By Nnamdi Ojiego
AS far as residents of Ejigbo in Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, of Lagos State are concerned, the government headed by Babatunde Fashola has been most unfair to them with respect to the provision of infrastructural facilities, especially roads.
They told Vanguard: “It is as if Ejigbo down to Ikotun and environs is not part of his administrative constituency of Lagos given the ordeal and untold hardship we are exposed to on a daily basis due to little or no government presence in this area.”
They equally accused the administration of former Governor Bola Tinubu for failing to add value to the area for the eight years it held sway in government. They said after he constructed the Ikotun-Igando road, they had thought he would extend the same gesture to the Ikotun-Ejigbo-Okota road.
For the residents who spoke to Vanguard Metro, VM, neglect of the area is evidenced in all aspect of living bordering on the following:
Bad roads: The Ejigbo portion of Okota/Ejigbo/Ikotun road, they say, has become a deathtrap, especially from Jakande Gate bus-stop to NNPC bus-stop which has virtually become impassable, no thanks to a construction company which condemned that portion of the road under the guise of constructing drainage, which it abandoned halfway. Apart from that, the poor state of the road has become a major cause of traffic gridlock in the area.
Lack of potable water: While places like Okota and Isolo, which are close to Ejigbo, have been enjoying water from the state water corporation, same cannot be said of residents of Ejigbo as most of them are not aware of the existence of the corporation.
This is simply because Ejigbo is not connected or rather, has not benefited from the water scheme. They claim that there is no functional, government-sponsored borehole in the area. Residents live at the mercy of mai ruwas or water vendors who sell a 20-litre jerrycan of water for N20 or more in some cases. Most people now rely on unclean well water for their water needs.
Some residents told VM they have lost hope in the present administration. They said they are tired of waiting endlessly for the promised dividends of democracy. They accused both the state and the local governments of being insensitive to their plight despite their massive support during elections. According to the residents, the Ejigbo LCDA is not helping matters. In fact, to them, there is no local government administration in the area.
An aggrieved resident said: “Since the state government has abandoned us, what about the local government? Can’t the LCDA do drainages and maintain street roads? The council chairman has done nothing and he is campaigning for second term.”
Almost all those who spoke to VM bemoaned their state of hopelessness. They were emotional and some even went to the extent of raining curses on political office holders for failing in fulfilling their electoral promises. Mr Abiodun, also a resident of Ejigbo, said he will never encourage any of his relations or friends to live in Ejigbo or Ikotun or any of the surrounding communities, considering the level of deprivation and neglect in the area.
He said: “I keep on regretting why I came to live in this environment. We are passing through hell here. I won’t allow any of my brothers or friends who are looking for accommodation to come here. I don’t know what people see in this place because, the rents are not even cheap.”
A landlady at Apo Eso Street, popularly known as Mummy Kafilat when asked whether they are enjoying water from government, she exclaimed: “For where! He no do gutter, na borehole him go do? A beg leave me joo!” But for one Mr. Ojeanya: “It is expected that in a council area, law makers at various levels and other government functionaries should at least, sink boreholes as part of their constituency projects.
I wonder what political leaders from this area are doing.” Some of them charged the local government administration to embark on projects like constructing drains, resurfacing and tarring of street roads, sinking of boreholes, and so on.
Self efforts: Meantime, while waiting for a response from government, the people have resolved to solve some of their problems their own ways. They contribute and do drains and culverts in their respective streets, contribute to install transformers and build bridges.
One sore point the people have been complaining about is a brand new transformer which was meant to serve Apo Eso, Ojo-ola, Mohammed Akije, Otasunmi, among other streets but which was dumped and abandoned at Apo Eso street for over a year by the authorities.
Some of them alleged that some landlords connived with PHCN officials to collect N10,000 from every house in the affected streets. But the transformer is said to be still non-functional till date, while no explanation has not been given for the monies collected from the residents.
Second Oke-Afa bridge: Another point of complaint is the alleged failure of government to redeem its promise of constructing a second Oke Afa bridge following the Ikeja Military Cantonment bomb blasts in which many people lost their lives, mostly at the Oke-Afa Canal.
The bridge, if constructed and the road tarred, will link Ejigbo and Ajao Estate, Isolo. It will provide an alternative route to motorists and commuters going to Oshodi and Airport Road, thereby easing the traffic on the ever-busy Ejigbo-Ikotun road.
The non-construction of this bridge and the daily traffic nightmare on the Ejigbo-Ikotun road has more or less forced Ilamoshe and Ajao Estate communities to construct a wooden bridge to link the two communities. But most residents, especially road users, say this is nothing but a temporary solution, just as they are calling on government to immediately come to their aid.