It was a smooth drive from Iyana-Ipaja and the commuter bus, Lagosians call them danfo, wasÂ bound for Ayobo, Ipaja, a suburb of the metropolis.
Minutes into the journey, the bus started dancing to the rhythm of the potholes and failedÂ spots on the stretch of road. The dancing bus jiggled the passengers around, tossing them toÂ and fro, like stones in a can. It was clearly not a pleasant journey, and even the driver ofÂ the bus was already sweating, struggling with the steering, just to keep the vehicle on theÂ road. It was indeedÂ nightmarish.
A child strapped to its motherâ€™s back hit its head on the roof of the bus and while theÂ other passengers sympathized with the mother, the driver quickly informed them that theyÂ were in Ogun State. â€œI am sorry to inform you that you are in Ogun State where nothing seemsÂ to be working,â€ he said, wiping his face with a handkerchief.
This piece of information from the driver sparked a discussion which quickly degeneratedÂ into an argument. Some passengers believed that the entire Ipaja and Ayobo are part of OgunÂ State while others claimed that the driver was only being mischievous.
The roads in Ipaja-Ayobo have been neglected judging from the dilapidated network in theÂ area. Residents of the area told P.M.NEWS Metro that they were not sure if they were stillÂ part of the state. Some of them even asked what sin they have committed to warrant suchÂ neglect.
They said they have done a lot to call the attention of both the Lagos State and localÂ council to their aid, but that all the attention they received were more promises.
Asked what efforts the local government chairman, Prince Bisi Yusuf, had made to alleviateÂ their suffering, a resident, Segun Adelabu explained that the chairman was only taking aÂ clue from the state government. â€œSince the state government has refused to do its part, theÂ local government is learning from the example.”
Another resident of the area, who gave his name simply as Idowu, said the people of the areaÂ had resigned themselves to fate. â€œIf our leaders can do this to us, what do you expect us toÂ do? We can only pray to get the right person for both the state and the local government inÂ the 2011 election.
Reminded that the perception of the people of the state was that the governor is doing well,Â she asked how they came by such assessment, adding that anybody who wants to actually rateÂ the Governorâ€™s performance should first visit the area.
Emmanuel Ojo, who said he had lived in the area for about four years, explained that when itÂ rains, the entire road becomes un-motorable.
â€œLike they say, when it rains, it really pours. Residents can’t go out or come in as theÂ entire area is flooded. You can imagine how many workers living here have received queriesÂ in their various places of work. You can imagine how many people have been sacked forÂ getting late to their places of work. When people are told to stop collecting money and foodÂ to vote for candidates, they think one is unreasonable, but this is a clear example of theÂ consequence.
He said though government officials had been to the area a number of times, the visits haveÂ not given them any respite. â€œIn fact, the more they visit us the more they tend to forgetÂ about us,â€ he added.
He complained that as part of the mega city project of the state government, the plight ofÂ the people of the area should be taken into consideration because of the number of peopleÂ who reside there. He maintained that the area was metropolitan in nature and always busy,Â â€œso I think there is an underlying reason why we have been forgotten,â€ he lamented.
A driver who operates on the route, Sunday Owodunni, lamented that they spend more moneyÂ repairing their buses than what they earn from the job. â€œThe road is so bad that sometimes,Â we find it difficult to work.
“Sometimes, we do not even want to work because we are not encouraged to do so because ofÂ the bad state of the roads. I have heard about roads being constructed by the stateÂ government but I am yet to see anyone around here.â€ He threatened that the people of theÂ area might be forced to boycott the next elections in the state as a result.
â€œWhen it rains we are in problem. During the dry season too, we are in problem, because ofÂ dust. We are tired of their promises and we have resolved that if they like they should doÂ it. If they donâ€™t do, it would continue to be a shame to them and their government. TheÂ people of the area would continue to remember them as leaders who had the opportunity toÂ solve the peopleâ€™s problems but refused to come to their aid.
Speaking on the road, Special Adviser to the Governor on Works and Infrastructure, Engr.Â Ganiu Johnson said the road would be considered as part of the second phase of theÂ Iyana-Ipaja-Isheri Olofin-Ikotun road construction project. He said this recently during anÂ inspection tour of ongoing road projects in the state.
He explained that after the completion of the first phase being handled by PlyconÂ Construction Company, the government would look towards the direction of the road.