By: Olayemi Bello
“Even with the kind of resources we have in Lagos, it is very clear that there is huge infrastructural deficit in the State…” – Governor Akinwunmi Ambode [See: My random thoughts…]
The quote above wows me; even though it is political, it carries some elements of truth. It is gladdening to see that the Governor of Lagos State admits that there is infrastructural deficit in the State. Lagos has been working, not since the days of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Babatunde Raji Fashola, but since the days of the elder statesman Lateef Jakande. I believe their visionary leadership in the State, save the military years, has been impetus for successive government like that of Governor Ambode. Or perhaps, Lagos being a former capital territory of the nation deserves the kind of leadership it has always got.
I left the city of brown roofs for Lagos on Sallah day (1 September, 2017) to felicitate with family and friends. As we journeyed into the State, I was expecting some monumental changes in the city I had left for about 4 months, but not much difference has taken place. I was stunned to see that AdesinaRoad within Ijeshatedo, Surulere, has become worse. This road has suffered conscious oblivion from the State and Local Governments in the past 7 years. How will this continue?
There has arguably been an assertion by some Lagosians (natives and residents) that Surulere is the centre of Lagos. I hold the same view. Meanwhile, one can only be taken aback that the area suffers pathetic infrastructural deficit. For instance, the aforementioned road has become very deplorable and a flood zone; whereas it is strategic to residents and commercial activities in the State. It links business hubs like Ijesha market, Lawanson, Mushin, Ojuelegba and, perhaps, Yaba/Tejuosho Market. It equally facilitates navigation to Mile-Oshodi Expressway; thereby making it invaluable within the metropolis.
The weather this year seems to favour flood. Our Benue and Lokoja have been flooded, so is Trump’s U.S. and the Burmese Rohingya. The carnage of potholes (oh sorry, drumholes) on AdesinaRoad can land a pregnant woman in the ICU of LUTH. Apparently, motorists have become perturbed due to the sufferings they encounter on the road; while businesses along the axis have been affected with accelerated decline. The gods are not to blame; but it seems the Local Government and/or Local Council Development Council Chairman is indifferent about it.
The representatives of the people in the Houses of Assembly (State and Federal) don’t seem to live around this area; they only come around when they need votes again.Even if they live around, they have jeeps (made for only men in power) to splatter the flood on passers-by. In actual fact, I know it is not the fundamental job of legislators to construct roads; but they could use their offices to influence, stimulate and facilitate its repair from the pathetic status quo. That’s embedded in the representative and oversight functions of legislators.
In furtherance of fairness and objectivity, the Lagos State Government has been faring well in infrastructural development; yet, there is need to forestall the deterioration of extant infrastructure from being exacerbated. Leaving infrastructure to deteriorate has more implications in terms of cost, lives and treasures. While I know the State Government and its subordinate tier(s) may not be in the know about all the deplorable roads, it is expedient that they heed our call once their attention is called. Governance is development and its measure is dependent on how its pragmatic impacts can be felt by majority of citizens.
The AdesinaRoad has been neglected too long and it is high time the government repaired it. This will prevent flood and at the same time enhance commercial activities within the metropolis. I’m not skeptic that Governor Ambode is acquainted with the saying of Confucius that: “Do not worry about holding high position; worry rather about playing your proper role.” It’s the proper role of government to give us development not ephemeral benefits enjoyed by a select few.
Eko O Ni Baje O!
Onifade Bello Abdurrahman is a final year student of University of Ibadan; he can be reached via [email protected]