OPINION: An Appeal to Gov. AbdulRazaq on Ilorin Roads. By Abubakar Imam

Date: 2020-06-16

Driving, which ordinarily should be a pleasurable experience, is gradually turning into a nightmare for motorists in Ilorin. The problem that was previously peculiar to the indigenous segments of Ilorin, has now become "karile" (a common feature) across the length and breadth of the capital city of Kwara State, particularly since the beginning of the raining season.

Let me, however, say that if not that governance is a continuum; and that the current Chief Executive of the State is an amiable, unassuming and listening leader, yours sincerely would have kept mute on the matter. But the fact that he who keeps an unexpressed impression to himself remains depressed (bi eniyan ba dake ti ara re a ba dake) necessitated this appeal, which I hope will, as usual, receive the urgent attention of His Excellency.

But I must quickly apologise to the government of Kwara State and its numerous friends, for repeating this appeal here. This is because I initially did penultimate Friday(May 29,2020) while reacting to the excellent communications on "the state of the State" by my brother, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, the hardworking Chief Press Secretary to the Executive Governor of Kwara State, with which he reviewed the performances of his principal in the last one year. I must put on record that the swift response I got from the CPS was very captivating and a clear departure to the negligence of citizens' complaints.

This attempt here again should, therefore, not be seen as unbecoming of an overzealous resident but a clarion call on the government to come to the aid of its citizens who have no choice than to ply those roads that are becoming more terrible following the commencement of rain. This intervention should also be appreciated in the rich expression of the Yoruba that "isu a tenu mon oro ki jona" and the fact that the limited resources available to the State Government are being competed for by so many demands of governance.

This piece is also meant to remind those who are working with His Excellency to use the opportunity of Democracy Day, being celebrated for the first time today, June 12, 2020, to ponder on what can be quickly done to address this significant infrastructural challenge that is causing enormous economic waste as well as "social and environmental discomfort" for residents.

Roads are a very important aspect of development in any polity. Apart from their economic values, they are also the first thing a visitor to the State would use in assessing the quality of governance obtainable there-in.

I live and work in Ilorin. I have never been outside the city for more than a week in the last two decades. I have a great stake in Kwara State. I desire its success because it is not only my "State of Origin" but also my "State of Residence".

I am, therefore, conscious of the fact that the general bad nature of our roads is a "social trap" set against us by those who have been privileged to govern the State in the last two decades. The quality of the roads built across Ilorin since the commencement of the on-going democratic dispensation is generally appalling and devoid of God's consciousness by the officials and contractors involved. They were also helped by the benefiting communities, which refused to insist on the best for reasons not far-fetched; they do not want to be regarded as the "enemies" of the government of the day.

I can say without any fear of contradiction that, to the best of my knowledge, the most durable road constructed in Ilorin since 1999 is the Sakele Street in the Pakata area of the city, which was constructed in 2003. For those who are not too familiar with the geography of Ilorin, the "exemplary road" connects the popular Pakata Roundabout with Alfa Yahaya area through the ancestral home of the famous Ilorin-based Fuji artist, Adisa Owala .A drive through the road would convince whoever cares, to put my claim to test, that it was perfectly done and that it is still not comparable with any other done during the last two decades. If my assertion is verified, I suggest that subsequent road contractors should be taken to the place for them to use the road as the benchmark of their jobs.

As I wish and pray to see an end to the suffering of numerous road-users on our roads as swiftly as possible, I am particularly seeking the indulgence of all to permit me to restate my appeal to the government of Kwara State to see to the rehabilitation of the Oke-Foma Road in the Pakata area of Ilorin. Yet, the Governor deserves the commendations of the users of the road for swiftly ensuring the construction of the collapsed bridge, which his administration inherited. But the non-fixing of the portions leading to the bridge from the two sides does not justify the huge resources expended on the facility.

While I urge His Excellency to quickly ensure that our roads are fixed to avoid further economic waste and avoidable accidents, I appeal to him to ensure that the roads currently being constructed are done in such a way that they will stand the test of time. If those constructed by the military and the rested Petroleum Special Trust Fund(PTF) are still being used without many failures, I don't see any reason the so-called new roads often show signs of weakness a few weeks after commissioning.

Imam is the Secretary, "Pakata Patriots", Ilorin.



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