Seyi Bakare: No good roads in Ogun State?

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. Governor STEEZE Budget is about N103bn. How will Ogun State roads be fixed? We beg you steeze governor, remove some budget from your steeze and fix the roads. #Dapofixogunroads.” Predictably, the tweet garnered endless likes and re-tweets. You see, the 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 N64bn was budgeted for the Governor’s Office while the Ministry of Works got N170 billion which includes payment for carry over projects from the preceeding 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, Bureau of Public Procurement, Bureau of Pension and 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 N192bn? And just how can anyone who lays claim to literacy actually believe that such a paltry sum as N480m can be allocated to any ministry in 2024?

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, honesty, is whether the critics actually know anything about Ogun State. This is because in the last five years, the Abiodun administration has constructed/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 – Idowa – Awa – Ibefun – Itokin Road, Awujale Road (Awujale, Stadium & Oke Aje) , Molipa / Asafa Isale / Ayegun / Ojofa Road In Ijebu-Ode, Asafa Oke / Fusigboye / Ojofa Street Road, Olommore-Sanni Road in Abeokuta, NNPC – MKO StadiumRoad down to Kuto bridge and IBB Boulevard, Idarika Street Road and Araromi / Sokoto Street Road are all in Ogun State, and guess who did them? A certain gentleman called Dapo Abiodun.

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 Expressway- Ibadan Garage, Ijebu Ode, Oyingbo-Olisa-Saka Ashiru-Ijebu Ode Road, Ikenne – Ilishan 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 isn’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/construct roads across Ogun State. Many innocent people joined the bandwagon. After all, who doesn’t want good roads?

But here’s the point: most of the road 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 a deplorable condition. To the credit of the Abiodun administration, Ogun has actually intervened in 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, and so is the Atan Lusada Agbara road, and many more. Abiodun it was 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 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 Marina, it is federal roads you are travelling on. From Berger to Seven Up and Oworonsoki, 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 Osodi, 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, just imagine, that the third mainland bridge is in a 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 expend 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 for 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 that if the FG did not move to site within two weeks, 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.

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 the social media, have been scheduled for repairs, but that should not stop a just rebuke of the FG and its ways in Ogun State. That the FG needs to do more in Ogun State cannot overstated. This is not about party politicking: 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 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 is 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 N120bn IGR should try and find out what building a kilometer 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 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

Seyi Bakare: No good roads in Ogun State?

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