Oyo prides itself as the Pacesetter State. But a recent tour of its neighbourhoods by Head, Special Investigation, Isioma Madike, uncovered a stream of abandoned projects that are rotting away, awful roads and collapsed bridges that have continued to wreak havoc and cause sleepless nights for the inhabitants
One of the major prerequisites of efficient functioning of a place is said to be the facility for movement of people, goods and services. But the deplorable state of roads in the Pacesetter State has somewhat contradicted this assertion. They are dreadful to the extent that the inhabitants of many of the state neighbourhood are of the opinion that they have gradually but steadily slipped into a national shame.
Indeed, there is hardly any part of the state that could boast of motorable roads apart from a few in the metropolis, which many said, are being dualised to save the government from an unnecessary embarrassment from visitors. This parlous condition of the roads may also be the reason why transportation in the state’s rural communities constitutes major challenges. The awful condition of these roads, the populace said, is responsible for most of the villages being cut off from civilisation.
The majority of the roads are narrow, untarred with ditch like portholes and are worse in this season of rains. Most of the communities are under-developed as a result of this with the majority of the residents being faced with enormous challenges in moving around.
Aside the menace of bumpy ride and manoeuvring by motorists who sometimes try to avoid some roads with damaged bridges and potholes, many Oyo State residents are now at the mercy of traffic gridlock. Whenever it rains, the roads are flooded. In many areas of the state, people are usually held up in traffic. They get to their destinations and homes late into the night. There are those who sleep at neighbour’s places to avoid being swept away by floods that often submerge homes and the bridges.
The people have accused the government of lacking proper planning. While some believe the government is deficient in physical development, others points to none appreciable infrastructures such as drainages, roads and canals to support the decaying roads.
Residents told Saturday Telegraph that the condition has never been this terrible. “It was not this bad even in August, 2011, when scores of people were killed in the floods that ushered the administration of Senator Abiola Ajimobi,” one resident, who identified himself simply as Adams, said.
Adams seemed to be echoing the sentiment of many people in the state who believe that the present administration has not done enough to tackle the problem of road menace in the state. The roads, according to them, have become a nightmare to both inhabitants and visitors to the Pacesetter State. The rains, they added, have made the situation worse for them. It brings tears and sorrow to the people.
Whenever it rains, flood sweeps chaos and confusion into many homes. While many groan under the tidal waves, houses and vehicles submerge in the continuing downpours. It was gathered that the failed portions of the roads also contribute to the flooding that has inundated parts of the state of late.
According to a resident, who declined to be identified, “our streets have turned into ‘ocean’ to the extent that flood is flowing into our houses.” This may explained why there is anger everywhere. A lot of residents are depressed; others wailing. They typically roll up their trousers to walk on the streets to avoid being smeared, while motorists and other pedestrians wade through the ocean-like streets.
At junctions of feeder streets in most parts of Ibadan, the sprawling capital city, are heaps of used water sachets and debris percolated by shallow floods that found inadequate avenue of normal flows blocking the broken canals and waterways. Some are overgrown with weeds; others filled with refuse heaps. Such sights within the metropolis, Saturday Telegraph was told, are now legendary.
The roads, apart from being riddled with huge potholes and gullies, have been narrowed to single lanes due to the mammoth refuse congealed by rain water whose passage is inhibited by blocked drains. As it rains, the flood sweeps the refuse to the middle of the roads, making movement of any kind difficult. Ibadan, however, appears to be a reflection of the sorry state Oyo has become. The state, residents said, has lost its excellence to putrefaction, filth and flood.
The outskirts are equally pathetic sites to behold in this season. They often turn to mini-swimming pool each time it rains. Flooding in those areas is so severe that many cars get submerged in it, resulting in a long stretch of vehicles on both sides of major pathways. This makes motorists spend hours to navigate the difficult terrain. It is still a puzzle that a major epidemic has not broken out in many of the state’s neighbourhoods, given the mountains of refuse that dot the landscape.
Tales of flooded houses, loss of property, several hours of traffic jam and streets completely taken over by garbage are now common. Indeed, for Ibadan and Oyo town residents in particular, living in this former capital of Western Nigeria is now a harrowing experience.
Apart from bad roads, collapsed bridges in many communities have added to the disaster the state has become. For instance, the two bridges that link Adekola Ogo-Oluwa community with Sekunderin Church at Alakia Isebo/Adegbayi areas of Egbeda Local Government, is now a source of nightmare to the residents. They have to pass through Ona Ara area instead of normal Alakia Road before getting to the metropolis.
