By; NIYI OGUNGBOLA, Abeokuta
Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun on Wednesday, appealed to the Federal Government to accord all federal highways in Ogun corridors a special status to be able to mitigate challenges often encountered by motorists in the state.
With particular mentioning of the Lagos – Ota – Abeokuta expressway and that of the Sango – Idiroko highway, Abiodun said his administration is willing to reconstruct those highways provided the federal government will honour his requests to adopt the roads for rehabilitation.
The governor made the appeal yesterday while addressing aggrieved residents of Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government during his campaign tour of the area ahead of the forthcoming council poll scheduled for July 24, 2021.
The Ogun governor, who had a stopover at the Joju bypass of the Lagos – Ota – Abeokuta expressway as well as along the Sango – Idiroko highway, passionately apologised for the deplorable states of the roads and pleaded with the residents to exercise more patience pending when his administration finds permanent solution to their suffering.
Earlier, residents of Ado-Odo/Ota Local Government had trooped to the Sango – Idiroko highway to voice out their displeasure over the state of roads.
But while addressing the residents, the governor said he has made several efforts at speaking with the Federal Government over possible taking over of the roads for reconstruction on which he said the federal government has not given the go ahead.
Abiodun explained that in as much as he is not competing with the Federal Government over road infrastructure, he would work towards bringing the Minister of Works, Babatunde Raji Fashola to come and see the deplorable state of the roads for himself so that he can further pity the state.
He disclosed that himself and his counterpart in Lagos State, Babajide Sanwoolu had at different times, engaged the Federal Government on the need to transfer the rehabilitation of the Lagos-Abeokuta expressway to them as part of the move to ensure that people do not suffer on the roads.
“The state of this road is pitiful, Governor Sanwo-Olu and I have engaged the federal government at different times, to transfer the road to us, we are not by any means not appreciative of the paucity of funds at the situation the federal government finds itself in, our people are suffering and as a state government, we can only do so much, we have intervened on several roads,” he said.
“I have asked the federal government to declare a special status for this state, because we have more federal roads than any other state and we are suffering, not just from the environmental impact that the roads are causing us. Our people are suffering and I am in pain”.
“I am going to use this medium to call on the Minister of Works to come and partner with me by first undertaking a tour of federal roads in the State, I am hoping that the Minister of Works will agree to come on a tour with me, so we can look at these roads and get a first hand appreciation of the deplorable state of the road infrastructure,” he said.
Emphasizing that Ado-Odo-Ota Local Government was one of the largest and the economic base of the state and the Nigeria, Abiodun added that the state of federal roads was too embarrassing.
“This is the number one industrial local government in this country. it is contributing to the economy of not only Ogun State, but the entire country, because the biggest Industrial hub in Nigeria is right here in this very local government. It also has a very large percentage of federal roads, that is why we are called the Gateway State.
“This is a Sango-Gangan road which starts from some where under the bridge to the roundabout. This is another example of the deplorable state of federal roads in Ado-Odo-Ota local government,” he said.
The Governor while disclosing that he has asked the Commissioner for works to immediately intervene on the portion of the bad roads in the local government, called on the Minister of Works to partner with his administration by first agreeing on a tour of the bad federal roads in the state.
“I have directed the Commissioner for Works to come and intervene here immediately because this is completely unacceptable, we don’t have Federal Nigerians, everybody is a citizen of a particular state, so they don’t care whether a road is a Federal or State road, so, we are going to take responsibility, this portion, we are going to rehabilitate it, we are going to go to the Abeokuta-Sango road as well, just before the bridge, we are going to repair that as well, because the rains are going to get more and it is going to get more and more inconvenient for our innocent indigenes.
Abiodun further explained that as part of efforts to ameliorate the suffering of the people, the State government was reconstructing the Joju road to act as a bye-pass to the Sang-Ota- Idi-Iroko road.
Speaking to Newsmen, a businessman in the area, Mr. Chinedu Nwafor, noted that the road has been in deplorable condition for a very long time without any attention from government, while Mrs. Rukayat Afoloabi, a resident of the area, enumerated the hardship the people are going through especially during the rainy season, calling on the government to urgently come to their rescue by repairing the road.