By By Bolu Adeosun
Sango-Ota may not be as big as Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, in terms of landmass or as large as Ijebu Ode or even Sagamu in terms of population. But it is one of the largest contributors to the economy of Ogun State. Sango-Ota has been able to affect the economy of Ogun positively taking the advantage of its proximity to Lagos, the nation’s commercial capital. Whereas Lagos is apparently over populated, people from the various parts of the country continue to troop to the former federal capital on daily basis in search of the proverbial golden fleece. It is therefore not unexpected that residents who are feeling choked in Lagos are relocating to neighbouring towns. Sango-Ota is among the neighbouring towns. And it is not only residents that are relocating from Lagos to Sango-Ota.
Businesses are also relocating to the rapidly developing Ogun community. Opportunities for agriculture are abundant in the community with large scale farming now a common place in Sango-Ota which also parades at least two high profile universities. The community is home to Dufil Foods, the maker of the popular Indomie Noodles, Nestle and Honda among scores of factories operating in Sango-Ota. But what has this town got in return for the large contributions it makes to the economy of Ogun under successive state administrations?
One would have expected that even if it had not been within the power of the successive state administrations to provide other basic infrastructures, provision of motor-able roads shouldn’t be a problem. Availability of good roads is crucial to the movement of business. For instance, good roads have the capacity to facilitate the movement of finished goods from the factories and agricultural produce from the farms to Lagos which has the largest market in the country. But good roads were a scarce commodity in Sango-Ota especially under the immediate past administration of Ogun. So bad was the situation that the international road that passes through the town to Idiroko and the Republic of Benin was damaged by floods in several areas and the people were literally cut off from the rest of the state. Analysts argue that even if the road belongs to the federal government, the state administration should not have cared the less about the parlous state for the simply reason that its residents were mainly the users. Residents said the only times they had succour on the road were the periods a church located along the road took it upon itself to fix the bad portions. But no sooner than they are fixed that the portions go bad because of the pressure from articulated vehicles conveying goods to and fro the many factories in the town or to and fro Benin Republic. Agege Motor Road that passes through Sango-Ota to Abeokuta does not fare any better because of poor attention.
And there are a few trunk B roads that link Sango-Ota with Lagos that any government that is alive to its responsibilities would have fixed to ease access. Many residents scared of the stress of driving through Agege Motor Road couldn’t understand why at least one of such roads wasn’t put in good shape by the immediate past administration of the state as alternative route especially when then Ambode government of Lagos State had tarred its own side of the roads.
The net effect of the situation was that motorists spent several man-hours driving or commuting between Sango-Ota and Lagos. Meanwhile, the new administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun is proving that the unsavoury situation can change. Abiodun has shown over the last four months that good roads should not be seen as a luxury but a necessity to ease movement of people and make the conduct of business pleasurable. Consequently while efforts are on to collaborate with his Lagos State counterpart and the federal authorities to address the challenges on Agege Motor Road to Abeokuta through Sango-Ota, and possibly return the payment of toll to raise funds to fix the road on regular basis, the governor is rehabilitating at least two trunk B roads to give alternatives to motorists who must travel between Sango-Ota and Lagos. Rehabilitation work by the Ogun State Public Works Agency (OPWA) is progressing apace at Osi Ota-Ikola-Navy and Raypower access roads to the amazement of Sango – Ota residents who, though the work is yet to be completed, now spend less man hours to travel to and fro Lagos. The residents are full of praises for Abiodun for saving them from the scourge of bad roads in the area and for which they had paid dearly in terms of frequent breakdown of their vehicles and loss of man hours.
But like Oliver Twist, they are pleading that the gesture be extended to the rehabilitation of Sango-Ota-Idiroko Road and Obasanjo Farms-Osi Ota Road to ease the traffic at Ojuore Roundabout.
The residents also praised the Abiodun administration for its intervention on Atan-Ota – Agbara Road which had been impassable for some time after the construction work started by the immediate past administration was abandoned midway. On assumption of duty, the governor had directed that the road in the mostly industrial area of the state be graded until the time the construction work on the road can continue.