The Forgotten Lagosians

The abandoned Ayobo-Ipaja road.

•The abandoned Ayobo-Ipaja road.

•The abandoned Ayobo-Ipaja road.

It was a smooth drive from Iyana-Ipaja and the commuter bus, Lagosians call them danfo, was  bound for Ayobo, Ipaja, a suburb of the metropolis.

Minutes into the journey, the bus started dancing to the rhythm of the potholes and failed  spots on the stretch of road. The dancing bus jiggled the passengers around, tossing them to  and fro, like stones in a can. It was clearly not a pleasant journey, and even the driver of  the bus was already sweating, struggling with the steering, just to keep the vehicle on the  road. It was indeed  nightmarish.

A child strapped to its mother’s back hit its head on the roof of the bus and while the  other passengers sympathized with the mother, the driver quickly informed them that they  were in Ogun State. “I am sorry to inform you that you are in Ogun State where nothing seems  to be working,” he said, wiping his face with a handkerchief.

This piece of information from the driver sparked a discussion which quickly degenerated  into an argument. Some passengers believed that the entire Ipaja and Ayobo are part of Ogun  State while others claimed that the driver was only being mischievous.

The roads in Ipaja-Ayobo have been neglected judging from the dilapidated network in the  area. Residents of the area told P.M.NEWS Metro that they were not sure if they were still  part of the state. Some of them even asked what sin they have committed to warrant such  neglect.

They said they have done a lot to call the attention of both the Lagos State and local  council to their aid, but that all the attention they received were more promises.

Asked what efforts the local government chairman, Prince Bisi Yusuf, had made to alleviate  their suffering, a resident, Segun Adelabu explained that the chairman was only taking a  clue from the state government. “Since the state government has refused to do its part, the  local government is learning from the example.”

Another resident of the area, who gave his name simply as Idowu, said the people of the area  had resigned themselves to fate. “If our leaders can do this to us, what do you expect us to  do? We can only pray to get the right person for both the state and the local government in  the 2011 election.

Reminded that the perception of the people of the state was that the governor is doing well,  she asked how they came by such assessment, adding that anybody who wants to actually rate  the Governor’s performance should first visit the area.

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Emmanuel Ojo, who said he had lived in the area for about four years, explained that when it  rains, the entire road becomes un-motorable.

“Like they say, when it rains, it really pours. Residents can’t go out or come in as the  entire area is flooded. You can imagine how many workers living here have received queries  in their various places of work. You can imagine how many people have been sacked for  getting late to their places of work. When people are told to stop collecting money and food  to vote for candidates, they think one is unreasonable, but this is a clear example of the  consequence.

He said though government officials had been to the area a number of times, the visits have  not given them any respite. “In fact, the more they visit us the more they tend to forget  about us,” he added.

He complained that as part of the mega city project of the state government, the plight of  the people of the area should be taken into consideration because of the number of people  who reside there. He maintained that the area was metropolitan in nature and always busy,  “so I think there is an underlying reason why we have been forgotten,” he lamented.

A driver who operates on the route, Sunday Owodunni, lamented that they spend more money  repairing their buses than what they earn from the job. “The road is so bad that sometimes,  we find it difficult to work.

“Sometimes, we do not even want to work because we are not encouraged to do so because of  the bad state of the roads. I have heard about roads being constructed by the state  government but I am yet to see anyone around here.” He threatened that the people of the  area might be forced to boycott the next elections in the state as a result.

“When it rains we are in problem. During the dry season too, we are in problem, because of  dust. We are tired of their promises and we have resolved that if they like they should do  it. If they don’t do, it would continue to be a shame to them and their government. The  people of the area would continue to remember them as leaders who had the opportunity to  solve the people’s problems but refused to come to their aid.

Speaking on the road, Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr.  Ganiu Johnson said the road would be considered as part of the second phase of the  Iyana-Ipaja-Isheri Olofin-Ikotun road construction project. He said this recently during an  inspection tour of ongoing road projects in the state.

He explained that after the completion of the first phase being handled by Plycon  Construction Company, the government would look towards the direction of the road.

—Eromosele Ebhomele

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