By Adeola Aderounmu
In a number of my articles published in 2007 at various places on the internet I wrote about the Rise and Fall of Festac Town Parts 1 & 2.
I went to Festac 15th Dec 2010 and I am not ready to change my stories. Generally Governor Fashola has ensured that the presence of the Police on Lagos road is now more significant. Therefore even though there are still criminal activities in Lagos, they are not as rampant as they were in 2005/ 2006 when Tinubu was the alaye.
Festac therefore remains a relatively safe environment, a sort of enclave.
My observations about the management of Festac Town indicate that the Amuwo Odofin Local Council is a very unserious one. Several Roads in Festac are bad and un-motorable. Generally the roads in other parts of the local area are bad. I almost drove into a ditch near Oluti.
Fashola is not a magician and Lagosians need to be told that Local Governments also have responsibilities and obligations. I intend to write about this in another piece.
21 Road in Festac is a dead-end. In fact my car got spoilt just before Emem Hospital. The 2 valleys on that road were filled with water and it was impossible to know how deep the gullies were. I should have turned back. I was driving a friend whose son was on admission at the Hospital and I wanted to be nice to him. We went to see his wife and son-who was responding well to treatment.
When we got to 21/31 junction, I parked my car and my cousin did a routine check on the car. We managed to drive away in one bit.
21 Road is a disaster. The people of Festac should start asking for the contracts that have been awarded on roads in Festac in recent years. It is common knowledge that budgets are made annually to cater for construction and repair of roads. Where have the monies allocated for Festac roads disappeared to?
On 72 road just before you enter 721 approaching from 7th avenue, you will find a terribly deep gully. Pity I couldn’t take the pictures of that road. While approaching, you will be forced to stop because it looks like a bottomless pit. At the tip of the gully, you will then find out that it is possible to navigate down and up again. Does Amuwo Odofin have a local government chairman? Does he drive on Festac Roads? Oh my…!
On 24 Road approaching from 71 Road the story is the same. The roads are so bad they rank among the worst roads in the world. I have no doubts in my mind that Nigerian roads are among the worst roads in the world. That I would drive on such roads in my own locality in Festac Town is worrying.
On Christmas Day there was a terrible accident on 5th avenue. A salon Rover car collided with a HIACE bus near the A close end of 5th Avenue. One of the cars was avoiding a pot hole and the other one probably was claiming right of way. 5th Avenue is not a very bad road as such but the small pot hole was tangible enough to cause an accident.
Bad roads and careless driving makes a dangerous blend. This combination is partly responsible for the high accident rates and deaths on Nigerian roads.
I am impressed though that the Amuwo Odofin Local Government was able to save and preserve the stone field on 23 Road X close/ 5th Avenue H1 close. There is a fence around it now and competitions are organized regularly. Football and Basketball thrives still on that ground. For these I am glad.
It’s just still sad though that the general problems in Nigeria add twists to every story of disappointment. Lack of electricity, lack of pipe-borne water, dilapidation/near extinction of public schools and other social-economic problems add up to the problems of neglect by local authorities. Therefore people are living under hard and harsh conditions. Nigerians are suffering.
One of my former students just asked me: who will be the change? Well, we have been told to look into the mirror and be the change we want to see in the world. But when evil is more than good or when good is quiet as evil rises, the world cannot be a better place.
No one (except Jesus) has been reported to be capable of saving the world. If we do the right thing in our niches, we will build a viable ecosystem. We may not save the world, but we will make our world a better place for everyone.
The Amuwo Odofin Local Government Chairman and all the local legislators should rise up and live up to the promises they made to the residents of the area. Save Festac from total collapse!