By Mike Adeyemi, Ahmed Ajikobi and Gafar Iyanda
Transportation has remains pivotal in all facet of human endeavour to improve our world, from time immemorial. Whether in urban or rural settings, the centrality of good road network is invaluable for daily activities of the citizens, both motorists and pedestrians. It is a strategic sector which a responsible government must always give a keen attention.
In every society, a good road network is the artery of socio-economic growth and development, this cannot however be said of the road network in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital.
Most of the roads in Ilorin metropolis today are to say the least, in an abject state of degradation. Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, has reneged on this key sector for development leaving the people of the state to their fate, as Ilorin the state capital, is littered with postholes amidst total neglects by his administration.
Many of these township roads which includes Apalara, Ita Elepa, Osin, Olorunshogo, Alfa Yahaya, Ipata-Oloje, Oke-Foma, Oja-Tuntun, Oko Erin, Osere, Sawmill, Gaa-Akanbi, Ita Olodan to mention but few, have become a big hurdle for pedestrians and motorists who ply these roads on daily basis. As the condition of these roads continue to worsen at this height of the raining season, it has further compounded the grief of road users for social and economic activities. There have been numerous appeal from various quarters to the state government, to address this situation and safe the residents of the metropolis from this plight.
Our reporters at the National Pilot, went round the city in order to investigate some of the worst affected areas and get people’s reactions.
One of the roads visited by our reporter is the Ipata Oloje, Alfa Yahaya, Ita Amo and Gaa Saka roads axis. Sikirat Raji, a young lady who owns a wholesales household items shop along this road spoke to our reporter. She lamented on the deteriorating condition of these roads, according to her “the roads along this area is very bad as you can see for yourself, you do not want to be caught up in the holdup caused by the poor state of the road because it is nerve-wracking. It usually take hours before it would ease up, this is even made worse because of the high numbers of heavy trucks that ply the road everyday.”
Our reporter who observed lots of heavy trucks, popularly referred to as ‘trailer’ by the locals, plying this road reported that the way some of these overloaded heavy trucks swerve on this road in order to avoid the potholes is terrifying. This pose a great threat to other motorists, pedestrians and shop owners on the road side.
When asked if the poor condition of the road has had any implication on her business, Sikirat responded “it is affecting my business of course, it has reduced my sales a lot” she exclaimed. “This is because most residents of this area prefer to follow linkage roads now, though those roads are also bad but much shorter to get to their various houses in this area in order to avoid being holdup on the road. Even though I sell at reduced prices, yet it has failed to attract most customers as there are no places for them to park their cars on the roadside.”
Sounding exasperated, Sikirat added “in fact, I am thinking of closing this shop and relocating my business to another area.”
A tricycle rider, Raimi Ishola who also spoke to our reporter, said “the poor state of the road is affecting we ‘Marwa’ riders. The number of hours we waste holdup on this road is making us to lose income.”
Raimi was asked how this has constituted an obstacle to his income generation, he replied “most of us bought this ‘Marwa’ on higher purchase and must make certain amount of profit everyday in order to be able to meet up with our payment, and you have to consider the wear and tear of the ‘Marwa’.
“So being in hold up for hours because of the poor state of this road, reduced the number of times one can ply the road daily, especially between 4pm to 8 pm which is a rush hour when we are supposed to get more customers.
“This has led to advantages for Okada riders, because they can ride through small streets which we cannot pass through and even get customers to the front of their doors. Another major problem on this road are the ‘trailer’, we are risking our lives plying this road side by side with these trailers. Most them usually carry overload, they can tumble at anytime and any motorist caught under there weight would be killed instantly.”
When our reporter asked him what he think should be done to alleviate these condition, he said “I think government should stop heavy trucks from passing through this road, except maybe the ones carrying fuel to nearby filling station, the activities of the ‘trailers’ has made the road worse. Then I think government should repair the road and not wait for raining season to end. Maintenance of road should not be abandon till the end of raining season, because a lot people like me depend on these roads for our daily earnings.”
Responding to the question from our reporter on the poor state of the road, a residents of Gaa Saka, Abdulyekin Tolagbe, who is also a civil servant narrated his daily ordeal on Ipata Oloje, Ita Amo and Gaa Saka roads, saying “it is a real nightmare driving through this roads. Apart from the holdup, the damages the potholes on the roads caused to my car is frustrating. Every week I have to visit my mechanic to repair the car, especially the wheels. If not during mid-weeks when I have to carry my wife to her place of work and my kids to school, I usually take Okada during weekends.”
He added that some of my neighbors do not have access road to drive their cars to their house as the roads have collapsed, so they just park somewhere in the neighborhood.
