With Adejoke Adeniyi-Jackson
These are not the best of times for motorists and commuters plying the Geri-Alimi road in Ilorin, Kwara State. For a friend who is still trying to hone her driving skill, being behind the wheel on that road is nothing but a torturous experience, no thanks to the menacing presence of long articulated vehicles hauling different goods and petroleum products. The long caravan of trucks has become a common sight on the road in recent time. Behind the wheels of the vehicles that towered above other smaller cars are dare-devil drivers. For them, the right of road is inconsequential what mattered was size of the ‘masters of the road’, which is used to intimidate other road users. This informed the fear of my friend and many other motorists. One can see discomfort of passengers in smaller cars particularly those trapped between the long ‘metallic giants’ vehicles, whose faces were etched with signs of pain and anguish. Despite the rough terrain due to the ongoing underpass project the ‘pilots’ of the trailers drive with careless abandon. The presence of the trailers have consequently given rise to traffic logjam on the road. The huge presence of heavy duty vehicles on the road is not unconnected with the damaged portions on the Eiyenkorin-Okolowo part of the Ilorin-Jebba Road. As a result, long articulated vehicles are being diverting to Ilorin metropolis roads. With this development, most of the roads within the metropolis are in bad shape owing to activities of these heavy duty vehicles, as they do not have the capacity to withstand weights of these trucks and trailers that are plying on them. Aside this, there is also the fear of auto accidents on the roads involving long articulated vehicles due to recklessness of their drivers. Just last week one of the long vehicles fell on its sides at Geri Alimi, the accident could have been worse. It is also common sight to see broken down trailers in the middle of the road or on the kerbs thus causing untold hardship for road users. There is also the problem of indiscriminate parking of trucks on road shoulders leading to traffic snarl in the affected area and associated challenges.
It is a welcome development that the state government has began the rehabilitation of the road, which is a federal facility. It is a laudable move by the state government to take over the rehabilitation of the road in the interest of the good people of the state considering the economic cost of delay or abandonment. The state government had in a statement issued by the state Commissioner for Works and Transport, Alhaji Aro Yahaya, last week, explained that it intervened on the federal road in view of the hardship experienced by motorists and commuters between Eiyenkorin-Okolowo daily. The state government while noting that the heavy duty vehicles have damaged inner city roads, said it would embark on massive road rehabilitation as soon as work is completed on the federal facility. It is a commendable effort on the part of the state government given the fact that the road is significant on many fronts and of economic importance.
It will no doubt be a huge relief for motorists when the rehabilitation work is completed on Eiyenkorin-Okolowo road as it is expected that the long articulated vehicles will stay away from the Ilorin metropolis roads thereafter. However, there is a need for regular maintenance of the road to avoid total damage, which could make the heavy duty vehicles to abandon it again.
Meanwhile, one must commend the state government for the rehabilitation of roads in Ilorin, the state capital. This it is believed to be in response to the call by Kwarans for the repairs of township roads in particular. The government said it will embark on the rehabilitation through “weekly palliative work in line with the preventive maintenance approach of the Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed led administration…”
The roads that have been listed for repairs include; Oke Fomo , Agbo Oba , Oja Iya , Trinity , Gaa Akanbi, Oja Tuntun junction, Isale Aluko / Ita Ogunbo junction , Ojere junction, Alore – Medina – Ojuekun and Wara Osin – Baala. Other roads in deplorable condition, the state government assured would be rehabilitated towards making all roads motorable for users.
The importance of roads to the economic development of any place cannot be overemphasised hence the need for the state government to pay premium attention to infrastructural development.