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Residents agonise as crater-like potholes adorn Old Ojo Road

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A section of the road that has become impassable PHOTO: GBENGA SALAU

For residents of Mazamaza, Amuwo, Agboju, Oluti, Alakija, Finaja and Abule-Ado in Ori-Ade Local Council, driving on Old Ojo Road has become an agonising experience, due to the deplorable state of the road. Riddled with cavernous potholes, the road constitutes a source of great anxiety to the numerous motorists and commuters plying it, as it inflicts untold hardship and damage on vehicles, with longer journey time from one point to another.

The worst section of the road is between Mazamaza and First Gate bus stops. This has become impassable by all types of vehicles, although there are also other sections of the road with gaping potholes. There are two such potholes at Domorose Bus Stop, while another is in front of Agboju Market and around Oluti and Dantata bus stops. These are aside the smaller potholes that often force drivers to slow down, thereby disturbing their movement.

Commercial bus drivers disclosed that when the anguish became too much, especially as it was telling on their vehicles, which were breaking down frequently, they staged a protest at the local council, but the Chairman, Ramotalai Akinlola-Hassan, told them she could not do anything, as the road belongs to the state.

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A commercial driver, who simply gave his name as Tajudeen, said he changes at least a tyre every week. This is aside his having to visit the mechanic every two days to rectify something in his mini-bus.

He disclosed that sections of the Old Ojo Road are no longer motorable, which is why they have resorted to using the inner streets, where possible. “To bypass the big potholes between Mazamaza and First Gate, we go through Fashinro Street. We do the same thing when we get to Mosalasi Bus Stop, as we go through Balogun Street to link Baruwa Street and then connect Old Ojo Road at Pako Bus Stop. This is because it is very bad between Church and Baruwa Bus Stop. And due to double parking on these streets, driving through them has not been easy, as the traffic is always slow, and sometimes even chaotic.”

Tajudeen said currently, no vehicle can drive through the two potholes between Mazamaza and First Gate, and that any driver that tries it will have himself to blame, as his vehicle is likely to get stuck, no matter how good it is.

He noted that despite this, commercial drivers plying the route still pay Union boys, not just daily but for every trip, with nothing being done to help ameliorate the situation.

To Victoria Okereke, a resident, the issue of bad roads in Mazamaza has become embarrassing, noting that plying the roads in MazaMaza is very stressful, as there are too many potholes and detours, resulting in slow traffic most times.

She said: “You know we have so many trailers and containers using the road. These heavy-duty trucks are quite dangerous. Some of them do not latch their containers, relying on their weight for stability. Consequently, their containers sometimes overturn, which end up causing serious traffic jam. The bad roads get worse during the rainy season, as drivers, in their attempt to avoid potholes filled with dirty water, slow down. It is really distressing. Private vehicles owners have to frequently deal with car alignment, resulting in the vehicles breaking down regularly. Okada riders are not exempted, as they always bob up and down over the bumps. It is simply stressful and annoying.”

Another resident, Babatunde Balogun, said the deplorable state of the road had made it into a death trap. “For instance, if a first time visitor driving at night or someone that does not concentrate properly should run into these potholes, it could be fatal.”

In his view, the situation points to the fact that government is not alive to it responsibilities. “During rainy season or whenever it rains, even pedestrians could hardly use the road.”

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Another resident, Ada Emeka said: “The terrible condition of the road in MazaMaza is responsible for the shuttle buses now using the streets, instead of the major road. It is very difficult to get to one’s destination, as a journey that should take about five minutes now takes over 30 minutes, due to the potholes. This is frustrating. Government should please do something about it.”

On his part, Raphael Abiodun pleaded with government to repair the road, as it is inflicting so much pain on residents.

“Government should try to repair the roads, especially the Old Ojo Road as soon as possible because the roads are in bad condition and when it rains, they become a big problem to the people plying them,” he said.

In a phone interview, the Council Chairman, Ramotalai Akinlola-Hassan, said the road truly belongs to the state government and she has informed the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu about its deplorable condition.

“Since the road belongs to the state, there is no way the local council can embark on its reconstruction, especially of the length. We have written to the state to notify it about the condition of the road, and we requested that something should be done about it, even if it is just to patch it. But they said it would be waste of money, as it needs total reconstruction. That was why we slowed down on the push.”

On the complaint that the road has been in such deplorable for a very long time, the council chairman admonished the residents to endure the pains, which according to her, is only temporary, as they would quickly forget the pains, once the road is reconstructed.

Akinlola-Hassan was, however, very hopeful that the state governor would soon reconstruct the road. She said once the contractors handling the two roads being reconstructed by the state— Navy Town and Marwa roads, moved to site, Old Ojo Road would be the next on the schedule.

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