By Kingsley Adegboye
Communities comprising Okun-Ajah, Okun-Mopo and Iwerekun in Eti-Osa and Ibeju-Lekki Local Government areas in Lagos State have decried the worsening conditions of the road which links the three communities together up to Eleko Beach, due to government’s neglect.
The road which serves as an alternative route to Lekki-Epe Expressway when there is traffic on the expressway inward Epe, according to the residents, has not seen government’s intervention for decades. The area harbours numerous beaches, and the residents expressed disappointment with successive state governments since the administration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, that would come during electioneering campaigns, promising to do the road when they assume power, but will neglect the area once they assume power.
Speaking at the weekend, community leaders in the area comprising Baales, business owners and other stakeholders disclosed that the communities depend on communal efforts for basic amenities such as water, light and for the road not to be cut off completely.
According to Akogun of Awori land, Ibeshe, FESTAC, and CEO of Atican Beach, Okun-Mopo 1,Chief Atiku Rasheed Abogun: “We have cried out for long; maybe you will help us again to look into the problem because it is becoming unbearable. The bridge is broken and nobody has come there to repair the bridge and that is the only link road to this area comprising Okun-Ajah, Mopo 1 and Mopo 2 up to Eleko beach.
“All the activities in this area are affected. People are moving in from Lagos and we have a lot of accidents on the road. This road leads to Eleko, to the Dangote Refineries. They need to fix this road. This road is called Okun-Mopo/Okun-Aja/Lafiaji Road. Mopo 1, Mopo 2 to Iwerekun Road and it can still lead to Epe Expressway from Eleko. If it is motorable, it can ease all the hold-up in this area. You can use this road from Igbo-Efon, Lekki Phase 1, Lekki Beach and so on.
“The problem with the government is that they would say they want to build infrastructure, and government officials will come and go and nothing will be done. You can’t trust them. That is my major point. If they are sincere, they would have repaired the bridge since three years ago. Some people would bring equipment to test the place and go; then another set of people would come and test it and go but nothing has been done on the bridge.
“We have no government presence here. The Local Government officials only come to collect tax and disappear. Even the electricity we have here, we did it ourselves. It was a community effort. The road you see here, I am the one that put all those things to block the road, buy this, buy that, so that vehicles can move freely a little.
The Baale of Mopo1, Eti-Osa, Chief Akinlade Shakiru Adekunle said: “We have taken so many steps. We’ve been to the state House of Assembly, we’ve spoken to the Commissioners for Works and the Environment. All they told us was that they are going to repair the road. Even the last time the governor came to this area, we informed him on the situation of our roads.
“They know the road here. If they need our votes, they will come and ask us to vote for them. It is this same road that they always use to deceive us to vote for them, saying they would construct the road if we vote for them. They would say by the grace of God, if they win the election, the road would be the first thing they would do. But till the end of their tenure, they wouldn’t fulfil their promise. Even if another person comes to power, it is always the same old story.
The Olumopo of Ibeju-Lekki, Chief Lamoriyu Isiaka, while lamenting the condition of the road said Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who held a town hall meeting in the area recently, told them to be patient and calm that he would do the road, pointing out, however, that was how his predecessors had promised and failed.
Godwin Ogwah, manager, Atican Beach Resort, said tourism is a great income earner for any government, adding that there are countries that do not have any mineral resources but depend only on tourism as their foreign income earner.
According to him, “We’ve heard the government talking a lot about improving tourism. Every facility in front of the beach is a tourism centre. What do I mean? The beach itself is a location; it’s not just everywhere.
“It has a particular place where it is and people come to see what the Atlantic Ocean looks like. What I’m going to say is that it looks as if the government is paying lip service to tourism development.
“They are not prioritising what they should prioritise. And believe you me, all the tourism resorts in this axis pay taxes one way or the other. But, despite the taxes, we are not seeing any dividend of what we pay,” Ogwah said.
You pay taxes to see development. Why do we pay taxes? Because we want the government to do one or two things to help the businesses here. And how would the government help the business of tourism? It is by creating accessible roads to where these tourism centres are. This area is a goldmine if the government can pay attention to it.
“If you have good roads on this axis, believe me, this would be the Miami of Nigeria. The setting is so wonderful with this lush Atlantic Ocean that cuts across this zone.
If the government takes it as a priority as they claim that tourism is one of the areas that they are paying attention to, then this road should be number one on their priority list”, Ogwah advised.