The Moniya-Iseyin road has become a nightmare to users of that route. Last week, Odo-Oba stream on the road overflowed the bridge and held the people hostage for three days. TUNDE BUSARI reports the state of the road and the Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde’s intervention.
The junction, which connects Moniya to Iseyin road on the old Ibadan-Oyo highway in Oyo State, can offer an attraction to a first time traveller. It is asphaltic, wide and can conservatively pass for a dual carriageway. However, about 200 metres into the journey comes the true image of the road which is daily plied by hundreds of Oke-Ogun bound travellers.
Our correspondent’s findings revealed that major sections of the 65-kilometre road have failed and consequently caused untold sufferings to the users, including residents. Of particular note is Odo Oba stream, which in every rainy season, overflows the surface of the bridge and demobilizes all that pass the road.
It was learnt that last Friday’s experience hit the people harder than the previous incidents because the flood nearly raged for the whole of the weekend. A leader of Moniya-Iseyincommercial drivers, Kamil Salam shared his encounter with the flood and said it was a nightmare he would not always want to remember given the discomfort he was made to pass through while the flood lasted. The 35-year-old revealed that he could not cross the water to the other side where he has his house.
“We were sleeping inside our vehicles because we could not take the risk of entering the flood. Nobody knew how deep it was. Let me tell you that many people were affected, and we thank God that we did not record any casualty. We heard over the radio similar incident after which some people were said to have been washed away by the flood. Odo-Oba has always dealt with us in the same way since I have been operating here in the past 15 years. It is not a good experience looking at your house on the other side but being unable to get there,” he recalled.
When our correspondent visited the Odo-Oba, there was no sign that the stream recently held the road users to ransom. A team of policemen from Moniya Divisional Headquarters were met few metres to the bridge on search and check duty. However, some stones were deposited at both sides, indicative of readiness to give the failed spot attention.
A resident of Alapata, Pastor Yomi Ayodele shed light on the latest development on the bridge, saying it was a response by Oyo State Government following Governor Seyi Makinde’s visit and promise to provide a palliative measure to check the flood.
The 57-year-old poultry farmer gave kudos to Oyo State governor for what he called the governor’s prompt intervention after the last flood experience, reiterating the importance of the road as the link between Ibadan and Oke-Ogun where they bring farm products.
Regrettably, the drivers’ leader, Salam explained the tragedy which the deplorable state of the road is meant to transportation business, bemoaning drivers’ visit to mechanic workshop after each trip, a reason many of his colleagues have incurred huge debt to keep their vehicles on the road. He said the road was tolerable until three years ago when government neglect aggravated it with potholes, dug by erosion, fill different sections of the road.
“We have taken our case to radio stations where we expressed our grief to the government. But we did not see any improvement except rumour that the contract for construction of the road had been awarded to a company. That was all we heard. There is no change on the road till he became death trap. We pass through experiences which can send us out of business but since we don’t have any other job to do, we endure the pains,” Salam said.
Our correspondent also visited Kings International College sited conspicuously on the Moniya-Iseyin road but the Principal of the college was said to have been at prayer session within the school compound. Although the section of the road at the college is smooth, parents of students from Ibadan and Iseyin end of the road usually have a taste of the bad road.
“It is true that the college is patronized only by the rich but there is no way they would be happy with the condition of this road. The rich don’t want any stress for their children. The school management should better join our voice to seek government response to the road. The college is even a higher stakeholder because of the number of parents who visit the college periodically,” a resident who declined his identity told our correspondent at a joint few metres away from the entrance of the college.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that the Oyo State Executive Council led by the former Governor Abiola Ajimobi had approved the contract of the Moniya-Iseyin road to a contractor in February 2018 with a mandate to complete it in one year and six months. The road was awarded for the sum of N6,952,565,074.97.
The then Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr Toye Arulogun, named the contractor as M/S Oladiran Engineering and Trade Nigeria Limited, a company selected after evaluation by the state consultants on road projects under Reyog International Nigeria Limited.
Arulogun said that 30 per cent of the contract sum would be paid to the contractor as advance payment, maintaining that the road would improve trade and investment and expand socio-economic development.
Two months after the expiration of the deadline, however, the road remains in its deplorable state, a reason which has caused the incumbent Governor Seyi Makinde to revoke the contract, describing the contractor as one lacking capacity to undertake the project.
At the launch of a $5m Agribusiness Project initiative by Farmcrowdy last month in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, the governor declared that the road was strategic to the state government.
He revealed that N2 billion out of the total contract sum was paid to the contractor, saying disappointingly that his assessment of the job done so far couldn’t have been more than N150 million.
“The road is just not in a good state even if it’s for us to get this functional, we can patch this road to support the Ibadan-Moniya-Iseyin road because it is a major road linking Ibadan with our production centres of Oke-Ogun as the food basket of the state and the country.
The traditional head of Alabata community in Akinyele Local Government, Olakanmi Olaniyan expressed his delight at the development looking forward to mobilization of a new contractor in order to save his people the grief of plying the road.
He recalled the joy which enveloped the community when the news of awarding the contract broke in 2018 with assurance of completion within 18 months.
“God will help Governor Seyi Makinde to fix this road this time around. We are tired of taking our vehicles to mechanics after every trip. I even sympathise with commercial drivers whose livelihood is on this bad road,” the 75-year old noted.
While the people are awaiting a new contractor to take over the construction, one man whose horticultural and landscape business shares boundary with Odo-Oba stream, Mr David Anuoluwapo, advised the government to first dredge the bridge as a means to give water free passage to prevent more flooding.
‘There is no sign that this rain will subside soon, so government needs to consider that the volume of the water here is more than what ring can contain. They need to raise the bridge and dig canal too. This can be done before the contractor comes. We are happy that the governor has shown readiness to do something with the stones brought to the bridge, meaning work would soon start,” he said.