An Appeal to FG to Fix Okun Road

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In 1975 the Ilorin–Egbe-Kabba-Lokoja road was awarded to foreign contractor, Dumez. That was the only Federal road Trunk A13 that runs from Ilorin through Egbe, Kabba to Lokoja to form the interstate road. Today, this highway has become a disaster, and now qualifies to be filmed in the world’s most dangerously abandoned and decrepit road.

It is shameful to say that there is a government in ‘Modern day’ Nigeria that is responsible for the infrastructural development 61 years after independence. One now begins to wonder whether we practice democracy or kleptocracy. This is one question the caliber of people that are currently in office since 2015 needs to provide the answer.

Seeing the rot and decay all around, one will assume that despite all the borrowing from the World Bank, some of it would have been used to fix our roads to world’s standard that is comparable to the Western World.

All anyone can see are loquacious Senators, Reps and Governors canvassing for the next election without commissioning any social projects since 2015.

So, none of the borrowed money was used for any infrastructural development in Okunland?

What is going on? We pay our taxes like others; yet nothing of federal presence except this broken-down road.

This writer wrote an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari ln 2015, to embark on massive road construction as a way of combating massive unemployment problem.

When Mr. Babatunde Fashola was appointed as Federal Minister of works, the writer was highly elated because of his successful accomplishments in Lagos as the Governor. He was expecting him to be different from other Federal ministers of works since 1999. He was expecting improvement on massive road network transformation of international standard. Particularly the interstate Trunk A-13, from Ilorin – Egbe-Kabba-Lokoja that still remains as it was since 1975.

That road is the only Federal land mark in Okunland that makes it all important. It is pathetic to know that as educated as the Okuns are, there is no Federal, State institutions or investments in Okunland.

The Trunk A-13 road has some more serious implications for the Nigerian government as a major highway to Abuja.

There is international project going on at Egbe Hospital, which requires shipment of heavy freights to be moved from the United States to Egbe. These include heavy laboratory equipment, tractors, containers and personnel staff.

These form the back bone of the Revitalization Project that is currently going on at the hospital in Egbe. That involves personnel all over the world but particularly from the United States. They include teams of Doctors, Engineers, Missionaries, Visitors and medical students.

Egbe Hospital was rated as one of the best in Nigeria in the 60s. It helped in the delivery of the now late Prophet T.B. Joshua as a baby in 1963, after spending 15 months in her mother’s womb (as documented in his memoire).

There is a conscious attempt to maintain and bring back the old glory; and make it an American standard hospital in Nigeria.

If you are curious about the revitalization you can check their website Egbe Hospital Revitalization.

There are other projects in Egbe, Isanlu, Jege and other parts of Okunland that are been supported from the USA. As it is right now, the Americans, God bless them, have supplied the equipment, the personnel that will install and provide training, all at their own expense to serve Nigerians.

As one would expect that 61 years after independence, Nigeria, the giant of Africa should be able to construct and maintain a basic road network of high standard all across the country. There was enough revenue from oil and other
resources that should build strong infrastructure for the country, particularly after 61 years.

The trunk A-13 should have been dualized long time ago because of heavy traffic but it remains an eyesore and embarrassment to Nigeria and Nigerians both home and abroad.

As I write, the road is virtually closed to traffic because of a complete dilapidation and wreckage to the extent that road users had to abandon their vehicles that were stuck in the mud.

Passengers have to abandon their vehicle to avoid making themselves sitting ducks for the kidnappers. They have temporarily abandoned the road. And yet this is an oil rich nation!

The lack of good road network to Egbe is calling for the development of the Airstrip that was built in 1978, and once used by General Olusegun Obasanjo for the national farewell tour to Egbe during his final days in office as Head of
State, into an Airport.

The call for development of the airstrip into an Airport is gaining currency which is now undertaken by another foreign agency. This has become necessary because of the expatriate travelers from US that are billed to visit Nigeria soon.

All attempts should be made to shield the expatriates and missionaries from kidnappers or any danger; God forbids.

Those coming through Lagos or Abuja to Egbe have been advised against using the road. People have been warned against using the road because of its bad condition that is fast turning the area into Kidnappers’ den.

Little wonder the Governor and other VIPs have abandoned the road to Egbe.

Egbe is really an important, critical town in Okunland; it is a junction town and a border town to Kwara, Ekiti and to some extent Niger states.

Truck A-13 provides the only link to the outside world for the Okuns. This is the only highway that runs through the underbelly of the Okun people.

Highway infrastructure is so important to development of the nation’s economy. A massive investment into roads construction is a panacea to the nation’s unemployment and its concomitant problems.

Such problem as kidnapping, robberies, joblessness will be reduced because many of them will be absorbed into massive construction scheme. Money will be in circulation as workers get paid bi-weekly. There will be more ripple economic activities in the housing, transportation, and food sectors in the area.

To be continued……

– Dr Tony Fagbemi writes from USA.

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