itself is the only one that connects Osun State and indeed a large part of the South-West zone to the North. We were excited when we learnt that the construction of that bridge and the rehabilitation of the road are in the 2016 budget. We plead with the president to give the projects an urgent attention and ensure their speedy completion,” these were the words of Alhaji Mufutau Oladapo, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Olorunda Local Government Area of Osun State, while speaking with Nigerian Tribune on the 2016 budget provisions for Osogbo/Olorunda/Orolu/Irepodun Federal Constituency.

For quite some time now, there has been controversy over the 2016 budget following an allegation that some principal officers of the House ‘padded’ the budget. While Nigerians have continued to speak against and in defence of the House leadership, the constituents of Osogbo/Olorunda/Orolu/Irepodun Federal Constituency of Osun State have maintained that it would be wrong to cast aspersions on their representative without knowing the importance of some of the projects in the 2016 budget to the people of the constituency, Osun State and even Nigeria.

A look at the 2016 budget document showed that some of the projects meant for the four local governments include: rehabilitation of Osogbo-Ilobu-Ifon-Ogbomoso road; design and construction of a bridge in place of the colonial bridge on the Erinle River in Ilobu; construction of Comprehensive Health Centre in Ilobu; Construction of Primary Health Centre in Osogbo; rehabilitation of Primary Health Centres in Irepodun, Olorunda, Orolu and Osogbo local governments; construction of blocks of classrooms with staff office, Information Communication Technology centre and toilet at Ansar-ud-Deen Grammar School, Erin-Osun, Ogidan High School, Osogbo and Islahudeen High School, Oke Onitea, Osogbo; rehabilitation and furnishing of schools in Osogbo and Oba-Ile and job creation through agriculture and skills acquisition schemes, among others.

These projects, several constituents informed Nigerian Tribune, were ones that will satisfy the yearning and aspirations of the people in the four local governments and beyond, noting that they were products of consultations and thoughtfulness.”

Sitting on a large expanse of land that encompasses the Osun State capital,Osogbo, which has two local governments and Ilobu; Ifon; Oba-Ile; Erin-Osun, among other rural communities under Orolu and Irepodun local governments, the federal constituency is an admixture of the hustles and bustles of city life and the rusticity of the smaller settlements. But something far more important than the dichotomy of rural-urban lives connects all the communities in the federal constituency—the Osogbo-Ilobu-Ifon-Ogbomoso road, through which agricultural produce are said to be transported to the state capital.

Dr Aderemi Suleiman Ajala, who is of the Department of Anthropology, University of Ibadan, while speaking with Nigerian Tribune in Ilobu, said that from studies, the Ojutu Bridge was one of the few remaining bridges built by the colonial masters around early1900s and that the road was last rehabilitated 17 years while several fatal accidents had been recorded on the bridge. He maintained that the road and the bridge had accounted for losses of pregnancies, valuables and agricultural produce, noting that though the road is economically important to the residents of Osun State as well as commuters from Edo and Ondo States who want to connect the Northern part of the country, it had remained neglected for too long. He said that the constituents were overjoyed to learn that the road and the bridge had been included in the 2016 budget.

Also commenting, the Baale Janga of Ilobu, Chief Rufai Hassan Adeoye, said the rehabilitation of the Osogbo-Ilobu-Ogbomoso road“is the greatest need” of the people in that axis of Osun State, noting that they had been suffering for long and “if we have someone who can bail us out, there is no other thing we can request from government than that. It is a priority and if God helps us and we are able to get it, we will be grateful to God.”

A former chairman of Olorunda Local Government, Alhaji Moshood Balogun, also buttressed these views, saying that, “The colonial bridge that has been on the road before independence is still there today; it is what the people are still using. Tell me, who will remember us? Who will know that we are suffering? We were all happy to hear that it was included in the 2016 budget; call it padding or anything you like. I will be sincere with you, we are deprived in Osun State; we are marginalised on federal projects; so if we are lucky to have one of our own who is coming to the aid of thousands of people, definitely we know he is not a bastard.”

Another resident of Ilobu, Alhaji Tajudeen Adesina, while speaking with Nigerian Tribune also revealed that if the road is completed, it would be a great joy to the people of Ilobu and entire Osun State, “because farm produce will get to the city centres faster and the economy of this area will progress.”

He added that apart from the road, other projects initiated by the Deputy Speaker in the 2016 budget were acceptable to the people, because they have been their major challenges for a long time.

According to Chief Kayode Idowu Esuleke, it would not be too much to ask for the people of the constituency to also feel the federal presence, “which is what the projects will bring about.”

Some of the other constituents who spoke to Nigerian Tribune maintained that the projects included in the budget were of importance to the constituency and that they also deserved to feel the presence of the Federal Government.

“The projects are not of benefit to just the four local governments in Lasun Yusuff’s constituency, because people Ilobu, Ifon, Osogbo and others are not the only people that will ply the road; other Nigerians use the road and if the hospitals are built, I believe they will not be closed to non-indigenes of Osun State,” Chief Esuleke said.

Alhaji Mufutau Oladapo was also quick to point out that the challenges of the four local governments in the constituency were far more than poor roads.

“So we can only urge President Buhari, whom we voted for enmasse in this part of Osun State, to allow the execution of these projects,” Alhaji Oladapo stated, while Alhaji Balogun appealed to the Federal Government not to stop the projects but ensure their speedy completion for the good of the constituents, Osun State residents and Nigerians.

Chief Esuleke, who is the Baale Esu Agbojeniyi of Osogbo, in his contribution, also called on the president to ensure the speedy completion of the projects allotted to the constituency, saying that “I know that President Buhari walks his talk, so I will urge him to ensure a speedy and timely execution and completion of the projects.”

“Apart from the projects, Rt. Hon. Lasun Yusuff has been doing all he can to alleviate the poverty of the people in the constituency. He has been a functional and effective representative,” Oladapo stated, with Balogun maintaining that “Rt. Hon. Lasun Yusuff is representing us adequately.”