• Friday, July 19, 2024
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BusinessDay

No good roads in Ogun State?

PMB estate will help industralise, develop Ogun – Gov Abiodun

On July 2, one of the netizens on a social media hate campaign against the Ogun State governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, over Ogun roads, Hauwa Allahbura (@HauwaAllahbura), wrote on X: “Ministry of Works Budget in 2024: N480mn. The governor’s STEEZE budget is about N103bn. How will Ogun State roads be fixed? We beg you, steeze governor, to remove some budget from your steeze and fix the roads. #Dapofixogunroads.” Predictably, the tweet garnered endless likes and retweets. You see, social media is the domain of emotion, not facts, and that is why @HauwaAllahbura can peddle such garbage. A look at the Ogun budget under reference shows that N64 billion was budgeted for the Governor’s Office while the Ministry of Works got N170 billion, which includes payment for carryover projects from the preceding year.

The N103 billion referenced by the mischief-makers was meant for the Governor’s Office, the Deputy Governor’s Office, and agencies under the Governor’s Office, including the Ogun State Road Safety Advisory Council, the Bureau of Public Procurement, the Bureau of Pension, and the Office of the Economic Adviser, among others. But supposing, for a moment, that N103 bn was actually allocated to the Governor’s Office, how is it less than N192 bn? And just how can anyone who lays claim to literacy actually believe that such a paltry sum as N480 million can be allocated to any ministry in 2024?

Read also: Dapo Abiodun and burden of inherited infrastructural deficit in Ogun

And now, let’s examine #Dapofixogunroads. The kernel of the campaign is that there are no good roads anywhere in Ogun State and that Governor Abiodun must start building roads. The first question you have to ask yourself, honestly, is whether the critics actually know anything about Ogun State. This is because in the last five years, the Abiodun administration has constructed or rehabilitated over 600 km of roads in the state. For space constraints, one can only list a few of the roads: Ijebu-Ode-Mojoda-Epe Road, Abeokuta-Siun-Interchange Road, Panseke-Adigbe Road (Abeokuta), Molusi College Road (Ijebu North), Oru-Awa Ilaporu Road (Ijebu North), Ọba Erinwole Road (Sagamu), Ikola-Navy-Osi Ota Road (Ota), Ait-Raypower Road (Ota), Kemta-Somorin Road (Abeokuta), Joju-Iyana Ota Road, Fajol-American Junction-Gbonagun road, Olose Titun Vespa Road in Ifo, Baruwa road (Sagamu), Koko-Alari road (Ipokia), Iboro-Imasayi-Ayetotro road (Phase 1), Okeola Road (Imeko), Total-Itori township road, Igan-Ishanmurin-Odo Shikiti road (Ago Iwoye), Esure Road, Ijebu Imushin (Ijebu East) and Igbesa-Lusada Road. The Arepo-Journalist Estate Road, Lantoro-Elite-Idi Aba Road, Ejinrin-IIdowa-AAwa-IIbefun-IItokin Road, Awujale Road (Awujale, Stadium, and Oke Aje), Molipa/AAsafa Isale/AAyegun/OOjofa Road in Ijebu-Ode, Asafa Oke/FFusigboye/OOjofa Street Road, Olommore-Sanni Road in Abeokuta, NNPC-MMKO Stadium The roads down to Kuto Bridge and IBB Boulevard, Idarika Street Road, and Araromi/SSokoto Street Road are all in Ogun State, and guess who did them? A certain gentleman is called Dapo Abiodun.

“To the credit of the Abiodun administration, Ogun has actually intervened on so many of these federal roads, making them motorable.”

If you live around the areas covered by Iregun-Ita Osukun-Ilisa Road, Ijebu-Ode-Epe-Sagamu Benin Interchange Flyover Bridge, Ogbagba Street, Ijebu-Ode, Ilishan Market Road, Ilishan, Erunwon-Atan Road, Togburin-Agodo-Tigara, Molipa Motorway-Ibadan Garage, Ijebu Ode, Oyingbo-Olisa-Saka Ashiru-Ijebu Ode Road, IkenneneIlishan Ago Iwoye Road, Ijebu Ode Club Road, Ososa Road, Ajegunle Street, Sagamu, and Gra Road, Ota, you would no doubt be aware that they are dividends of democracy under Dapo Abiodun. Of course, the boundaries of Ogun State aren’t determined by Twitter stupidity. Out of mischief, ignorance, or political motivations, the critics have been throwing dirt at Governor Abiodun and his efforts to rehabilitate and construct roads across Ogun State. Many innocent people joined the bandwagon. After all, who doesn’t want good roads?

