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Monday , 21 May 2018

AJEGUNLE AND AMBODE’S DISCRIMINATORY LEADERSHIP STYLE? By Ikenna Asomba

By May 29, 2018, some 90 days from now, our amiable and very distinguished Executive Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, would have spent three years in office.

As a resident of Lagos, I must religiously say that the performance of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode as it concerns the general governance in the Centre of Excellence, Lagos, has been averagely inspiring but daunting.

Governor Ambode, has no doubt trailed the developmental path of former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola, particularly with his Legacy projects such as the New Oshodi Transport Interchange, a Legacy Project aimed at redesigning the traffic flow, as well as transforming the aesthetics of the area with iconic infrastructure; and also the use of the Lagos Local Government Areas, LGA Funds to further open the inner-city access roads in Lagos communities.

I must commend Governor Ambode for using the Local Government Funds, to build solid and standard inter-locked roads, with kerbs, pedestrian walk-ways and street lights across the 20 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 37 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs). These roads have no doubt contributed immensely to further opening Lagos. However, a lot more still need to be done.

In 2015, Governor Ambode used the Local Government Areas Funds to build 114 roads across the 57 Council Areas- two roads in each of the council areas. These landmark legacy projects were completed and commissioned in August 2016.

Perhaps for paucity of funds caused by the economic recession which hit Nigeria in 2016, the expected 2016 phase of the annual roads project couldn’t be achieved in 2017.

So, this 2018, it is commendable that work is about to commence across the 57 Council Areas, as 181 inner-city access roads across the council areas of the state are under-way.

AJEGUNLE IN FOCUS

Ajegunle is the popular ghetto area in Lagos State with over 946, 400 residents, second to Alimosho LGA with 1, 817, 200 residents.

Ajegunle houses the Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area and major parts of the Ifelodun Local Council Development Area.

Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, had once described Ajegunle as the melting point of Nigeria. Reason: Ajegunle is a community that is made up of almost all the ethnic groups in Nigeria. There is barely any ethnic group or tribe that is not resident in Ajegunle.

Despite this melting point feature, residents here have remained largely peaceful and co-existing without tribal or ethnic clashes for many years. Not even the OPC/Ijaw or the OPC/Hausa clashes of those hey days were able to tear apart the peaceful cohabitation of the various ethnic nationalities in Ajegunle. Kudos must be given to the people, as well as the successive leaderships of the Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGA and Ifelodun LCDA for this lasting peace in Ajegunle.

A WAKE UP CALL FOR AMBODE

Be that as it may, it has become very imperative to draw the attention of His Excellency Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to what many a residents have described as his Discriminatory Style of Leadership against the people of Ajegunle (Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGA and Ifelodun LCDA), particularly in terms of appointments and road projects siting.

I have religiously followed the politics of appointments and siting of projects in Lagos State, particularly on the issue of roads construction, I must say that the Lagos State Government under the leadership of Governor Ambode has not favoured the good people of Ajegunle.

Since coming on board on May 29, 2015, no single road has been built by the state government in Ajegunle. The four roads built in Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGA and Ifelodun LCDA respectively were built with the Local Council Funds under the control of the State Government. I stand to be corrected. If these funds are under the firm control of the Local Council Government, with close supervision by the state government, I am certain more than four roads would have been built since 2015.

Since 2015, the four roads that have been built in Ajegunle with the Local Council funds under the control of the state government are: Molade and Temidire Streets (Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGA); Iludun Street, Amukoko and Itire Road, Alaba-Oro (Ifelodun LCDA). I reiterate, no road has been built by the State Government with its own funds.

On the other hand, among the 181 Roads under-way, to be facilitated with the Local Council funds, the two council areas in Ajegunle were allocated two roads each. They are: Uzor and Akogun Streets in (Ajeromi-Ifelodun LGA) and Adekoya/Owoyemi and Adejiyan Streets in (Ifelodun LCDA). This is even as most council areas were allocated three roads each.

On appointments, in 2015, nobody from Ajegunle was deemed fit to be appointed a Commissioner by Governor Ambode. Not even Special Adviser was deemed fit for anyone from Ajegunle.

Again, there was reshuffling of his cabinet in January 2018, nobody was deemed fit to be appointed Commissioner in Ajegunle. Even Special Adviser, nobody from Ajegunle was deemed fit to be appointed. This is ridiculous.

It is also expedient to recall that in the 8 years administration of former Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola- May 29, 2007- May 29, 2015,
just three major road projects were sited in Ajegunle by the administration.

They were the 0.265km dualization of the Alaba/Cemetary Road awarded to Banci Nigeria Limited and the construction of 1.210km Rotimi-Okulaja-Koripamo-Sholade-Salimonu Bakare Streets, awarded to Lopek Engineering & Construction Limited.

One of the two projects which were ongoing but stalled owing to inadequate funds as at when Fashola left office was the construction of 1.1km Ojoku-Ohuntan Streets awarded to Rojo Engineering & Construction Limited. It is completed now.

Unfortunately, the Grading and Surface Dressing done on the 0.8km Onishapa-Akogun Streets awarded to Wallways Tech Limited had since been washed away by flood, as the street is now impassable to the chagrin of pedestrians and motorists alike.

The Akogun Street has been re-awarded again. Perhaps, when completed, its residents can heave a sigh of relief.

