Residents and motorists plying the popular old Ondo-Benin road spanning through Oke-Owa sawmill to Ilese Ijebu in Ijebu North East Local government area of Ogun State have continued to lament the poor condition of the roads in the community.
Residents, who spoke with this reporter said the bad state of the road had caused them untold hardship. They explained that the road which housed Ogun state college of health technology and the industrial sawmills have been neglected for years by the government.
A resident, Aliu Balogun, while lamenting how the road has been in the state of disrepair for years expressed how scared he is taking motorcycle when passing through the road daily.
“Ni Ilu to ba l’oba, to ni joye, it’s as if the government has abandon us to our fate here, If not for God that is protecting us, the road is so bad that it’s a common and regular scene seeing motorcycles falling down daily,” he lamented.
A motorcycle rider who introduced himself simply as Ibrahim lamented how riders are avoiding plying the area because of the bad road which cause damages to their motorcycles.
“About two weeks ago, my gear slammed into the ground and broke, I had to change it, how much are we making that we have to spend everyday earning fixing one thing or the other?, he asked rhetorically.
When asked about what the riders union is doing to address the situation, Ibrahim faulted the union which he claimed is more concerned about collecting dues and levies than addressing the issues affecting the members.
“We pay more than N2,000 daily to buy different union tickets and yet they know what we face on this part and they are not channeling our hardship to those that can fix it”.
A tricycle driver plying the road, Mr Anthony Uche, plead that they government should come to the aid of the people by fixing the road.
According to him, the deplorable condition of the road was part of the reasons why tricycle drivers increased fares for the routes.
He said, “You know tricycle is not really strong to rugged roads like this, our tricycle gets damaged easily while plying this road, so we increased the fares slightly, if you’re going from sawmill to Ilese now, formerly, it was N50, but now, it’s N100 and we can only beg the government to come to our aid in this place.”
On her part, Mrs Kike Idowu, a plank trader in one of the sawmills in Ilese, running into losses due to the bad state of the road is recurrent for many traders in the sawmill.
“When the lorries fetching the logs from the forest fall on this road, you have to call another lorry to load it from where it fall, and you will have to negotiate another payment while also contribute to the repair of the fallen lorry. When you calculate all this expenses with what you pay the Ministry of Forestry on this logs and the money for the processing of the logs in the sawmill, you will barely see the capital,”
“The state of this road is really affecting our business,” She said.
For Opeyemi Ogunnaike, a Dental Health student of the Ogun State College of Health technology, going to school means preparing for the bumpy and calculative ride each day.
“When taking a bike to school, you have to make sure your bike is going very careful and make sure you go back home early because the road is hard to navigate at night and when it rained, the front of the school is always flooded that you cannot see the drainages and potholes, so you have to be really careful to avoid mishaps,”
Government Says No Money to fix the road
When contacted by this reporter, Engr Ade Akinsanya, Ogun State Commissioner for works and infrastructure said even the government has not abandoned the road, there is no money to fix it.
“The road is one of the uncompleted projects we inherited from the past administration and we need over 200 billion to do it and we don’t have that money sitting somewhere,”
“What we can do is maybe a palliative effort when the rain has subsides, probably next year, we’ll make effort to make it motorable ”, he concluded.