Bad Federal Roads: Why refusing help when laden with ancestral burdens?

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Today marks a week of the horrendous tanker fire accident along the Lagos-Abeokuta road axis, an incident that brings to bare, one of the reverberating consequences bad roads may factor. While the incident may not outrightly be a product of bad road, many have linked the incident to nothing but an offshoot of deplorable road. This brings to light the connecting link that in every incident there are always causative factors, and in this case it might not be completely wrong to point-out the deplorable state of roads as one of the causative factors of the incident which claimed the lives of two persons who were reported to be couples, with properties worth millions lost to the inferno.

The Lagos-Abeokuta high-way is one of the Federal roads which severely are in terrible conditions across the Country. Accidents occurring daily along this route have become a nightmare which may always make commuters to link any untoward happening along the highway to bad road. It would be recalled that some weeks back NewsDirect reported the scene of gas flaring where potholes around the Joju area of the axis led to linkage of a gas-laden truck which brought  commercial activities in the area to a close. Immediately the linkage started, many commuters and traders fled in fear of their dear lives while an intense gridlock that lasted for hours took turn as firemen and security operatives battled to prevent fire outbreak.

Intense gridlock along the Lagos-Abeokuta highway has been a routine nightmare to commuters, with countless number of accidents and casualties recorded in the last six months.

The horrendous scenes of accidents that occurs along the route on daily basis leaves one with no option than to question the refusal of the Federal Government to release the highway to the Ogun State Government for repairs. The Lagos-Abeokuta highway is one among other federal roads the Governments of Ogun and Lagos States have been seeking the Federal Government’s approval for repairs which the later has denied a ceding despite increasing misfortunes occurring daily along the routes.

The Governors of Lagos and Ogun State had earlier in a visit coupled with a letter in August  to President Muhammadu Buhari requested the ceding of some federal roads in states of despair for repairs, a request the Federal Government has hitherto refuse to grant.

In addition to the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, other two federal roads the States are seeking to take over for repairs are Epe-Ijebu-Ode Road  and the Ikorodu-Sagamu Road. This roads are considered economically strategic as commercial routes that significantly links commercial centres in Ogun State to  Lagos. The economic significance of these routes is not at all near a matter of negligence the Federal Government should be playing politics with, given the economic value that accrue from both States to the Federal pulse. This is at the peril of the masses with the level of huge damages and losses the despairing condition of the roads have cost the Country at large in terms of human capital and economic sabotage.

Following the Lagos-Abeokuta express way  tanker explosion which claimed  lives and destroyed properties to the fear of many, Gov Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State had last Friday, once again appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government to handover the three federal roads he and his Lagos State counterpart, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, had earlier requested for a ceding for repairs and commercialisation.

The tanker explosion on the Lagos-Abeokuta Federal road had moved Gov Abiodun of Ogun State to emotion of tears, leading him to reverberate the need to have the roads transfered to the two states (Lagos and Ogun) so as to put an end to similar occurrences in future. It would be recalled that the fire services of both States had jointly combatted the inferno to a stop on Friday morning, hours after it began around 11:55pm Thursday night.

Lamenting the unfortunate scenario during a visit to the spot of the incident on Friday, Abiodun said, “I am most distressed by the news of the midnight inferno at the Sango toll gate, which was the result of an accident by a fuel-laden truck.

“It is heart breaking that many lives were lost in addition to properties running into millions of naira.

As a course of action, the Governor  reiterated its commitment to take over bad federal roads the Federal Government has refused to release for repairs.

His words in quotes States: “This sad occurrence has made our quest to take over the management of this road more compelling. The incessant road mishaps around the toll gate axis is avoidable.

“While I commiserate with those who lost their loved ones and property, we shall do everything humanly possible to forestall future recurrence.

“May I use this opportunity to once again plead that the Federal Government should approve the request of both the Ogun and Lagos State Governments to take this all-important Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta expressway over.

“Once the road is taken over, expedited action will be taken to immediately begin reconstruction, so that there may be easy movement of goods and person, and consequently, a reduction in the occurrence of accidents of this nature.”

It is intellectually known that every problematic situation requires  pragmatic and corresponding actions in solution. Such solution according to the surrounding circumstances may require the need to bend some primordial conditions to chart a way forward. Sticking therefore to such primordial traditions of archaic political gimmicks may not in any way help in the situation of worsened federal roads which might have received better ray of light if they had been ceded to State Governments for repairs and commercialisation as demanded by the Governors of Ogun and Lagos.

Doing this on federal roads in despairing state across the country  might not have led to the extent of degeneration the roads have suffered and the accompanying lives and economic losses. By effects, the bad state of federal roads have crippled interstate ease of doing business with huge economic losses, which  particularly has been a bane and a source of lamentation to local manufactures and farmers across the Country. The Federal Government should as a matter of urgency put its scorecards on the table, pull off its ego and consider modalities on bringing to front burner, how the proposals placed before it will work out.

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