For a long time, residents of Arepo in Obafemi/Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State were having harrowing experience commuting to and from the community as a result of the terrible state of the Arepo Journalists Estate Road, linking the area with the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. A journey of about five minutes could take as much as 20 minutes, especially when it rains.
Many residents had to move out of the community back to Lagos, waiting for the day the road would be done. The administration of Ibikunle Amosun raised the hope of residents when in 2012, he awarded contract for the less than 2.35 kilometers road to First August. But, for years, the only thing visible was the sign board conspicuously erected announcing the award. That government never did anything throughout its eight years in office, despite various efforts made to get the attention of government officials.
Tired of waiting, the residents took up the gauntlet and decided to do something. Donations were collected and apart from regular palliatives, a decision was taken to embark on some long lasting measures. This saw to the laying of interlocking blocks at some strategically bad spots as the first phase of a long winding project that was projected to cost the community hundreds of millions of naira.
Succour came at last. It came when the little money available for the road project had been exhausted and requests made for more donation didn’t achieve the desired results.
Governor Dapo Abiodun made the strategic intervention to reconstruct the road to the delight of the community in fulfilment of his campaign promise to the people. The governor has, on many occasions, said his administration would not promise what it could not be able to fulfill, but would fulfill all its promises. He has sound it anywhere he goes that his administration is not the type that promise to “do all”, but ended up doing nothing. And so he was delighted that the promise he made to the people when he came to campaigned in the area in the run-off to the 2019 governorship election, he has been fulfilled.
On Monday, 14th November, 2022, all roads led to Arepo. The occasion was the commissioning of what one would perhaps called a world class road with the complement of street lights, pedestrian walkway and many other roads infrastructure like road signs.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Governor Abiodun described the road project as a remarkable one owing to the fact that it had been in a deplorable condition for a long time.
He was of the view that genuine development should be people-oriented and that the road would serve people in no fewer than 42 communities in Obafemi-Owode Local Government.
Going back memory lane, Governor Abiodun recalled the promise he made during the electioneering towards the 2019 general election to fix the road if he was elected governor. He expressed delight that Arepo road which had been in a bad state for years has finally been reconstructed.
What makes this road unique is that it is constructed with interlocking stones because of its swampy nature. Other features on the road are walkway, street lights and good drainage system, that had been fixed to make it durable and bring out its aesthetics.
Abiodun noted that the new road would reduce travel time, stress and vehicle maintenance of the residents of Arepo and its environs and used the occasion to declared that his administration would continue fixing internal and external roads in the state, with a view to improving the socio-economic well-being of the people.
His administration, according to Abiodun is committed to the provision of good governance in the state and noted that the completion of the road is a demonstration of his administration’s appreciation for the support given by the people of Arepo community to his administration.
The governor added that the state government under his watch has, apart from the Arepo road, embarked on the construction of all arterial roads linking Ogun with Lagos State, emphasizing that his administration is determined to raise the bar in road construction in years to come.
“We are determined to raise the bar in road construction in few years to come. Our administration has constructed most roads in Ogun Central, we will continue to look after the welfare of our people. We are determined to be fair and participatory; we will not develop a section of the state at the expense of others.
“I want to assure you that we will complete all the uncompleted projects embarked upon by our predecessor in office, which have direct positive socio-economic well-being of our people, and we will continue to make life better for the people,” Abiodun said.
The governor called on the residents of the community to make the best use of the road by taking ownership of the facility, urging the youth not to be allowed to be used by unscrupulous politicians before, during and after the conduct of the 2023 general elections.
Olu of Arepo, Oba Solomon Atanda Oyebi, said the road project would perhaps be the first of its kind in the community from any administration. Oyebi recalled the daily complaints he received from his subjects due to the bad state of the road.
“I thank my able governor for fulfilling his electoral promises by fixing the road which brought untold hardship to my people in the past,” he said.
Former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, Mrs Funke Fadugba said: “The newly reconstructed journalists Estate Road, Arepo, by Prince Dapo Abiodun is indeed a promise kept. The road which hitherto was a pain in the neck for Arepo residents and journalists, many of whom reside in the community is world class. The governor has lived up to expectations of the people as a promise keeper.
“He is a leader we can trust unlike the predecessor who for good eight years deceived us with a promise to fix the road but reneged. Governor Abiodun has further confirmed the fact that he is a governor of example. With the road, Arepo has become the little London, accommodating large concentration of media houses, Arepo community warehouses more media houses and media practitioners than any community in Nigeria.”
Chairman, Journalists Estate Residents Development Association (JERDA), Phase 1, Barrister Jide Oke said: “The road is a testimony of the can do spirit of the Dapo Abiodun administration in Ogun State. He came to Arepo and promised that the road shall be delivered within a year and much to the surprise of the cynics and the doubting Thomases he delivered within the record time.”
Chairman of the Community Development Council (CDA), Ganiyu Kazeem, noted the efforts of the community to put the road in good shape by pulling resources together, adding that this, however, was a daunting task.
He added that the frustration of having to contend with a deplorable road that had diverse effects on vehicles and of course the pockets of residents led some to move out of the area.
According to the CDA chairman, things have changed now with the remarkable performance of Governor Abiodun. Governor Abiodun also made a stopover at the Journalists Estate Phase 1 where he unpacked another bag of goodies for the residents.
After listening to other requests by Mrs. Fadugba, who spoke on behalf of the estate, the governor promised a world class Primary Healthcare Centre to take care of the health needs of the people. The health centre the governor assured, would be completed in the next four months.
The governor also directed his Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ade Akinsanya to carry out quantity survey of the Civic Centre under construction in the estate to enable government know how much is needed to complete the project. Its completion was one of the request made by journalists.
It was indeed a joyous occasion for residents and in particular, journalists living in Arepo town. They showed their appreciation to the governor through their speeches, dancing steps and gifts.
Bakare wrote this piece through firstname.lastname@example.org