Dear Governor Akinwunmi Ambode Ajegunle community has over 400 streets not tarred since the existence of the community.

These streets and roads also lack proper drainage channels, medians, walk-ways and street lights, unlike their counterparts in communities such as Surulere, Lagos Mainland, Apapa and Lagos which had the highest number of completed road projects under the last administration.

According to statistics from the Lagos State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, the last administration in eight years, completed 229 new roads amounting to 118.159km, as well as did Grading and Surface Dressing on 80 roads amounting to 46.191km.

Ongoing road projects at the twilight of Fashola’s administration were 201 amounting to 237.771km, while there was Grading and Surface Dressing on 71 roads amounting to 76.740km.

In Fashola’s eight years, unlike Ajegunle, top beneficiaries of completed and ongoing road projects according to a summary by the works ministry were: Alimosho- completed (31) ongoing (16); Lagos Mainland- completed (29) ongoing (3); Surulere- completed (26) ongoing (37); Kosofe- completed (25) ongoing (29); Ifako Ijaiye- completed (22) ongoing (13); Mushin- completed (20) ongoing (3); Ikorodu- completed (17) ongoing (8).

Pathetically, Ajegunle, comprising wo council areas got a paltry 3 Roads in 8 years.

From investigations, it is said that the Lagos State Government jettisons Ajegunle in its road infrastructure plan because the residents don’t massively vote for the ruling party in the State.

Assuming this is true, one wonders if Ajegunle is not part of Lagos. One wonders if the State Government don’t collect tax from residents here. One wonders if what took place during elections should be used to determine the amount of projects to be attracted to Ajegunle.

Against the backdrop of inequality in the siting of road projects, I join millions of other residents in Ajegunle to call on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, to urgently declare a state of emergency on roads in Ajegunle community.

It is imperative to remind Governor Ambode of one of his campaign promises, during a Town Hall meeting at Eagle Club, Surulere, to build 5,000 roads in four years, if elected. May 29, 2019 is just some 15 months from now, can Ambode meet up with the fulfillment of these 5,000 roads?

Dear Governor Ambode, the four major roads in Ajegunle community are riddled with pot-holes, shallow drainage channels, lack of median, walk-ways and no street-lights. The deplorable state of these roads cause excruciating pains to motorists, motorcyclists and tricyclists. The four major roads are: Boundary-Aiyetoro-Ojo Road-Alaba Suru; Boundary-Baale-Mba-Cardoso-Otto Woff; Boundary-Tolu-Kirikiri-Berger Suya and Ojoku-Idewu-Industrial Avenue.

Please, enough of the excuses that some of these roads are Federal Government Trunk Roads.

Governor Ambode must not wait for the Federal Government to fix these roads to standard. I trust his verified capacity in building standard roads. Lagos is a pacesetter state when it comes to building standard roads with good drainage channels, walk-ways, kerbs, median and street-lights.

As 2018 ticks, and ahead of the 2019 Governorship election in Lagos State, I am certain that Governor Ambode would be re-elected for a Second Term, to consolidate on his legacy projects.

Going forward, these are some of the deplorable roads Governor Ambode should fix to put smiles on the faces of Ajegunle residents. These roads are important inner-city access roads. They include but not limited to: Ekundayo, Osho Drive, Kekere Ogun, Okito, Uzor (underway), Akerele, Omowunmi, Chidi, Dada Onijama, Odudu, James Igbe, Ashafa, Oluwa, Mensah, Baba Sule, Akimbo, Taiwo, Wowo, Temidire, Adeolu, Apena, Apikirin, Isikalu, Silver, Ugbewankwo, Okorogbo, Akatapko, Abukuru, Babani, Goriola, Rashidi, Ladipo, Otuniyo, Ezeagu, Adekeye, Ligali, Aiyenero, Mosalashi, Olowosu, Ladega, Akogun (under-way), Ibafon, Emodi, Fasasi, Kudaisi, Alhaji Adebola, Bolaji Oloro, Jones Waribi and Jejeliaye.

Others are Togunde Igbaja, Sadiku, Trinity Close, Dele Bakare, Abiola Oluwa, Alhaji Kareem Akande, Kola Akin-Tepede Close, Cemetery Road, Palace Road, George, New Creature Avenue, Arowo Iyabuno, Iyakudima Lane, Chuka Ben Avenue, Adetola Lane, Chief Titus Ufondu, Ben Onyeka, Ola Badmus, Deliverance, Barr. Ahmed Musa, Odofin Akinsanya, Raufu Olaiya, Abiodun, Queen, Otakoya, Olowa, Emmanuel Avenue, John Okorie, Ishaga among others.

No doubt, Ajegunle is still a sprawling slum and ghetto city. If Governor Akinwunmi Ambode declares a state of emergency on inner-city roads in Ajegunle, the residents here would have no option but to give his party their massive votes and support at subsequent elections. The Discriminatory Style of Leadership would thus be a thing of the past. For one good turn deserves another.

Going forward, when these road projects are done, the Council Administration should take charge in its maintenance. A situation where slight pot-holes on roads are allowed to degenerate should seize. This is corruption. Also, a situation where residents litter refuse on these roads, channel their wastes on these roads should stop.

This is my one penny advice to His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, if his party is to further make in-roads, with ease in Ajegunle.

Ikenna Asomba is a Social Commentator.

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