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Shameful faces of Sango-Ota township roads

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Sango Park


Undoubtedly, the metropolitan city of Sango-Ota and neighbouring communities have never had it so bad in recent past in terms of good road network.
   
To say that the residents, motorists and other road users are currently in a state of dilemma is to say the least, as they are already pissed off, worried and angry that the horrible roads are turning from bad to worst on daily basis.

Despite its strategic location, linking Nigeria to other West Africa countries and the host to large fraction of industries in the state, coupled with its proximity to Lagos State, the situation of the roads is bad, except the recently commissioned Osi Ota road connecting Lagos.

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From Joju road on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway through Sango-Idiroko road, Oju-ore, Lafenwa, Itele, Sango-Ijoko, Bible College road, Temidire, Dalemo to Sango Park, among others, the roads are in horrible state of disrepair.

On Wednesday, angry residents of the area forcefully stopped the convoy of the state Governor while on the campaign tour of the area ahead of Saturday’s council poll, demanding explanation for his failure to fix the Abeokuta-Ota-Lagos Expressway.

The governor, while pleading with the residents, blamed the Federal Government for frustrating his administration’s efforts at reconstructing the road.

The residents trooped to the Sango-Idiroko highway to express their displeasure over the state of roads. Another round of protest by angry residents of the area led to the governor’s stopover at the Joju junction on the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Expressway after the initial protest at the Sango-Idiroko highway, an indication of the level of frustration in the area.
   
Though the state government has always claimed that the stretch from Conoil through Joju to tollgate on the Lagos-Abeokuta road, which is currently under construction is a Federal Government road, but the inner roads, which should have served as alternative routes to lessen the agony of road users, are like dungeons.

For motorists and other road users, it is another tortuous long wait as the construction work on that long stretch of the expressway has worsened traffic flow.
 
Currently, the most terrible spots along the expressway are Joju Junction; the stretch towards Conoil Junction; the bridge edge, Sango Park and the Bible college side, which stretch to the tollgate.

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Traffic in and around these bad spots is always at a standstill. Once this happens, policemen and traffic control officers are always helpless. Once there is a downpour, the state of the road is worsened, and areas like Joju Junction and Sango Park become waterlogged. Consequently, passengers are often stranded in those areas for hours, especially at peak periods.

On one of such occasions recently, vehicular traffic stretched from Sango Motor Park, went over the bridge up to Joju, thereby forcing impatient motorists to drive against traffic, a decision that worsened the situation.
 
Some inner roads like the Plaza and Animashaun on the other side of Sango, constructed in 2008 were virtually washed off by the rains within four months. Joju road, which should have lessened the burden on the Sango-Oju Ore road, is laden with several potholes and craters. The same goes for Maltina road, Temidire and Tarmac road that extended to the night market.
   
The experience of the residents on daily basis is disheartening, considering the magnitude of their catastrophe is endless, as they have been forced to cope with a situation beyond their power. It was learnt that some of the residents working in Lagos have abandoned the area for now, while others only come home during the weekends.
 
A commuter driver, who gave his name simply as Seedorf said the few of them who ply the roads on a daily basis are taking serious risks, because of incidents of tragic vehicular somersaults that have become the order of the day on the roads.
   
For now, some commuter buses have also abandoned the route, as the state of the road has constantly damage their vehicles. It was learnt that the development has forced them to jerk up transport fare to the discomfort of commuters. Abule-Egba to Ifo, which previously was between N200 to N250, is now between N400 and N500. Sango to Ifo has increased to N200 from N100.

The Ijoko road too has not feared better as it has been dotted with potholes and craters. Since the 32km Sango-Ijoko-Agbado-Ojodu Abiodun road was abandoned by the immediate past administration, it is also fast deteriorating.

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The project, which started on October 22, 2013, has practically been abandoned. After years, what many thought to be a blessing, has come to haunt them, as the road, which is the artery into the border communities and Berger on the Lagos/Ibadan expressway, is now a burden. The over 20 border communities on the axis, majority of which fall under Agbado area of Ifo Local Council are currently reeling in pains.

Residents of the communities, which include: Alagbole, Olambe, Akeredolu, Peters, Adiyan, Opeilu, Akute, Itoki, Giwa, Ajuwon, Gideon, Abule-Ekun, Ibaragun, Sabo, Alagbole, Idi-Orogbo, Fabolude, Matogun, Adiyan Alausa, Otun, Oke-Aro, Egon, Arinfanla, Osere, Ojodu-Abiodun, Denro, Agbado, Ijoko and Sango Ota, who spoke with The Guardian, claimed that the uncompleted road project had brought them untold hardships. Sadly, some of whose properties were demolished claimed they are still waiting to be compensated.

