“Ikorodu has no road, right from time immemorial, the whole of Ikorodu,” said a friend the other day while taking a ride together in his car, meandering the chopped part of the road as the car consistently kept taking hiccups that one will think the road was the one riding us.
For years being in Ikorodu, that statement cannot be truer that it shocks to see the people themselves having taken it as a norm to have bad roads and live with it as their fate.
No denying, there is the threat of insecurity pelting the city, but yet the people are equally faced with another demon in the regalia of bad roads not trumpeted as that of insecurity.
I took a trip down to the Agbede area of the city this past week. It has been a while I had been at the area, so coming over there to see a poorer state of the road took me by surprise, and added to the layer of validating such as the blanket narrative of all Ikorodu communities.
“That is how it is. This one is even better. If you had come in yesterday or the day before, you would have met worse. The government have refused to come to our aid. Every day, we, bikemen, have to pass through this river called roads just to get to our destinations,” said the bikerider whose bike I boarded.
While a bad road network might be a lesser of two evils to live with, especially when the other is insecurity, the consequential impacts it unfurls are far-reaching.
But as the saying goes that sometimes familiarity with a fiend makes a fiend a friend, the Ikorodu community and its perceived laxity on fixing the almost unpassable roads in the hinterlands of the city is one very disturbing.
The city whines ceaselessly of low economic activities. You can’t practically divorce economy from transportation, can you? They are intertwined and if the latter is dilapidated, you sure expect the economy to have commensurate effect.
Let’s even talk about the workers who have to leave the suburbs of their community and make their way to their places of work in far-flung areas like the Island.
If you live in Ikorodu like I do, a lot of these workers don’t come home to their family every day after the close of work because of the bad roads and what it portends for their vehicles and health.
They would rather put off their coming to the weekend or the end of the month to avert episodical bashings to their cars and cyclical blows to their health.
The raining season is upon us, and things are not shaping up as you would rightly predict.
The decrepit roads are now degenerating into what borders on graver dangers to inhabitants’ health and red alerts to businesses around the city.
I will barefaced be among the very few who don’t think this should be a fate as many has resigned to.
Ikorodu has unfortunately become a synonym for every thing negative about neighbourhood. Its image in the eyes of the outside public is embarassing but not beyond irredeemable, it must be emphasized.
Silence and acceptance as quite pervasive in the community will only further be complicit to take it down the abyss, and if not careful, make it inhabitable.
The question, at this point in time, is: what are the community leaders, the LDC, the LCDA chairmen, the private sectors, the religious groups and other stakeholders doing to right this long-drawn-out wrong in the community?
Let’s not be quick to forget that the community houses a state university: Lagos State University of Science and Technology among other landmark institutions in the private and public sector, and yet it suffers excruciatingly from bad roads.
It is high time its acclaimed supremacy as volumed in its much vaunted slogan, “Ikorodu Oga” come to be put to work and not just in rhetorics. And the truth remains that no one is going to come to our rescue except we first come to acknowledge this as a problem and then take it up collectively as a responsibility to impinge lasting solution to it.
Fortunately, it is yet another election season, and the politicians will be out again to court your votes. They go a long way in seeing this narrative changed, and you matter emphatically in helping them actualize it.
But when we keep silent about our pains or shrink from demanding it for fear of losing low-hanging fruits coveted, then history has taught us countless times that they assume it is bliss for you and that they are meeting your needs, so you have no ground to call them out but left to face your hoarded brunts alone.
If security comes top of the list you demand from your elected representatives, then road needs to follow up strongly as another four years of enduring the plight does not bode well in any light for the community.
Politicians themselves need to understand that governance goes beyond stylish and starched “agbadas” and endless and drab meetings, but results that touch the lives of the people they should be committed to putting smiles on their faces. If security and road network be fixed in Ikorodu, I bet you, Ikorodu will be the new toast of Lagos.