Lafenwa-Itele Road Repairs: The Government Officials That Are Delaying It
The volume of suffering of residents and users of terribly dilapidated Lafenwa-Itele road in Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State, has continued to worsen despite the several SOS calls made to government officials representing the area.
Since government under democracy is not a spirit but a group of individuals with specific names, occupying specific political positions and representing the people, it is time to begin to hold such officials accountable for the things they fail to do by virtue of the political positions they occupy.
Officials who ought to ensure that the Lafenwa-Itele Road is repaired have obviously not been forthcoming in performance of their responsibilities to the people of this area. Some have even expressed anger over the people’s protest. In other words, the people should simply suffer and keep quiet.
The officials that should ensure this road is repaired are:
1. GOVERNOR DAPO ABIODUN- The Executive Governor Of Ogun State: This road was one of His Excellency’s promises during the political campaigns in 2019. Today, he hardly makes reference to this dilapidated road in his speeches via both the conventional mass media and the social media despite all agitations for his attention. Does this mean that Lafenwa-Itele Road repair is not in Governor Abiodun’s agenda? Giving such border town priority attention makes economic sense for a Governor who wishes the state well. The typical Nigerian politician dwells on politics and does not care about governance. We hope Governor Abiodun does not have this common definition of a typical Nigerian politician- “Someone who knows how to make promises before elections and knows how to explain why he did not fulfill the promises after his tenure.” The Governor should please stop throwing excuses at suffering Lafenwa-Itele residents and fix the road. There are no awards for excuses, and legacy is a stakeholder in this matter.
2. HONOURABLE YUSUF SHERIF ABIODUN: This is the representative of Ado-Odo Ota Constituency in Ogun State House of Assembly OGHA. He is not just a member of the house. He is the majority leader and Chairman of chairmen of committees in the OGHA. There are no two people occupying this position in that house. This position wields a lot of influence on the Executive Governor, the executive arm of government and the House of Assembly itself. Does it mean that this representative is there to bear this title without doing what his people expect? If he cannot lobby or push for a better constituency, should the enlightened educated residents of his constituency fold their arms and watch him waste destiny opportunity?
3. HONOURABLE JIMOH OJUGBELE: This is the representative of Ado-Odo Ota Federal Constituency in Federal House of Representatives, Abuja. We gathered from this federal lawmaker that he is even finding it difficult to access his house in the area he is representing because of the state of the roads. Question! If he has no influence over his state governor and other representatives of the area at the state level, what story is he coming back to tell his people?
4. ENGR. ADE AKINSANYA: This is the Commissioner For Works & Infrastructure. He has been talking about projects without mentioning Lafenwa-Itele road. When is this commissioner going to locate Lafenwa-Itele road in his projects map?
5. MR. SHERIF ADEWALE MUSA (A.K.A SAM 20): This is the Chairman, Ado Odo Ota Local Government Area. This is the grassroots man. It is easy for him to hang on the impression that Local Government Chairman can do little or nothing in this matter. It is not completely correct.
As a matter of fact, his reaction to October 18, 2021 protest to the Local Government Secretariat by frustrated residents of the local government indicated that a man who ought to be in the forefront of this agitation and having sleepless nights over the annoying condition that roads in his local government have attained, equally has excuses to render. This is appalling.
“I don’t think any approved government project is abandoned. For me, we are putting the cart before the horse,” by protesting.
“We are taking various steps to ensure that Itele people are okay but you decided to take this step”
“We are taking not too good approach. You should have engaged us”
These were his words to protesting frustrated residents who he accused of failing to “engage” the government before protest, as if the government officials live in a different state or different world where they cannot see with their eyes.
These are the characters behind the delay in repair of Lafenwa-Itele road in Ado-Odo Ota Local Government Area of Ogun State where victims of the terribly dilapidated, most of who have recently suffered various degrees of losses as a result of the bad road, were heard by our crew on Sunday September 5, 2021, raining curses on government representatives of the area as they underwent another round of torture during heavy downpour.
