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Just after one rain suffering continues on Lagos/Abeokuta Expressway

By Gbenga Akinfenwa
18 February 2018   |   4:29 am
For the fourth consecutive year, provision for the reconstruction of the Lagos-Sango Ota-Abeokuta Dual Carriageway is conspicuously missing from the Federal Government’s yearly priority list. 

A failed section in Owode area

• Govt Lists Road As One Repaired In 2016
For the fourth consecutive year, provision for the reconstruction of the Lagos-Sango Ota-Abeokuta Dual Carriageway is conspicuously missing from the Federal Government’s yearly priority list.

To say that the road is now in a dilapidated state is to make matters light. Apart from becoming an eyesore, its terrible state has facilitated several road crashes, while the perennial traffic gridlock there has defied all applied solutions.

The Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA), which is responsible for the maintenance of the road has been helpless, largely as a result of paucity of funds. The road has not been listed as part of those needing attention in the last three years.

Many had thought that after the Federal Government failed to pencil it down for repairs, the Ogun State government would step in to salvage the situation, as has been the practice by some state governments, including Lagos. But road users were awfully disappointed that the Ogun State government has elected to look the other way. This is not talk about palliatives.

What is even more shocking is the fact that the road was listed in President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s Mid-term Scorecard, published in 2017, as one of the roads already rehabilitated by the Federal Government.

This deceitful listing appeared thus on Page 279 of the Buhari’s Mid-term Scorecard: “Some of the projects executed under the different interventions in the Works Sector from 2016 to date, through FERMA, include patching of potholes, pavement strengthening, repairs of failed sections and general maintenance works along the following road…Abeokuta-Sango Ota Dual Carriageway, Ogun State.”

The experience of road users between June and October last year was most horrible as incessant downpour worsened the pathetic state of the road.

Arising from this, many had hoped that either the Federal Government or the Ogun State government would use the dry season window to repair the failed sections. But to the chagrin of motorists and other road users, the so-called repair works carried out made no sense as worse sections yearning for attention were left out.

Just after one rain fall last week, the state of the road has already gone from bad to worse. The plight of motorists, especially private car owners has worsened, and commuting on the road, a nightmarish experience.

At the moment, the most horrible spots are Owode, Sango Garage in Joju (opposite IBEDC office), and Iyana-Ilogbo.

More often than not, traffic in these areas are usually at a standstill, and policemen and motor traffic officials are usually helpless, as the situation is always beyond their control.

A trip from Sango to Ifo, which ordinarily should not exceed 20 minutes, now takes up to two hours, depending on the time of the day. The craters at Conoil, Owode, and Iyana-Ilogbo are mainly responsible for the condition, as motorists spend close to 40 minutes navigating their way in these troubled spots.

As pressure is exerted on the failed portions, the diameter widens by the day, especially when the rains get heavier.

Not only have many vehicles been trapped at the bad spot at Owode, by the last count, at least five fuel tankers have spilled their contents on that spot after getting stuck. They ultimately fall down as they struggle to find their way out.

Another unfortunate thing is that there is no link road that can serve as an alternative route for motorists trapped in the traffic snarl.

Now, residents of communities along the road have become helpless, especially after it dawned on them that there is no succour in sight, as no one is sure if the road has been listed for repairs in the 2018 budget after it was excluded from the 2015, 2016 AND 2017 budgetS.

The Senior Pastor/District Overseer, Foursquare Gospel Church, District Headquarters, Sango Ota, Ogun State, Rev. Abraham Ayomide, who was angered with the state of the road, described the road as a nightmare, especially when it rains.

Recounting his experiences, he said the deep potholes not only worsen the bumpy ride, but have also contributed immensely to damaging car exhaust pipes and engine protectors.

“Accidents are frequent on the road as people swerve here and there in search of better portions to drive on. Anytime it rains, a journey of 30 minutes takes at least 3 hours. The toll on drivers and other road users is unquantifiable.

“I was surprised to read in a national daily that the road has been repaired by the state government. I even thought the repair was done when I travelled out of town, but when I returned I found out that nothing had been done.

“This is an appeal to the Ogun State government to please urgently attend to the long stretch of the Lagos/Abeokuta Expressway from the old Sango Ota Toll Gate to Ifo. It is a nightmare passing through this road, especially when it rains.”

Another motorist, Idowu Joseph, condemned the neglect by both the federal and state governments, warning that if no attention is given to the road shortly, it will soon become impassable in the next few weeks.

He said though the road belongs to the Federal Government, the Ogun State government should bear it in mind that the council area, where the state gets its largest Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) from is Ado-Odo/Ota, where the bad road is mostly felt.

“If the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, can repair the bad sections of the road within his domain, Amosun has no excuse not to do same. Sometime in 2003/2004, former Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State, rehabilitated the Mushin-Olosha/Idi-Oro Road and later claimed the money from the Federal Government, Amosun should toe that line; he should stop giving the flimsy excuses that he is giving, after all, it is the same party that is at the centre, that is ruling the state.”

When the FERMA boss in charge of Ogun State, Alexander Mazoya, was contacted he confirmed that his agency was responsible for the patching and carrying out rehabilitation works on the road through direct labour.

When asked why the situation on the road has been allowed to get so deplorable, he said: “We are doing it in phases; we are gradually doing everything to ensure the road is motorable.”

He told The Guardian that he is not aware of any claim that the road has been repaired, stressing, “I don’t know about that, what you are seeing is what you are seeing.”