Ibadan communities lament poor state of roads, send SOS to Makinde

In the wake of the recurrent torrential rainfalls in the state, AKINWALE ABOLUWADE writes that adjoining communities in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital have been battling with problem of deplorable condition of roads linking their areas with the metropolis.

Driving a car or a bus at 30 kilometres per hour from Ita-Faaji community to Wire and Cable area of Apata, Ibadan should take approximately five minutes if the roads were in good shape. This, however, is a tall dream at the moment as a result of the poor condition of the road. Motorists now go through excruciating pains every day to cover the distance.

Wire and Cable to Ita-Faaji road is infested with gullies and craters that were created as a result of several years of abandonment. The condition of the road became worse as a result of absence of drainage and due to illegal excavation of sand by some erring residents in the area.

With the current downpour at this season, some sections of the road have become so bad and dangerous to maneuver as vehicles are sometimes trapped in the middle of the road for many days leaving residents and road users with the option of seeking other available options. It was gathered, for instance that between Wednesday, July 3 and Saturday, July 6, motorists faced a very challenging situation when a trailer laden with fertilizer broke down in the middle of road thereby preventing free flow of traffic.

A motorist in the community, Kehinde Ashola, said: “The poor condition of the road often leads residents of the area as well as vehicle owners to big problems. The situation usually becomes worse especially whenever it rains. The road will become slippery and our vehicles get damaged easily. With the poor state of the road, it takes about 25 minutes to drive from Ita-Faaji to Wire and Cable. But, when it rains, you can spend longer time. Sometimes, we get stocked for the whole day if any vehicle should break down or get trapped in the crater.”

While car owners face difficult times in plying the road, commercial motorcyclists otherwise called okadamen usually ride recklessly and sometimes cause accident.

Mrs Oyinkansola Aremu said: “The bumpy, winding and dusty road linking Wire and Cable, Orisumbare, Oganla and Alada communities to Abule-Owo down to Agbofieti community is a terrible nightmare to us”. She said that efforts made to fix the road had failed. Community leaders had paid several visits to Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State to appeal to the council authorities to grade the road and construct drainages but they did not keep the promises.

Some residents of the community said that they were surprised that the immediate past administration in the state had failed to rehabilitate the road despite the fact that it announced in 2018 that it had approved the rehabilitation of the Nihort-All Saints College-Ita Faaji-Wire and Cable road.

A resident of the area, Mr Tijani Omotosho said: “The state government indicated in a newspaper publication as well as Premium Times, barely one year ago that the road construction from Nihort to Wire and Cable would be embarked upon. It was reported in Premium Times of February 8, 2018 as well as Daily Post Nigeria of February 9 of that year that Governor Abiola Ajimobi government approved the rehabilitation of the road. Specifically, Premium Times quoted the contract sum as N120 million.

“To embark upon the project, sum of N10 million was said to have been collected from the management of All Saints College, Aba Edun, apart from the approved sum. The asphaltic tarring was carried out between Nihort up to All Saints junction but nothing has since been done between the Mosalasi Apena, Orita-Faaji and Wire and Cable.”

For several weeks before the rainy season, the executive members of the landlords association at Orisunmbare community along Wire and Cable/Orita-Faaji road launched a toll levy of N50 per motorbike, N100 per car and N200 per articulated vehicle plying the route to fix the bad spots. However, they could not go far on the repair works as a result of paucity of funds.

Recent visit to the area showed that the road is in a deplorable shape. Some women in the community had reportedly teamed up some months ago to salvage the road. They were able to fix some bad portions of the road but have since stopped work because of the embarrassment that they faced from motorists who accused them of milking the road users dry.

The women said that they later took over the repair of the road because of its deplorable state. The women disclosed that initially, they raised the sum of N400,000 by levying each household within the community the sum of N3,000 for the repair of the road.

A resident of Orisunmbare community, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said: “The women took over the repair of the road because the men could not account for about N800,000 said to have been collected from motorists in the communities.

One of the women, Mrs Kudirat Adigun, said: “The women decided to take over the repair of the road because of the hardship being faced on a daily basis by those living in the community. We have made several appeals to the concerned authorities to help us to repair the bad portions of the road such as the Mouka Foam Junction, Orisunmibare Community, Town Hall and Alawusa, down to Ita-Faaji, but no help is forthcoming.

“We are passing through untold hardship as a result of the bad condition of the road. We are finding it increasingly difficult to use the road because of its bad condition. We get stranded most times; returning home from town sometimes comes with so much pain. Majority of women in this community are not car owners but we have children who have cars and other vehicles. Their vehicles break down most times and they spend so much money on repairs.

“Commercial vehicles are not plying this road because they will break down in no time.”Residents of Apete and its environs and Elebu community in Ido Local Government Area of Oyo State are also grieving presently over the deplorable condition of the roads in their areas. Recently, residents of Apete sent a ‘safe our souls’ message to the state governor in view of the poor state of their roads. They urged the governor to, as a matter of urgency, declare emergency on the Apete-Akufo road and other adjoining roads in the communities.

A resident of the community, Adesola Kamil, said: “Most of the roads here are no longer passable. Erosion has created gullies on many parts of the roads making it difficult for motorists, even motorcycle riders. Some of us have abandoned our vehicles at home because we cannot afford to be visiting mechanic because of the bad condition of the road”.

When Saturday Tribune visited the area, some trucks had broken down along the road at Akufo area thereby preventing other vehicles from passing through. Motorcyclists were riding on a footpath beside the road. Some vehicles were said to have got stocked on adjoining roads leaving other road users stranded. Some residents explained that businesses are usually affected during rainy season in the area because traders find it difficult to transport their goods to the neighbourhood,

Alhaja Adejoke Olagoke said: “It is highly risky to ply the route with goods now. Apparently, the situation is affecting commerce and every other aspect of our lives. We run at a loss most times because of delay or accident due to bad roads. We need the government to help us fix the road urgently. We urge the current administration in the state to rise to our aid and not abandon us like its predecessor.

Chairman of Awotan Community Landlords Association, Mr Fabayo Rasaq, said that sometime ago, the community took to self-help in order to fix the road. He said that the palliative measure worked but the road had since got damaged due to incessant downpour and blockage of drainages

Fabayo said: “We have commenced work on some part of the road but our effort is just a temporary measure. We need a permanent solution; we want the governor to fix the road for us. Many people are deserting the community because of the poor condition of the road and I believe in the ability of Governor Makinde to continue where his predecessor had stopped.”

Calls for urgent intervention from government are coming just as Governor Seyi Makinde alleged that his predecessor awarded road contracts worth N7 billion to a contractor with an untraceable office address. The governor had said that the contract was for the construction of the Moniya-Iseyin Road, Ojedeji Village in Akinyele Local Government Area of the state.

Makinde, who alleged that N2 billion of the total contract sum was paid to an unknown contractor, lamented that the road, which served as the economic route for farm and agricultural produces into the state, had since been abandoned with little or nothing to show for the project.

He said: “My impression of the work done so far, if I will have to evaluate and cost it, couldn’t have been more than N150 million. It was a faceless contractor and we don’t even know where their offices are located. I could have stopped by to go discuss with them but there is nowhere to stop by,”

The people of Wire and Cable, Prospect, Ita-Faaji, Alada and Oganla communities urged the government to investigate the abandoned road contract saying that the cost of neglect of the roads in their community is daunting.

The people of Akuru at Elebu community also expressed fears that unless urgent action was taken in order to rescue their road from total collapse, they may soon be cut off from Ibadan metropolis.