The Olota of Ota, Oba Adeyemi Abdulkabir Obalanlege told The Guardian that the terrible state of the road is driving investors away from the ancient town. “I feel really bad because this is not good enough for our survival. The fact that we are the business hub of the state makes it very important for the Governor to do everything possible to ensure that roads within Ota axis come first because we generate lots of revenue into the coffers of the state and the Federal Governments.

“Though it is a federal road but unfortunately we have been abandoned by the Federal Government. I spoke with the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola twice on the plight of the people; he told me there is no fund to execute the project. Though with the Sukuk loan, the contractors are working, but the pace of the work is too slow, making things hard for the motorists.”

He appealed to the state government to try and make the inner roads passable. “If it’s difficult for people to access the federal roads, back roads should be given some facelift so that people can smile. Even if the state is blaming the Federal Government, they should play their own part and repair the inner roads. Once this is done, people will have alternatives. Even the Itele-Lafenwa road that links with Ayobo in Lagos will make things easy for our people if it is rehabilitated.”

A resident of the town, Barrister Ayo Abraham, described the current state of Sango roads as a big shame to the current and the immediate past administration in the state.

“I remember clearly that Gbenga Daniel constructed some inner roads like the Plaza road and Animashaun on the other side in April, 2008 but by August they had been virtually washed off by the rains. Those roads did not last two years.

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“The years of Ibikunle Amosun saw the inauguration of the most ambitious network of an international road that should connect Lagos at Berger to Idiroko by the border of Ogun State, but the project has been abandoned. The inner roads he did in Ota are is state of disrepair, while the short distance of the Ijoko road which was hurriedly done to mark 40 years of Ogun State is now full of several portions that constitute a nightmare to car and truck owners.”

He said the short distance road from the flyover bridge to Joju roundabout by Access College is the worst portion of the road “that I know in the whole of Southwest in Nigeria. Granted that Julius Berger is now working on portions of Lagos Abeokuta road, which we pray will not be abandoned again; the neglect of feeder roads in presents Ogun State as a state without a government.

“Meanwhile, for the past three years palliative works which never lasted had been carried out on some portions of the road even from Itori to Papalanto and from the flyover bridge to Cannaan land but the government would heap loads of heavy or crushed stones on the roads and within a short time they turn to dust so the roads would return to the original state of disrepair.”

He said countless former car owners have either lost their cars due to bad roads or pack them at home for lack of access roads while very heavy vehicle carrying either raw materials to or finished products from the many factories in the environ easily tumble on those roads leading to losses of goods and injuries to pedestrians and Okada riders.

“There is endless standstill in the city everyday and late into the night now and people are really suffering. Ogun State Governor must arise to fix these roads in a manner that will make them to last in view of heavy international and inter state routes in this area without delay.”

Another resident, Matthew Adeleye, said nobody gets to Ota at the moment and not ask if government or its agencies are in place at all. “The situation keeps putting into question the essence of electing leaders into various positions. Those of us who ply the roads on a daily basis recite Psalms 91 and 23 with continuous fervent prayers not to be victims of tragic vehicular somersaults that have become the order of the day in Ota.

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“Despite its strategic location, linking Nigeria to other West Africa countries and the host to large fraction of industries in the state, coupled with its proximity to Lagos State, the situation of the roads is bad, except the recently commissioned Osi Ota that links with Lagos.

“The influx of people from the squeezed Lagos into Ota of course makes it densely populated. Any attempt to pay less attention to Ota or not to give it the prominence it deserves because of political reasons will certainly amount to punishing innocent Nigerians of all tribes, young and old. The situation is so bad that one is not even talking of a particular road but all roads in Ota.

“You can fool some people sometimes but can’t fool all people all the times. In view of the aforementioned, something has to be done fast and urgently too. Any attempt to defer kangaroo palliative till when election is approaching will certainly be catastrophic and in fact constitute a bitter pill to swallow for Ota community.”

During the protest, the Governor apologised for the deplorable conditions of the roads, pleading with the residents to exercise patience pending when his administration would find a solution to the problem. The governor said he made several efforts to speak with the Federal Government over possible takeover of the roads for reconstruction, adding that he did not get approval.

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