Inauguration of road leading to Abusoro in Akure, the Ondo State capital by Governor Oluwarotimi Akerediolu has rekindled the hope of people living in rustic areas of the Sunshine State, reports BABATOPE OKEOWO
For the family of Femi Ayeni, a civil servant in Ondo State, selling the family house at Abusoro area of Akure was a painful decision. Since the house was built a few years ago, the amount spent on the family vehicle because of the impassable road was enough to buy a new one.
Apart from the fact that commercial vehicles refused to ply the road because of its poor state, the commercial motorcycles popularly called okada who plied the road charge exorbitant fees. Having weighed the option of remaining in the area and buying a new car which would soon be damaged, the Ayeni family decided to sell the house and relocate to another part of the town. Apart from Ayeni’s family, some people in the neighbourhood were considering the options of either buying new cars or relocating.
The pains that Ayeni and other residents of the community go through daily had become unbearable. Abusoro, one of the new areas springing up in Akure, the state capital, is an ideal place for people who want a quiet life devoid of hustle and bustle of the town.
But the road leading to the community was the major discouragement to the people seeking serene and quiet life. One year after taking the painful decision of selling his house, Ayeni is again reconsidering his action. The once rough terrain and bad roads have given way to a beautiful road, with modern drainage system, which Ayeni never imagined were possible. The story is similar to those of 46-yearold Bankole Emiloju and his neighbour, Akintayo Omisuyi.
The two men were full of excitement recently when they noticed that their prayers and those of other residents for good roads had been answered. For years, the community among others in the state appeared to have been neglected by successful governments as its roads have become impassable for motorists and other users. The residents, many of who could not bear the damage the poor state of the road had done to their cars, have relocated elsewhere. Many businesses were also affected.
The hope of ever seeing their roads wearing a new and better look was dim. But excitement replaced the dim hope recently when heavy equipment were mobilised on the instructions of Governor Oluwarotimi Akerediolu fondly called Aketi to construct the neglected Abusoro roads and others.
Expectedly, Emiloju and Omisuyi were excited as tractors and heavy machines arrived at Abusoro to commence the construction of the road. Abusoro, located off the popular Ijoka Road in the capital city, was witnessing a major road and drainage construction for the first time in its history.
And it was obvious that the people would roll out the drums to celebrate the ‘history-making’ event. “I am very happy. Now, the rains will no longer disturb us, because the new drainage will carry the rainwater away,” said 25-year-old Temitope Ajayi as he jumped with excitement. Pa Adetipe Abraham, a community leader, said the people were happy about the construction of the road.
He praised Akeredolu for coming to the rescue of the people, but charged government to quickly check the erosion that is eating up the landscape of the community. He expressed joy that the area was witnessing a good turn-around in its fortunes in his lifetime. “I am so happy that I really don’t know how to express myself for now. I must confess that I didn’t expect this road to be constructed in my lifetime.”
The story was the same for Pa Rufus Adetimilehin. The octogenarian moved to the area about 11 years ago after he completed the construction of his one-storey building. For the more than one decade that the retired civil servant had spent at Abusoro, life has been everything but sweet. “I have lived in this place for more than 10 years.
As a matter of fact, I moved in about 11 years ago after I built my house. Since that time, we have always lived as a people that have been forgotten by government,” he said with a bright smile on his face. For good reasons, Adetimilehin and other residents of the area did not believe that the road leading to their neighbourhood would ever be graded, let alone be tarred. “We have heard many stories about the government coming to construct our road in the past, with all of them turning out to be false.
That the reason that we all didn’t believe when we were told that the road was to be constructed,” he added. But with the road construction nearing completion, the people of Abusoro and the several adjoining streets can begin to dream again. Businesses and other commercial activities are expected to pick up at Abusoro with the construction of the road network.
In the centre of the capital city of Akure, the residents of Iwalewa community, off Hospital Road, are at the moment over the moons, with the commencement of the construction of the community’s road. A resident, who identified himself simply as Pa Omotosho, spoke with journalists.
“All the people in this community are happy with our governor for ensuring that this road is put in good shape. You can ask anybody around here, we are all praying for him and asking God to prosper him,” Omotosho said. Interestingly, the joy of a better life is not restricted to the people of Abusoro and Iwalewa communities.
The people of Bajare Road, in the Okeayo zone of Idanre and its environs, are also rejoicing. Though construction work on the road has just kicked off, the people, old and young, trooped out to welcome the inspection team of government projects when it visited the site. It is not surprising that Idanre, the beautiful hilly town that enthralled Nigeria’s Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, into penning a wonderful poem, aptly titled Idanre Hills, would be one of the towns to receive the Aketi touch.
Tinder Akinsoye, a stalwart of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Idanre, could not hide his excitement as he joined the crowd to heap praises on Akeredolu for rekindling what he described as the ‘lost hope’ of the people. Akinsoye expressed satisfaction with the decision of the governor to spread development across the 18 local government areas of the state.
“Despite the fact that I belong to the opposition party in the state, the truth is that I am very happy with the decisions the governor has taken so far. For instance, unlike other governors in the country who would spend precious time to rubbish whatever their predecessors had one, whether good or bad, he has concentrated his efforts on the job that he is elected to do.
That, for me, is maturity and good understanding of what governance means,” he added. Another resident of Idanre, Damilola Akinsuyi, said with the construction of the road, economic activities would pick in the town. According to him, with the commencement of construction of the road, commercial activities are already picking up.
“Even before the construction is finished, commercial activities on Bajare Road and other adjoining streets have already picked up. You can imagine what will happen by the time the job is completed,” Akinsuyi said with excitement. With Akeredolu’s promise to ensure equity and fair play in the distribution of social amenities and other developmental projects across the state, construction of roads, all aimed at opening up the state to better economic activities, are currently ongoing in the three senatorial zones of the state.
In the northern senatorial district, Ogbomo/ Igbadara Street and Howlet Lane, both in Ifon, are already wearing new looks. Jubilee Road-Ugbe Junction, Ikare, in the same senatorial district, is not left out of the effort of the government to ensure that every part of the state is opened up to equal economic activities, with the promise of better things to come for the people. The people of Ese-Odo in the southern senatorial district are also joined in the current shouts for joy by the people of the state.
Apart from government’s partnership with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to construct a road to link Araromi in Ondo State with the Lekki-Akodo area of Lagos State, government has also started work on the Sabomi Road in the area.
In his inauguration speech, Akeredolu said he had seen the deplorable condition of the people and promised to make a difference. With the construction works nearing completion in most of the areas, it is generally expected that a fresh breath of life would appear in the economic activities of the people, with great expectations that soon, other parts of the state will begin to reap from the determination of the present administration to put Ondo State back into global reckoning, as the pride of the nation.