On Wednesday, November 3, 2021, the Mopol Junction end of the road was totally blocked, leading to a major traffic jam that lasted for over eight hours. Road users were stranded and some got home as late as 1:00am the next day. This happens most times after a heavy downpour.
Residents and road users in the area in Lafenwa-Itele have severally accused both legislative and executive arms of the state government of deliberate neglect. According to them, most flooded and muddy parts of the Lafenwa-Itele road have consistently grown worse over the last 12 years despite the existence of representatives at various levels of government. Some regular users and residents of the road narrated their ordeal to chiedualbinus.com, reeling out the losses they have been recording as a result of the terrible state of the road.
A resident of the area, Mr. Ayeni Oba said he knew of at least, three pregnant women resident in the area, who had lost their pregnancies through miscarriages after being being subjected to frequent gallops and bad spots while using the road.
Another regular user of the road who resides in the area said a fellow resident had lost three cars to the bad road within a space of one year. The bitter stories of commercial and private vehicle owners were mind bugling as according to them, their vehicles have always been at mechanic workshops. Many commercial buses initially operating the route have stopped plying the road to save their vehicles’ lifespan. Because of this, life has been difficult for residents and road users in the increasingly populated area as they go through unbearable ordeal to secure commercial vehicles to their various destinations, especially during the rainy season. Many in most cases, resort to very long distant trekking on a daily basis due to lack of vehicles to convey them, as drivers abstain from the roads. Such residents eventually experience recurring illnesses resulting from stress.
Mr. Alabi Olubi, a commercial bus driver said they had no option than to charge very exhorbitant fares, thereby restricting their services to only people who can afford them. “No be say we self like to charge high money. Even the money wey we dey charge no fit repair our motor because ‘portortportor’ and water dey spoil am every time,” he explained in pidgin English.
Some of the aggrieved residents of the area alleged that the traditional rulers in the area were not bothered about the state of the road because government officials always “settle” them while the urchins popularly known as “Agberos” have a field day, intimidating and collecting money from commercial vehicle drivers unchecked att Mopol Junction and Lafenwa Bus Stop.
“All these Abgeros will not even like the road to be constructed because the bad state of the roads helps their business. They will lose their business of collecting money from drivers if the road is fixed. So, they also settle people upstairs on a daily basis,” said Munikat Afe
On Sunday, September 5, 2021, there were a total of five buses, four private vehicles, seven tipper lorries and six trailers that either broke down, obstructing movement or sank at various marshy portions between Lafenwa and Mopol Junction.
Intense anger is mounting among residents and road users in the area, who have threatened to do “unimaginable things” if the road is not fixed as soon as possible.
“We will not even wait for 2023 election campaigns because the wickedness of these politicians is too much,’ said Andy Debola, a resident.
Asked what he and his cohorts intended to do, he said: “we will keep that under cover for now but help us warn these government people that we understand their game of signing monies in the name of projects and not doing them, especially this Ogun State that seems to be under a spell on the issue of roads. We are not waiting for any 2023 elections because we don’t even believe their political promises anymore. Tell them to repair this road for us fast-o!.”
Chiedualbinus.com gathered that residents of Lafenwa-Itele area were majorly unenlightened people many years ago. This has changed astronomically within the last two decades as the area has increasingly gotten populated by educated landlords and tenants, including elites that are capable of accessing and probing the conduct of government officials.
Despite various media reports on the bad state of Lafenwa-Itele road since 2012, no effort has been made to fix the roads by any level of government. Chiedualbinus.com gathered that the last meeting of Community Development Association (CDA) Executives with the state government officials on the matter before the October 18 2021 protest to the Chairman was in 2020 but the CDA only received a political promise that has remained unfulfilled.
EX-PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO: Although this former 8-year President of Nigeria is no longer in office, there is a lot he can do to ensure that the roads around the local government hosting his famous Obasanjo farm is repaired. He should please engage those in authority asap.