Aside those, the roads and bridges found in ancient times could not be compared with the ramshackle and warped ones in Iyana Agbala (new Ife Road), Adekola/Bioku Araba, Olodo/Olomi, Odo Ona and Elewe/Apata vicinities. When it rains, residents of Amuloko, Olunloyo areas along Akanran community in the Ona Ara Local Government also cry. The stream that traverses the Ariyo Bridge from Onipepeye to Olunde community, overflows it, and prevents pedestrians and motorists from going to the axis from Olorunsogo.
Residents said they usually do not get home till the early morning of the second day. Those who could afford it would make a detour right from Orita Aperin where the gridlock often starts, to find alternative routes or go to sleep in hotels or relatives’ houses. For others in Moniya in the Akinyele Local Government, they now literally cut off from the Ojoo community due to the collapse of Abata Kan Bridge which links them. They currently take the Ibadan/Oyo Express Road from Ojoo, branching at Shasha before they could get to their destinations.
When Saturday Telegraph spoke with some of the residents and spare parts sellers around the area, they lamented the suffering they were undergoing, as well as security breaches being perpetrated around the collapsed bridge, particularly at night. “This bridge is causing a lot of havoc here. We can no longer ply the road freely. Criminals now have a field day at night as pedestrians that pass through the bridge are attacked at will,” one of them who refused his name in print, said.
Motorists that ply Iwo Road to Olodo in the Egbeda Local Government Area are not spared the agony of bad roads in the state. The dualised express road is now death traps at Oki Bus Stop area as some very deep potholes now force motorists to a snail speed, causing traffic snarl
particularly when it rains. Many motorists even complain of unnecessary damage to their vehicles due to the bouncy nature of the potholes.
The story is the same in many other zones of the state like Oyo, Ogbomoso, Oke Ogun and Ibarapa towns as many residents complain that the government has not embarked on any infrastructural development since the governor’s second term victory. A Saki town resident, who prefers to be called Wale, could not hide his displeasure towards the government when he said: “I swear this government has gone to sleep since it won the second term election. Residents of this area have not felt any action from it.
“Salaries are being owed workers, yet road constructions and other infrastructural developments have since ceased. Though, the government complained of paucity of funds and shortfall in federal monthly allocation, the state of affairs in the state presently portrays the negative effects of second term administration which was never ever experienced before this government,” he lamented.
This may be the reason many others believe that the governor has taken the state back to the medieval era. “You see, Ajimobi is not only incompetent, he has moved us back to the primitive age. The state infrastructure has never been this bad. It is a total decay and has become an eyesore. Can a normal society look this way?” an aged woman who gave her name simply as Mama Ojo, angrily asked.
Another added: “I can’t count the number of times I repair my car in a month due to the damage caused by the deplorable state of the roads. We keep praying and hoping that government would remember us. We can see construction and rehabilitation works being carried out on some roads in other places. We want such development here. They promised us good roads but we are yet to see any. We keep wondering if we will ever get such development in this state.”
As observed by Saturday Telegraph, no two vehicles can pass beside each other at a time in most feeder roads. Any oncoming vehicle or motorcycle had to wait for the other one so as to avoid a head-on collision as most of the roads had caved in at the midpoint. Little wonder the appalling state of the roads and collapsed bridges attracted the attention of lawmakers in the State House of Assembly.
“Apart from the bridges, more than half of the roads in the state are in bad shape. We are in the rainy season and if not rehabilitated on time, they will be washed away and would become completely inaccessible to residents. Whenever there is rain, many workers and residents cannot go out due to the bad bridges,” the legislature noted.
Incidentally, deplorable roads and collapsed bridges are not the only worries of residents of Oyo State as Saturday Telegraph uncovered a stream of abandoned projects also. Some of the most visible are in Oyo town. The Oyo State Government Broadcasting Corporation site for Atiba FM Radio Station is one of them. It is said to have been abandoned for years without being attended to.
There is equally the Oyo State Government Integrated 10, 000 MT Agriculture Silo Complex, Oyo, which has been left to rot away. Rodents, snakes and other reptiles are now the occupants of the once architectural masterpiece. Hospitals across the state are not left out. Many of them are in bad shape begging for urgent attention. The giant complex, which is supposed to be an annex of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) Teaching Hospital (LTH) at the State Hospital, Oyo, is also in ruins. Weeds are now competing in height with the gigantic building. The edifice, according to hospital sources, has now become a huge threat to both patients and staff of the hospital.