At Last Iyana Ejigbo! Rebirth Of Lagos State’s Worst Road
Why It’s Too Early To Laud Ambode
BARELY seven months into the life of his administration, Lagos State’s Governor Akinwunmi Ambode might have endeared himself to the hearts of thousands of Alimosho Local Government Area residents by performing what had seemed nearly impossible. But even as hoorays ring out, the feat inadvertently exposes few areas muting the perfect victory song.
A visitor plying Jakande-Ejigbo-Ikotun today might go home with the impression that the road has always been this smooth. False! It actually used to be a motorist’s hell; and no adjective, less infernal, might have sufficed. To say: ‘pothole-packed’, ‘crater-crammed’, ‘canyon-congested’, ‘crankshaft-killing’, ‘wheel hub-breaking’, ‘tyre-bursting’, ‘bumper-blasting’, ‘container-toppling’, ‘gridlock-spewing’, is to vainly attempt description. The fact was: there was no road in existence. What used to be one had long ceased, and commuters merely plodded through rivers and trudged through deserts.
Then arrived Akinwunmi. And while one helmsman strangely enough ‘saw’ the road via SMS, Ambode during an inspection visit said: “I have come personally to see for myself the state of Ejigbo road and it is very clear that this is totally unacceptable and there is no other remedy but let our officials come to site within the next one week. And the people of this neighbourhood should be GUARANTEED THAT WORK WILL START ON THE IKOTUN-EJIGBO ISOLO AXIS WITHIN THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS.” The rest is history.
Then came Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
But first, there was former Governor Babatunde Fashola, now Federal Minister for Works, Housing and Power (quite a mouthful), who on account of rain that always fell 365 days a year along the road, failed to put in place as much as a palliative on a major artery that serves tens of thousands of Lagosians every day! So glaring a contradiction, many observers fingered squabbling among political interests in the state. A poorly planned drainage construction embarked upon conveyed water to the Egbe canal and conveyed pain to the hearts of residents traumatised by a road ‘wounded’ further.
“I feel your pain as regards your bad road network. I must confess, I received all your text messages, and I feel your pain. Presently, we are working on 254 roads in the state. All our contractors are engaged and the weather is not in our favour. As soon as there is climate satisfaction, we will move to improve road network in Ejigbo,” the man, that is Fashola, once said.
Then arrived Akinwunmi. And while one helmsman strangely enough ‘saw’ the road via SMS, Ambode during an inspection visit said: “I have come personally to see for myself the state of Ejigbo road and it is very clear that this is totally unacceptable and there is no other remedy but let our officials come to site within the next one week. And the people of this neighbourhood should be GUARANTEED THAT WORK WILL START ON THE IKOTUN-EJIGBO ISOLO AXIS WITHIN THE NEXT SEVEN DAYS.”
The rest is history.
Besides, scoring a point in fixing the Jakande-Ejigbo-Ikotun road, the Lagos State government has already opened Jakande-Ijegun to public use. Another key road, work has reached well over 90 per cent completion. The road, at the dying days of the previous administration, had been abandoned, causing severe frustrations to residents, some of whose premises were cut off. Road users also were treated to a regular course of traffic gridlocks.
Ikotun-Ijegun has also been rehabilitated. The terrible spots including those at Babalegba have been repaired; likewise the depressions between Papa Major bus stop and Olufemi Taylor Street have been asphalted. Consequently, road users now have a smoother and traffic-jam free commuting.
Again, in a departure from many months of trauma to residents whose houses were rendered inaccessible by car, the phase II section of Ejigbo-Idimu, though still waiting to be completed, has, at least, been opened up.
With the principal roads now active, it goes without saying that residents in the entire axis are heaving a huge sigh of relief. Asked what she thought about the new Iyana Ejigbo stretch, one food seller opposite a new generation bank in the area, amid a wide grin, struggled to find the right word. ‘Excited’ was suggested, and she ok’d it with a nod. But not until she had added, ‘VERY!’
But the final analysis of the traffic equation indicates that one good road deserves another. With residents of the axis now empowered to hit the roads and flow without hindrance, it only means some road somewhere would bear the brunt of the overload, except it is equally enabled.
At once, the narrow and ‘gridlock-infested’ Isolo exit comes to mind, as well as the constricted Ajao Estate route. Although work is ongoing at the Ajao road, it is doubtful if the stretch would sufficiently bear the evident traffic burden. Forever, the intersection at Jakande estate has been a traffic nightmare. It is a jinx that can only be broken by a flyover ferrying on commuters that have no business with the joint. Mention must equally be made of the need to kick-start the Ijegun-Festac and Jakande Estate-Okota/Ago links.
A flyover at Jakande!? Overhaul at Isolo?! Ajao Estate?! Link roads?! You wan kill Ambo! You wan empty Lagos treasury? Has the man not tried enough?!
Well, that might just be why a full and final applause may have to wait.
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