“For some time now, I have stopped washing my car regularly except on intervals,” Abdulyekin gesture with a wave of his hand. “If I wash my car in the morning and I drive out with it, by the time I return home in the evening it would have become very dirty due to the muddy ponds that have formed in the middle of the road. So as you can see, my car is dirty because I only wash it during weekends” he concluded.
The cost of government neglect of these bad roads cannot be overemphasized. It can be deduced that economically, it has taken a toll on business owners as it aggravated the cost of running their businesses, threatening the survival of some businesses, while precious productive hours are wasted as motorists and commuters are hold up in traffic logjam.
There are no doubt that sitting for hours in traffic logjam daily can be injurious to citizens health and wellbeing.
At Danialu-Ita Olodan-Gaa Akanbi road axis, the abject state of the road is indescribable. There are potholes of varying width all along the road, motorists had to slowdown and maneuver to avoid these potholes.
According to Jimoh Ayinde Opeloyeru, a member of the Alangua committee of Danialu, when rain falls “the roads from Olaolu to our area usually become inaccessible. All the drainage have collapse, so the rivulet will just flood the roads leading to some cars breaking down in the middle of the road.
Even shop owners are not spared from the consequence of these bad roads, Opeloyeru said “they used to complain to us that delivery trucks turned down their request to supply goods to their shops because of the bad roads. Those that take the request charge exorbitant prices, which they cannot added to their wares as customers will refuse to patronize them.” As he said this, those around him nodded their heads in affirmative.
Opeloyeru added that all the interconnected streets are not left out, most of them have been completely destroyed by erosion. Once it is evening, Okada riders will hike their fee, the place that goes for #50 will become #100. In some of the interconnecting streets, it is impossible to drive to your house as the roads have been washed away by erosion.
As visit to some of the interlink street corroborate what Opeloyeru said, most of the streets have been cut off by gully erosion. These roads are not accessible for motorists in some parts of these streets.
The collapse drainages on the roadside has led to flooding which causes destructions of citizens properties such as cars, houses and shops as witnessed by our reporter at Ita Olodan.
Mr Kola Ibiwoye, an elderly man who owns four twins flat in Danialu area express his misgivings about the poor state of the roads, saying “most would be tenants avoid these areas because of the dilapidated roads. So we have been forced to reduced the rents compare to the facilities in the building, so as to attract tenants.
He continue adding that “there was a newly married couples who rented the apartment, but packed out months before the expiration of their rent complaining of the effects of the poor roads.
When Mr Ibiwoye was asked what he believe can be done to address the situation, he opined that “I believe the government needs to be up and doing, in situation where the government use rain as an excuse to avoid their responsibility is an insult to the intelligence of the citizens.
“Why is it that in other countries, rain does not stopped the government from constructing new roads” throwing his hands up in the air. “Even if they cannot reconstruct these roads, they should at least always carryout proper maintenance of the roads if they care about the wellbeing of the citizens. Look at my age, the rigour of driving through this roads is not good for my health. So I mostly stay indoor all day” he concluded.
Another road in a deplorable state in Ilorin, is Oko-Erin, Osere and Sawmill roads axis, this is nothing but an eyesore. These roads are not only untarred but also not motorable and it is filled with potholes at every intervals. Along Oko-Erin road, motorists have abandon one lane of the road and followed a single lane, posing danger to the lives of the pedestrians crossing the road.
For any administration in the 21st century, to subscribe to the parlance that rain is the obstacle to reconstruction or maintenance of poor roads in the metropolis, is not only parochial but crude. The dynamism in technology and novelty of ideas for taming nature’s challenges has become so proliferated throughout the world today, that in describing the challenges of nature George McDonald, said “God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon”.
A visit to Peace street, off Awolowo road, Tanke where the house of commissioner for works Rotimi Illiasu, is located revealed a street not yet tarred but well paved with good drainage system, even though it is still raining season. As George Orwell wrote in his book, Animal Farm “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
Certainly, this is not the change Governor AbdulRahman administration promised Kwarans.
It is the cardinal duty of a responsible administration, to create an enabling environment through maintenance of available infrastructures and construction of new ones, for the citizens to reap the dividend of democratic rule. But the reverse is the case under the administration of Governor AbdulRahman, as the government continue to ignore the plight residents of the the state capital undergoes on the poor roads across the state capital.
It is equally important to for governor to appreciate the fact that, whatever the administration and its officials perpetrated today, would serve as their legacy tomorrow.
By Mike Adeyemi, Ahmed Ajikobi and Gafar Iyanda