Lagosians Demand Fairness On 114 Rural Road Projects



THE approval for rehabilitation of 114 roads across the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) of Lagos State, by Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, was expected to elicit applause across the state, but instead, it generated condemnation and disapproval.

Though the move, according to the governor, is in fulfillment of one of his campaign promises of investing massively in the construction of rural roads, critics are however; against the manner projects will be executed.

It could be recalled that Ambode, at the monthly meeting of the Executive Secretaries of the 57 council areas, last month, unveiled plans to commence the reconstruction of two roads in each of the councils, mandating council heads to pick roads of their choice, noting that the execution of the project will be left in their care.

One of those against the decision, Mr. Jacobson Olumbeku, a community leader in Abule-Egba area of the state, said the choice of the roads did not follow due process, a move that might not reflect the opinion of the people at the grassroots.

He noted that in terms of capacity, local government administration in the state has degenerated to a level where they cannot handle road construction projects.

Investigations showed that majority of the link roads have broken down completely, beyond what the local governments can handle, unlike in the past.

The third tier of government used to be vibrant in the state; working assiduously to beautify and provide necessary amenities that would affect the lives of people at the grassroots positively, but reverse is the case at present.

The quality of elective officers at the councils, in the last few years, has dropped, according to Madam Jejelola Okunade, a retired civil servant. She noted that handling of projects of that caliber might be too much for Executive Secretaries, majority of whom might use the project as conduit pipes to siphon public funds.

“Rather than giving them the freedom to pick the roads, Ambode should have sought the opinion of community leaders or residents of the councils to decide on roads that might be of priority to them. Government is about carrying people along. A lot of people would say he might not have the time to carry out the survey; did he not create time to visit the councils when he was seeking for their votes?”

But the Special Adviser to the governor on Communication and Community Affairs, Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan claimed that there was a consultative process, through which the councils sought the opinion of the Community Development Associations (CDAs), which led to the presentation of 10 roads each, out of which five were taken by the councils, which led to the choice of the roads submitted to the governor.

While speaking in a chat with The Guardian, he assured that when the execution begins, the CDAs would be carried along in the area of monitoring.

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