By Mike Ebonugwo

MANY Nigerians are often quick to blame government for their travails, which they readily attribute to the failings associated with a faulty system. As far as they are concerned, the postulation of the late literary icon, Professor Chinua Achebe, that the problems of Nigeria are traceable to poor leadership, holds true in most cases, including the most trivial.

It is a sentiment shared by some parliamentarians, who passionately espouced same during a recent commercial bus ride to Ikotun from the Cele Express in Lagos.

It all began when a passenger in the bus bemoaned the slow pace of the drainage construction at the Iyana Ejigbo leading to traffic chaos as several vehicles, especially the commercial buses, tried to cut corners in a bid to beat the traffic jam, thereby worsening the situation.

According to the parliamentarian who gave his name simply as Joseph: “One expects that they should  have finished this drainage construction work before now. Why are they so slow? Or are they happy seeing people suffering like this in the traffic everyday? Just imagine spending almost two hours to move from Jakande Gate to Ile Epo because of this Iyana Ejigbo construction wahala”.

Responding, parliamentarian Wale posited thus: “What do you expect when they gave the work to a direct labour contractor instead of a reputable contractor that will do the work well and on time. I blame the local government chairman for this because he didn’t do what is expected of him”.

But parliamentarian Ifeanyi Obi objected, arguing that the problem had nothing to do with government failure. He pointedly blamed impatience and reckless driving by motorists for the traffic confusion.

According to him: “Is it everything that we will be blaming government for? Why not blame the drivers of these vehicles that have formed multiple lanes instead of trying to pass the junction one after the other? For Christ’s sake the local government chairman is trying. If he does not care will he go to Alausa to beg them to come and gandle the job the moment he realised that the Iyana Ejigbo drainage problem was beyond him?

And why are we even complaining about using direct labour to execute a job of this nature? Are we not the  same ones that have been complaining that the engineers in most government establishments are idle or under-utilized. So  why not engage them by using them in direct labour construction. And I know that many of them are competent…”.

“Which kind of competence have we seen in this work they’re doing here,” interjected Joseph. “Have you seen where a competent contractor will be moulding drainage rings at the construction site before? And that is what they are doing here. Apart from that, the way they are digging the drainage sef does not make sense. How do you expect water to flow from here to the  canal at Ori-Oke when the gutter is lower at this place than Ori-Oke? It shows they don’t know what they’re doing,” he submitted heatedly.

But Ifeanyi would have none of that as he said: “Like I said before, we should be patient and allow this people to do their work instead of rushing and causing confusion on the road”.

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