Poor Allocation Is Hampering Development In Ikorodu, Says Local Govt Secretary
Ikorodu Local government is one of the local governments that make up the twenty local governments of Lagos State. To ensure the people feel the impact of the government even more, five Local Council Development Areas (LCDA) were created; Ijede, Ikorodu North, Ikorodu West, Ikosi Agbowa and Igbogbo Baiyeku LCDAs.
If the local governments and LCDAs are positively impacting the lives of the inhabitants of Ikorodu just yet, is still to be determined going by the opinion of majority of the people that spoke to The Guardian.
From Ijede to Odongunyan to Eyita to Ipakodo to Igbogbo and Agric, the complaints were the same. The people pointed out that they feel abandoned and despite several complaints, both verbal and written, the situation remains unchanged. Most of the inner roads are inaccessible; the main roads are not much better. They are just not as bad as the inner and feeder roads. Putting it succinctly, Ikorodu local government has one of the poorest road networks in Lagos state. Most homes do not have access to clean water and have to generate their own water. Ikorodu central and some parts of Ikorodu west are connected to the Lagos State Water Corporation located at Haruna, but the water supply is not regular. Ikorodu North and other parts have no idea what water corporation means. In some cases, residents have to generate their own electricity as well.
A visit to the LCDAs showed reluctant staff that didn’t want to speak to the press. A few that spoke under the condition of anonymity said there was nothing they could do as they acted under instructions from their bosses.
Ever since the tenure of the past chairmen expired in October last year, election has not been conducted. Instead, caretaker committees were formed, headed by executive secretaries that head the local governments and LCDAs.
According to Mr Adeola Adebisi Banjo, the executive secretary of Ikorodu North local Council, the election hasn’t taken place because the Lagos State Independent Electoral Commission (LASIEC) claimed they do not have the authentic list of registered voters from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), and until they do, election of the officials cannot take place. This has gone on for almost a whole year now.
On the allegation that the residents do not feel their impact, Banjo points out that Ikorodu is still rural in nature compared to most other urban towns and areas, and because land is cheap, people were moving in en masse on a daily basis, building houses without proper planning, organization or permit. He insists that his administration was doing its best in the face of several daunting challenges by grading the inner roads and rehabilitating schools. This was however countered by residents who insist that the last grading they ever witnessed happened last year and immediately the first rain fell, the roads went back to their former states, if not even worse.
Banjo admits that the allocation they were receiving from the federal government had reduced drastically due to falling oil prices and after payment of salaries and other recurrent expenditures, there was little left to embark on capital projects and they were finding it difficult to cope. He insists that they have to look inwards to generate money to run a few projects. This was in response to the allegation that residents labeled against the local government that they only felt their presence whenever they want to collect levies and business permits. Banjo said that people are refusing to pay levies, claiming they do not feel any government impact. “ If they do not pay these minor levies, how else are we to generate income?” Banjo queried.
On the terrible state of the Ikorodu-Ogijo-Shagamu express road, Banjo indicated that the road was a federal government road and there was little or nothing his administration could do about it. He however stated that that hasn’t prevented him from trying to put palliative measures in place by collaborating with Mr Jimi Benson and Mr S.O.B Agunbiade to petition the department of works to patch the bad areas.
A visit to the road however revealed that the road has deteriorated again. Whenever the smallest rain falls, residents are left gnashing their teeth in sorrow, as the roads are always almost impassable. The feeder roads are worse and most people prefer to keep their vehicles at home and take Okada. Banjo disclosed that a letter has been written to the governor through the department of public works and believes that work would start soon on that axis as work had started on the Sabo/Itoikin road already.
Speaking on, he said that Operation 20/20 was launched by the state governor in each local government with a bid to renovate twenty roads in each of the twenty local governments. According to Banjo, two roads in each local government have already started undergoing reconstruction and he believes that massive improvements would be witnessed in every local government in less than a year.
According to him, the major problem they faced was scarcity of funds/meager allocation and this has prevented them from embarking on capital projects. He insists that most residents find it difficult to pay taxies and levies, forgetting that government could not do everything alone and monies derived from these levies and taxes are what are used for capital projects and development.
A cross section of residents insist that if they could see or feel the local governments doing something, they would willingly pay taxes. They further allege that the monies they pay for business permits and the likes are cornered by a few and diverted to private pockets. They however did not provide proof to back up their allegations.
According to the chairman of Ogundele Estate phase 2 in Igbo-Olomu located in Ikorodu West, Mr Abayomi Okeowo, he said they neither have a chairman nor do they feel they were part of the local government or the state. Okeowo says their estate has not had light for months now and their roads were extremely bad.