â€¢â€¢â€¢Say heâ€™s the Moses to save them from Pharaoh
By Bose Adebayo
Trying to visit any of the communities in the Ipaja/Ayobo Local Council Development Area LCDA, in Lagos State presently can be likened to the proverbialÂ camel striving to pass through the tiny hole of a needle. Those who have dared, usually found it a near impossible task, often ending as a traumatic experience. Apart from the man-hours lost on the road, a recent journey to this area turned out to be a complete nightmare made worse by the fact that it rained heavily on that day.
The journey was terminated half way as the commercial bus that conveyed this reporter from Iyana-Ipaja suddenly damaged its chassis and gear at Jakande gate bus-stop. The ugly incident occurred as the vehicle waded through a deep pool of water that covered the entire area. This was after the bus had survived several failed portions of the road at Federal and Akinogun bus-stops.
Similarly affected are sections of the road by Baruwa, Boystown, Water, Opeki, Akinyele, Olude, Church, Oja, Oluwaga, NEPA, Atan-kekere, Ona-Ara and Amule bus-stops. The entire stretch of road to Ayobo garage is totally impassable and this has compelled some residents to abandon this community for other more habitable parts of the city.
While the journey lasted, motorists and commuters blamed the poor state of the road on the failure of the State government to repair it. They alleged that the government has not been fair to the community which they claimed ranks high among the communities the state government depends upon to generate much of its internal revenue.
The serious damage arising from the poor state of the road was clearly evident in the entire community. Most shops and market centres were under lock and key due to lack of patronage, while their owners have gone elsewhere to seek greener pastures.
Some residents who spoke with Vanguard Metro said they could not afford to feed their families as a significant part of their income is spent on transportation, others claimed that they have parked their cars as a result of frequent damage.
When Vanguard Metro visited the community, residents were seen converging in groups to pray for divine intervention because they have written several letters to both the local and state governments without any response from them. This reporter saw some banners at strategic bus-stops calling on the people to pray for divine intervention. One of such banners read: â€œOh Lord, put in the heart of our government the desire to heal our land of these roads before 2011 electionâ€.
A prayer session which was organised by Appealing Grace Assembly, Onikanga took place at the council secretariate recently. TheÂ residents seized the opportunity offered by the prayer meeting to present a Save-Our-Soul letter to Governor Babatunde Fashola through a representative of the LCDA chairman.
Host Pastor, Akinwal Akinola urged government to lend its ear to the residentsâ€™ plea. â€œThe bad roads presently constitute the giant in Pharaoh, and we see you as the Moses, whom God will use to deliver the Ayobo/Ipaja people. We are very optimistic that you will use your good offices as our listening Governor, to expeditiously attend on our groaning desire for good roads, especially as your first tenure is fast approaching its climax,â€ he said.
Akinola said the road problem has reduced some landlords to tenants in neighbouring communities.
â€œ The road situation is a threat to residents as many of our landlords have become tenants in other communities. When the road is good, there will be business opportunities and there will be tax, tenement rates. But the reverse is the case in this community. The bad roads are our Pharaoh; they are hindrances and Governor Fashola is our Moses because we know he is able to fix the roads before year 2011,â€Â Akinola said.
A commercial bus driver, Martins Oke, said business has become dull in the community due to the deplorable condition of the road. â€œWe charge as much as N100 per trip but we spend it to repair our vehicles on daily basis. In fact, many of us will soon start thinking of going back to our respective states if the situation continues like this,â€ he said.
Another resident, Yetunde Adams said she spends as much as N 1,500 daily on transportation. â€œI am a single mother of three; I live at Ayetoro-Ibudo, while I work in Apapa. I now sleep in the office from Monday to Friday while my children have started feeling my absence,â€ she said amidstÂ tears.
A representative of the LCDA chairman, Mrs Modupe Akinbo, told the residents that their letter would be delivered to the Governor. â€œWe appreciate your effort to pray here today, we shall deliver your letter to the Governor,â€ she assured.