Amosun: A Christmas gift for me

Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.

Christmas is here, it is time for many wishes. Firstly, I like to make my wish to God Almighty on behalf of my fellow countrymen. Secondly, a special wish to the governor of my state of residence, Senator Ibikunle Amosun on behalf of the residents of Agbara. But I have a dilemma. How should I label my wish? The content is no problem. The reason is simple. I would not want to mix up my desire for Nigerians with my appeal to my governor. For Nigerians: may you have a blissful Christmas! May you be free from the deceits of politicians who promised change and failed in all fronts. May you be blessed by God Almighty to make informed choice beyond the current Hobson’s choice before us all ahead of 2019? May you be blessed with the wit to survive the predictable hardship of 2018.

Now to my amiable and sympathetic governor, who foiled a lynching party at the burial of Senator Isiaka Adeleke in Ede, Osun State, not too long ago. His courageous rescue of Ms Idia Babalola, the former Special Adviser to Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, in the hands of an irate mob during the burial of the senator, saved the day. Otherwise, it would have been another obituary. The controversial nature of Adeleke’s death welled up emotion and the sequel saw an angry mob descending on an indigene of the town and former Special Adviser to Osun State governor.

Amosun has a streak of deep reasoning and passion. The remedy I seek from His Excellency is within his powers. It has to do with a situation that has already taken many lives. Before now I was tempted to title this piece ‘Between road, death and government.’ A few months ago, precisely July 27, 2017, a resident of Agbara Estate, Mr. Tolulope, the son of Architect Oladeji who hailed from Oyo State and was resident at Ogoja Crescent, Agbara Estate, Agbara, Ogun State, passed on. He was killed in between articulated vehicles passing through the badly damaged road linking Agbara and Sokoto road on the Ogun portion of Agbara town in Ogun State. Tolulope was a vibrant husband and father of three children and active member of the alumni association of Government College, Maiduguri. As Wole Soyinka would have put it, the man died. If the road so mentioned was in good shape, the untimely death would have been avoided.

Your Excellency, the road requiring immediate attention is the Abeokuta Road, about 1km beginning from the Badagry Expressway to the end of Unilever factory connecting Sokoto Road. It was originally designed for heavy axle load about some three decades ago. The road is totally damaged by growing heavy axle trucks (90 tonnes) on the road with deep gullies in every inch of it. This is due to increased factory output/tonnage and the emergence of new factories in the last 10 years.

These combine with the influx of commuters within and outside the state including those who were edged out from the ever increasing pressure of Lagos. An estimated 100 trucks/hr and 500 other vehicles, motorbikes and tricycles use the road on an hourly basis. The road to the best of my data has been rehabilitated twice in the last 10 years. Due to its present status, lives have been lost. Tolulope is only a metaphor for the many lives lost.

One essential element of governance is the provision of social and physical facilities. To my knowledge, Amosun has been investing in physical infrastructure across the entire Ogun State. Nevertheless, Agbara deserves some attention not only because of its promising industrial profile but for the discharge of the responsibility of government to the residents of Agbara. I am aware that Professor Tunde Fatunde, incumbent Chairman of Agbara Estate Residents Association, has also appealed to you in this regard in a correspondence. So my wish, singular wish, this yuletide is that our Dear Action Governor should rehabilitate the Agbara-Unilver bypass as well as the Sokoto road to ameliorate human sufferings in this part of Ogun State. Your Excellency, do this for me as a Christmas gift and to the joy of my fellow residents. God bless Ogun State, God bless Nigeria.
Dr. Akhaine, a visiting member of The Guardian Editorial Board, is an Associate Professor at the Lagos State University.

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Ibikunle Amosun
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