By Albert Akpor
ABOUT four months ago, when tractors and bulldozers roared on the 100 metres road that leads to Jakande Estate in Ejigbo Local Council Development Area , Isolo Lagos, ostensibly to upgrade it, residents rolled out the drums singing the praises of the chairman of the council, Mr. Kehinde Bamgbetan and by extension the state governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola  for their foresightedness and people-oriented administration.

Even passers-by, including those who live at the adjoining Ejigbo community had expressed optimism at having their inner-community roads, which has for long been forgotten and abandoned, fixed some day.

The uncompleted lane with heaps of laterite
However, as days ran into weeks and weeks into months,  it became clear that the whole exercise was more of a window dressing and politically orchestrated to score non-existing points.

The euphoria and excitement that greeted that make-believe appearance of tractors and bulldozers, the heaps of red and sharp sand tipped on sides of the road giving an illusion of work in  progress have since given way to what psychologists popularly call post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD).

The short distance driveway  which ordinarily should not take five minutes to drive through into the estate now takes more than two hours.  The situation is even worse with the torrential rainfall in the state.

Accessing this road which incidentally leads to neighbouring communities like Isheri-Osun and Ijegun has become a nightmare to say the least.  Motorists now swim through the muddy water occasioned by the heaps of red sand that has been washed all over and has turned the hitherto solid surface to a swamp of some sort.

Apart from being a near life-endangering experience for motorists,  the road has reduced pedestrians to ‘frog-jumpers’ as they hop over muddy surfaces to avoid being drowned in the muddy water.

Even the heaps of sharp sand that could not be washed away by flood have been overtaken by weeds.  But like beggars who have no choice, residents have had to resign to fate but not without condemning this seeming nonchalant attitude on the part of the government.

Remarked Mr. Kingsley Elendu, a banker who works on the Island: “This is as shameful as it is painful.  How can we boast of being part of this state if we can be subjected to this inhuman and traumatic torture?

We did not beg for the rehabilitation, we were better off with the usual potholes than what we have now.  You drive out and people know that you are coming out of Jakande estate Isolo; whether it rained or not because your car would have been smeared all over with mud.

Apart from suffering in the usual traffic jam from the Isolo bridge, you get to the gate of the estate to begin another round of long queues because the dual carriage road has been reduced to one lane in the name of reconstruction and everybody, both those coming out of the estate and those going in have to use just one lane that is almost covered with mud water.

Nearly everyday we spend hours on this short driveway that ordinarily should not take a few minutes to drive through, all things being equal.  No sooner the so-called contractors appeared than they equally disappeared leaving us in this sad situation. Honestly, it’s  painful,  it is shameful”.

Another visibly pained resident, a seventy-something year old retired civil servant and an estate agent who simply identified himself as Baba Ojo could not hide his emotions.

The septuagenarian who said he had live on the estate for over 20 years now, lamented thus:  “Since I started living on this estate, we have never experienced this kind of suffering.  We have never had this kind of road.

At my age, I went out to vote for this administration because we thought we would be represented.  How can a chairman of a local government sit comfortably in his office and allow those that voted for him suffer like this?  My children are all graduates working in various parastatals; some are even senior to the chairman.

“When the chairman came out for election about two years ago, I called him my son and we were happy because we were made to believe that he is one of us and a journalist for that matter.

They say you journalists are full of ideas and innovations; so we were happy.  But what we are seeing now is absolutely different form what we believed.  The other day, we heard that a pregnant woman fell from a motorbike (Okada), while the cyclist was trying to manoeuver through the swampy road.

This is not good.  The chairman is a young man, and young men don’t do things this way.  If it is the contractor that wants to give him a bad name, he should revoke the contract and give it to somebody else; leaving us in this mess is against his election promises.”

Vanguard Metro’s frantic efforts to get the reaction of the chairman was not successful as he was said to be “attending a meeting”.


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