By Nnamdi Ojiego
For residents of Ejigbo, Idimu, Ikotun and other surrounding Lagos communities, the best Christmmas and new year gift their leaders both at federal and state levels can give them is to rehabilitate the dilapidated Ejigbo- Ikotun road.
The road, according to the chairman, Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan, was constructed about 30 years ago by the administration of former Governor Lateef Jakande.
The road is the only route linking over 20 rural communities in that axis to Oshodi/Apapa Expressway. Ejigbo is also home to an NNPC depot, making tankers a common sight on the road. It is, however, disheartening for the residents that since the road was constructed, successive governments have abandoned, leading to its deplorable state. Many portions of the road have become death traps and almost impassable.
To the residents, the road is a nightmare. It is one road nobody will like to ply for a second time if possible. This is because, a trip from Okota through Oke-Afa, Ejigbo to Ikotun, that should take 10 to 20 minutes, now takes over three hours.
It is not surprising that the road is tagged by many people as the “worst road in Lagos.”
Many vehicle owners have been known to abandon their vehicles at any available space and trek home only to return late at mid-night or the next day to recover their cars.
The LCDAs set up to facilitate development across the state are turning out to be offices occupied by a bunch of insensitive men and women.
A resident of Ejigbo, Mr Agwu Sunday, lamented that the bad state of the road and its attendant traffic jam has cost him his job. According to him, he was late to office severally because of the bad road induced traffic. He begged those in charge to urgently remedy the situation.
Another resident, Mr Olakunle Hazan, said the trauma people go through on daily basis is better imagined. He explained that most residents of Ikotun stay out late in the night just to avoid the traffic since there was no use hurrying home, when you would be held up in the traffic till mid night.
“If I come out in the morning, I do not get back till midnight because of the traffic situation. It is better to leave Lagos Island or Apapa between 10.30 p.m. and 11 p.m. and get home after one hour than to get to Cele-Express and spend about of five hours before getting home.”
However, many reasons have been given on why the road has not been fixed. One of the reasons is that there was a tripartite agreement between the federal, state and local governments to rehabilitate the road. The road is ordinarily a state road but the involvement of the Federal Government comes because of the NNPC depot in Ejigbo.
Reports say Lagos State government has fulfilled its part of the agreement, paying about N200 million to the contrators while the Federal Government has failed to live up to the terms.
Speaking on the bad state of Iyana- Isolo-Ejigbo- Ikotun road, the Chairman, Ejigbo Local Council Development Area, LCDA, Mr Kehinde Bamigbetan,said the road is undergoing rehabilitation.
He said there are efforts on the part of the state government to re-asphalt the road, adding that the council and state government had reached an agreement with the NNPC on the rehabilitation from NNPC junction to ‘Jakande gate’.
“If you look at the history of Isolo- Ejigbo-Ikotun road, the construction was done over 30 years ago. So, it has outlived its essence. It should be relayed and Ejigbo LCDA, in conjunction with the state government, has been able to compel NNPC to take over,”Banigbetan explained..
“As it now stands, it will take the intervention of the Federal Government for this portion of road to be completed. And the road is meant to be the first, because it is meant to link Ejigbo with Iyana-Isolo. The understanding was that NNPC should repair the stretch leading to its depot and all link roads between Ejigbo and Ikotun.
“Even at this, the state government is already looking at the possibility of reconstructing the road just like it did on Iyana-Ipaja – Ikotun roads.”
But some residents, who spoke under the aegis of Traumatised Residents of Alimosho Local Government, TRALOG, said they were not interested in whatever agreement was delaying the reconstruction of the road. According to them, all they want is for the road to be fixed.
They said they had not seen anything to show that the road had been awarded or contractors mobilised to site as claimed by Bamigbetan, stressing that they were tired of government’s unfulfilled promises to fix both local government and state roads in the area.
Chairman of TRALOG, Chief Ishola Ibidun, said residents of Ejigbo, Jakande Estate, Okota, Ijegun, Ikotun and Idimu, who ply the roads to the city centers to transact their daily businesses, pass through hell as those in power only remember them during elections for their votes.
The residents appealed to Governor Babatunde Fashola to begin the reconstruction of Ejigbo-Ikotun road and other roads in the area as Christmas gift to them.