Since the beginning of the private initiative by some stakeholders in Oke -Odo/Matogbun, to repair the abandoned Oke-Aro/Matogbun Road in the border town of Ogun and Lagos states, Mr.Oladele olufemi Tanimola, a school proprietor contributed more than his financial resources to lead the other volunteers to fix the road. Wheather in the rain or sun, he is always been on his feet deploying men and resources to ensure that this abandoned road by previous administrations is motorable while the team has had financial and moral support from commuters and residents in the area, the reverse has been the case with owners of business along the route especially the Pig farm owned by the Lagos State Government.
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In another instance, commercial vehicles operators and tricycle riders (Okada) who pliy the two kilometres road compound the problem by refusing to pay the tolls introduced three weeks ago to raise funds for its daily maintenance, which is the goal of the volunteer Team of stakeholders in the sprawling communities that have not known government presence in the past 16 years.
Tamimowo spoke on the efforts and frustration of the team with Newdawn weekend.
How would you describe the response of road users to the tolling you introduced three weeks ago?
The response from private car owners have been tremendous and encouraging. Very positive.
Has the community and the commercial vehicle operators been cooperating in the payment of tolls?
Commercial operators initially cooperated in the first few days after the commencement of the tolling. However, after observing that we did not use force, they stopped responding and paying tolls altogether. Now, only a few of them respond and have kept faith with us and these are very few indeed. As for now, the compliance level is less than 5%.
Has there been a change in the attitude of the operators of the Pig farm especially with regard to refuse disposal and dumping of dead animals on the drainage?
The pig farmers have been most uncooperative and even insulting the volunteers trying to fix the road. Besides,the farm operators just drive by with windows of their vehicles up and treat us with disdain. Their truck drivers simply try to run us down. Only those known to us personally are cooperating. To compound the situation,the hired hands from the farm regularly throw human feces from inside the farm unto the area behind the fence. They also dig out loose sand from the road. I caught some of them and reported them. It is very sad that even the leadership is not responsive because one would have expected them to reach out to their host community to see what they can do. We evacuated the drainage behind their fence.
In short, I would describe their response to our efforts as zero, especially from their leadership . It is very sad indeed. So, there is no effort on their part as to waste disposal. Rather, they keep dumping pig carcasses in sacks. Let their presidents take a tour of this hell-hole they called farm. It is simply disgusting. And most of them don’t live in this area. The majority of them live in cleaner parts of lagos and Ogun states. It is deplorable to say the least.
Has there been any assistance from the local or state governments since the commencement of the project?
No assistance from either the local government or state yet.
What was the response of the private businesses and concerns in the area on the repair initiative
We have not approached private businesses yet. Only five private schools such as ISAAC NEWTON SCHOOLS, AL-AMANNAT SCHOOL, MONTCLAIR SCHOOL, FOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE and GOD’S POWER SCHOOL, have responded with handsome donations.
How far are you and other volunteers prepared to go on this road project?
I can assure you that the volunteers are prepared to continue working on this project until our network of roads are motorable all year round. Matogbun- Oke Aro Road project is just a model . This initiative will spread round Ifo Local Government Area and to the entire country because it is the only way we can free ourselves and our generation from over dependence on the government. The government cannot do it alone. Nigerians should have realised by now that the problem of bad roads cannot be solved by any government. Only the individuals in a community who feel the pinch of the social problem caused by the state of the road should act decisively and solve their own problem. This is our style of a sensible,peaceful and efficient Revolution.