BY EBUN SESSOU, ANOZIE EGOLE& ELEOJO ABUTU
For Emmanuel Onyeigwe, a commercial bus driver, plying Ilasamaja and Mushin roads have become a nightmares. Due to the menace of street urchins, Onyeigwe left his former route- Lawanson, Odo-Eran, Ojuelegba and Yaba areas of Lagos for Mushin.

The urchins called “agbero”, the daily ollections including loading permit, local government revenues would milk him of any income. So he left.

That was in 2010. And things were alright for a year. Today, the bad roads have killed his joy. Speaking to Saturday Vanguard, Onweigwe said Mushin roads, especially Isolo/Mushin and Daleko roads are death traps. He said, “It is only on Mushin roads that one plies once a day and goes to mechanic workshop the next day.”

Mushin Road

Mushin is familiar for its popular Daleko, Ojuwoye, Oju-Erin, Olosa, Moshalashi, Palm Avenue, amongst others. Here, one can buy quality goods cheaply. But for a year, its roads have collapsed with potholes everywhere, so much that a trader complained to Saturday Vanguard that, “I don’t know whether they have a chairman and councillors in this part of Lagos. If Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola goes to rural areas and sees what is happening there, he will see that nothing is working because we have bad roads in Lagos State.”

Anotehr driver explained how the money is extorted from the drivers yet, the roads are left undone. “There are times we pay above N10, 000 as union dues on a daily basis. The union extorts money from us deceiving people that those monies will be used for road construction. They were patching up some roads with sands and granites. When rain fails, it will be washed away. Right now, we pay more and nothing has been done to the road since last year. We pay a sum of N6000 as union dues everyday. We have been over-labouring ourselves. Some of us resume for work at 4 am and close 12 pm , yet, there is nothing to show for it. We were expected to work for 12 hours that is between 6am and 5pm. But at 5pm you can never boast of having N2000 and so we have to struggle to get “delivery money” as take home.”

According to a Keke Napep rider, “There were lots of promises by local government officials during the local government election campaign; that the road would be put back in its good shape. Now, elections are over and nothing has been done. Some parts of the road were patched at Palm Avenue, before the election but not completed. For instance, Daleko is nothing to write home about. At Sadiku road, granites were brought to patch up the road. Also, Mushin/Isolo was patched and right now, those places are death traps. Imagine working for a week and you landed at mechanic workshop. Some parts of the road have been badly damaged and abandoned for so long a time and nobody is attending to them.”

For Olayinka, a petty trader who lives in Ilasamaja, Isolo/Mushin road has been causing traffic jam and whenever is rains, it is always a problem in Mushin. Durojaye, a bus driver said, “The last time roads were refurbished in Mushin was about five years ago.” He however called on the State government to intervene.

A reporter who lives within the area said, “If you go to local government, you find that money is allocated every year that the roads are to be graded and tarred. And the records also shows that the roads have been graded and tarred. But in the reality, it is not true. The only street you will see that are graded and tarred would have been influenced by someone who is connected to the local or state government. Before the election, some streets were hurriedly patched and given superficial dress-up so that they are motor-able but now that the election has come and gone, these roads are back to their normal disrepair.

The general point is that the streets under the local government are not maintained at all. Even though money has been allocated, and on the record, those streets have been graded and tarred, the reality is that those things are not real.

There was a time the Isolo/Mushin road was strictly abandoned and the road became a nightmare. Whenever I am going to my office, I have to go through a long distance to avoid potholes. The state of roads in Mushin is a disaster. And efforts to vote against the present administration has been aborted because there were so many manipulations against the wish of the people, they were disenfranchised, “ he added.

To the people of Ilasa in Isolo Local Government Area of Lagos State, they have taken their fate into their own hands as the condition of their roads keeps deteriorating. Seyi Awolake, a resident of Ire-Akari Estate said some road users pack their cars to join commercial buses in order to meet up with their appointments, while other commercial drivers navigate through Ago roads thereby congesting the road.

She said lots of families have lost their loved ones to the mercy of bad roads in Ilasamaja. According to him, the extent of damage caused on the road is enormous that even school children find it difficult when crossing the road. Also, drivers, trying to avoid the bad spots, drive recklessly, thereby killing some people.

Another resident in Jimoh Faronbi area of Ilasamaja, Lagos, Mrs. Faith Anagwunam said, “it is always a nightmare whenever rain falls. And because of the poor nature of drainage, the roads are flooded.” People get stranded and cars are damaged, adding that government has refused to yield to their pleas.

An Okada rider on Cele Express road, Mr. Simon Onyidayere, treasurer of Motorcycle operators, Parkview Estate Ago road, Okota Local Government area, the bad road condition has contributed to the increase in transportation fares “The major cause of bad road is lack of a well-constructed drainage,” he said.

Meanwhile, Akinyemi Segun, information officer, Mushin Local government, said the government is aware that people need some social amenities including good road network. Mushin, he said, has ten wards.and over 300 roads need attention.

“However, there is need to consider the resources involved. There was a particular place at Papa Ajao where five roads including Akinboyode, Olakunle, Odewole, Oyesonuga, Omotayo were refurbished. And what we try to do to was to dis-congest Daleko/Isolo/Mushin so that people could easily navigate through the place for their businesses. We also moved to Afanda, Isiakanda, Ajose, Gbangban as well as Omobola Havens,” he explained.

According to him, government is concentrating on roads so that businesses will not be unhindered. It is in the interest of the chairman to see that people ply good roads. Aside the efforts of the State in combating the menace on bad roads, the chairman of Mushin local government has done well as far as roads is concerned and he received so many awards as the best Chairman on infrastructural development because the road is a major thing.

Despite his efforts, people are still complaining that he hasn’t done enough on road construction. While we thought it fit to distribute the resources to all the segments that make Mushin because everybody want to ply good roads, the people of Papa Ajao, Afanda, Omobola, Sowunmi are happy with him because of the network of road he did there but some people are not happy because they haven’t gotten the same fit.

He therefore solicited federal government support on the revenue allocation so that it could tune in the favour of the local government in order to achieve its basic goals. “Government need to provide the enabling environment for businesses to flourish. Good roads will provide productivity.

Asked when the people should be expecting good roads, he said, the new administration is gearing efforts towards ensuring a better environment for its citizens. The Chairman has promised to focus on roads as his major project and he will not relent.

“It is terrible when it is difficult to get to your destination because of bad road without having their vehicles damaged”, he added.

 

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