Read also: Ogun emerges worst among Southwest states with bad roads

But here’s the point: most of the roads targeted for attacks are federal roads. A prime example is the Lagos-Sango-Ota-Abeokuta road. Some context is necessary here. Ogun has more federal roads than most of the states in Nigeria, and, sadly, most of them are in deplorable condition. To the credit of the Abiodun administration, Ogun has actually intervened on so many of these federal roads, making them motorable. Take, for instance, the breathtaking, phenomenally beautiful Epe-Ijebu-Ode road that the then President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated when he visited Ogun State. It is a federal road. Using that road (which now serves as an escape route for people travelling from Lekki, Lagos Island, etc. who want to beat the traffic along the mainland, etc.) while claiming that Governor Abiodun has not built roads in Ogun State has to be classified as a form of mental illness. The people’s governor built that legacy road because of its economic importance to Ogun State. The Sagamu Interchange is a federal road, as is the Atan Lusada Agbara road, and many more. Abiodun was the one who built these masterpieces of engineering. The Laderin train station road built by Abiodun is a federal road. But if Abiodun chooses to expend all Ogun earnings on federal roads, there would be nothing left to do on any state road. That’s where the problem lies.

It is quite unfortunate, isn’t it, that people persist in comparing Lagos to Ogun without bothering to know the federal roads in Lagos and their state? From Ikorodu to Ojota and from Ojota to Anthony Village, to Fadeyi, to Orile Iganmu, to Apongbon, and to Marina, these are the federal roads you are travelling on. From Berger to Seven Up and Oworonsoki, the Third Mainland Bridge, to Lekki-Ajah Road, the story is the same. That is also the case from Anthony to Oshodi, to Mile 2, Okokomaiko, Badagry, and Oshodi, down to Iyana Ipaja. Oshodi to Apapa, Tin Can Island, and the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway. The point is this: just take away the federal roads from Lagos and look at the number of roads left for the Lagos State government to handle, then compare with the Ogun situation. Consider the speed with which the FG regularly takes care of its roads in Lagos and the short shrift given to Ogun. Now imagine that the third mainland bridge is in deplorable condition. Won’t it affect Lagos very badly? It is interesting that people attribute federal roads to Ogun State and want the state government to expand all its resources on them!

To be sure, Ogun has done so much on federal roads in the past. When Prince Abiodun came on board, he and Governor Sanwo-Olu wrote a joint letter to President Buhari requesting the concessioning of the Lagos-Abeokuta road so that they could do it, toll it, and return it back to the FG at a stipulated date. But the then Works Minister, Babatunde Fashola, objected to this, and even when Governor Abiodun went to Ota and declared that if the FG did not move to the site within two weeks, the Ogun State government would not hesitate to do the road, Fashola spit fire, saying Ogun State should leave federal roads alone. Indeed, there are federal roads that the Abiodun government did for which it is still awaiting reimbursement from the FG to date. This is not about passing the buck; the Twitter loudmouths should know the status of the roads they are complaining about.

Read also: Ogun begins allocation of low-cost housing to subscribers

Of course, the Abiodun government isn’t going to stop doing federal and state roads in the state. At the moment, five prime roads are being done per local government, as requested by the LGs themselves. The roads in a sorry state, highlighted on social media, have been scheduled for repairs, but that should not stop a just rebuke of the FG and its ways in Ogun State. The fact that the FG needs to do more in Ogun State cannot be overstated. This is not about party politics; it is a tradition that needs to be dismantled. If the FG approached its roads in Ogun with half the attention it gives Lagos, there would be no #Dapofixogunroads.

Another thing: roads are generally bad during the rainy season, with floods everywhere, in large part because many people build on waterways. Besides, most of the areas complained about are overflows from Lagos. Many residents work in Lagos and live in Ogun. They came to Ogun because of landlord issues, exorbitant housing, rent and land costs in Lagos, etc. Most of these people living on the fringes even see themselves as residents of Lagos. No doubt, the upsurge and overflow within a short period are affecting planning, yet these areas have not been abandoned. It was the Abiodun administration that did the roads in Arepo and Akute after years of neglect. The claim that every road in Ogun is bad is sheer bunkum. Besides, those saying Ogun is making N120 billion in IGR should try and find out what building a kilometre of road with good furniture costs. It is actually close to a billion.

Governor Abiodun must engage the FG more; that’s not in doubt. But people should not vent their anger uncritically. They should not serve as pawns in the hands of politicians eyeing 2027 and desperately trying to discredit a government working for the people.

 

Bakare lives in Atan, Ogun State and contributes this piece through [email protected]