Ajao Estate roads…Unending pain for motorists, commuters
Driving around Ajao Estate, a residential community in Oshodi/Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State, is a herculean task, as commuters and motorist daily contend with potholes and craters that liter a supposedly affluent neighbourhood just by the Lagos international Airport.
This contrasts sharply with road constructions that are ongoing in others parts of the Lagos, from Oshodi-Apapa expressway to Badagry expressway, and Lagos Abeokuta expressway. Motorists and commuters plying the roads in the community to get to their destinations are daily, livid with rage over the deplorable state of the roads.
Residents of the estate and commuters are calling on the Lagos government not to abandon tax payers in that axis. The roads, Stella Sholanke and Akinola Sholanke Streets that connect the Ajao Estate Police Station from the airport road is in a deplorable and shameful state, unbefitting acclaimed status of Lagos as a mega city.
When it rains, the police patrol vehicle finds it difficult to come out of the station, let alone drive out. The same is applicable to roads like Lateef Salami, Fatai Irawo, Olutosin Ajayi, Oredola Olojo, Awoniyi Elemo, Cobham, Adewale, and Alhaji Bashiru streets, among others.
A major consequence of the bad state of the road network is the extremely frustrating and traumatising gridlocks that residents and motorists are subjected to during peak on their way out and in the evening when they are returning home.
Expectedly, anytime there is a gridlock – which is now a common feature – the entire community grinds to a halt. Businesses suffer and socio-economic activities collapse, as man-hours are lost during the period. The perennial traffic congestion also affects the health of commuters. For many, the roads are a total disaster and harbingers of death.
From Lateef Salami Street junction on Murtala Muhammed International Airport road, to the popular Canoe in Oke-Afa through Asa-Aafriogun, Nwaobodoeze, Benson Anorue, Ajibade Babatola, Lukman Atobajeun, Chivita Avenue, Inno Nwosu and Victoria Akinwale streets, are sad pictures of rot and despondency.
A ride that should not exceed fives minutes now takes an hour with a heavy traffic, and when there is a lockdown, motorists and commuters spend upwards of three hours and beyond. Expectedly, commercial bus and tricycle operators taking advantage of the confusion, hike transport fares to over 100 per cent, thus inflicting more pain on the already depressed commuters.
Speaking to The Guardian, commuters and motorists called on the state and local governments to rehabilitate the roads to make mobility easy.A resident in Richfield area of the community, Mr. Chinedu Okafor, noted that the sorry state of the roads have slowed down movement and inflicted damage on vehicles.
He said, “I have lived in Ajao estate for the past 15 years, bad roads have been a part of Ajao. The roads are now eyesore, not minding the fact that they serve as links to major roads. There is need to rehabilitate them urgently.”
“The governor should declare a state of emergency on roads like Asa-Afariogun, Fatai Irawo, Lateef Salami, Stella Solanke, Akinola Solanke, Olutosin Ajayi, Oredola Olojo, Cohbam, Ajibade Babatola, Benson Anorue, Captain Lambert Imasuen and Adewale streets and many more; and fix them. Enough of all the discomfort, we deserve the change APC promised,” he added.
According to another resident, Dr. Osinachi Fidelis, as far back as 1990s, Ajao Estate has been known to have bad roads. “It got worse during the time of Fashola when he commissioned the road and bridge that links Oke-Afa, Ejigbo, Idimu, Isheri Olofin, Ikotun and Igando linking heavy traffic into Ajao Estate. This has made the roads go from bad to worse. When it rains it gets terrible with SUVs struggling not to talk of salon cars,” he said.
For Chinenye Umeokoro, a shop owner in the area, “Ajao estate roads are long over due for rehabilitations. The APC government in power promised us change in 2015, and in 2019 they changed it to next level. The question is, are these bad roads the next level?” she queried.
A teacher, Oyefeso Abimbola stated that as teacher working in a school in Ajao estate and by virtue of her work, she goes through pains daily, adding that most children who live in the community arrive to school in the morning cranky and unhappy due to stressful journey as a result of bad roads. “Most days, it takes a while for them to settle down and learn,” she said.
Lamenting the deplorable state of the roads in the area, operators of tricycle popularly known as Keke Marwa, plying the area told The Guardian that members of their union had at various times filled some of the bad spots with broken blocks to make the road passable.
One of the operators, who simply gave his name as Tochukwu, stated that the sorry state of the roads adversely affect their business, as it slows down movement and inflicts damages on their tricycles.He said, “The potholes slow down our operation. A journey that ought to last between 10 and 20 minutes now takes 50 minutes or more. At the end of the day, there is little or nothing to go home with.
“Before, we used to charge N50 from Ajao Estate Junction to Canoe (the Oke-Afa/Ejigbo link bridge), but now it is N100. Junction to Ajao Estate Police Station and Richfield used to be N50, but it is now N100. Many would rather walk down to their destination, especially when there is gridlock, rather than waste their money on shuttle. As result our daily returns is affected,” he added.
According to the chairman of the Community Development Association (CDA), Elder Francis Makinde, series of letters had been written by the Association to the LCDA and Lagos State government, complaining about the deplorable state of roads in the Estate, but nothing has been done.
He said, “Recently, the state government listed roads to be rehabilitated, no single one in our domain was listed. It happened during the immediate past administration of Akinwumi Ambode, when 114 roads were listed to be rehabilitated, and one of our roads was on the list, but we were later denied the benefit.”
Makinde explained that members have resorted to self-help by contributing money to buy gravel and sand to fill potholes and engage hands to clear the drainage.
“The sorry state of the roads in Ajao Estate is dehumanising. We are calling on the government, both state and LCDA to help fix the roads from Stella Sholanke Street through Akinola Sholanke to Ajao Estate Police Station and Asa-Afariogun through Nwaobodoeze enroute Benson Anorue, Ahanor drive, Chivita Avenue leading to Canoe link bridge, as well as repair collapsed drainage for easy flow of water,” he stated.
Makinde also called for the completion of ongoing rehabilitation project at Benson Anorue, leading to St. Peter Clever Catholic Church, which connects to another road that links to Eleganza in the community. He noted that this would help free movement of vehicles coming down from Oke-Afa and NNPC end. The CDA chairman further disclosed that his association has taken the matter to the member representing the area in the House of Representatives, Hon. Ganiyu Abiodun Johnson and the member at the State House of Assembly, Hon. Jude Emeka Idimogu.