Bad State of Sango-Ota Road: CDWR Supports Mass Protest of Workers, Youths and Community People
We Demand the Use of Public Works Department under Democratic Control of Workers and Communities for Public Projects
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) Ogun State chapter commends workers, youth and community people as well as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over different protests against the sorry state of Sango-Ota roads.
The 64 km Sango-Ota-Idiroko Road has been abandoned for long by both federal and Ogun state governments. It has become a nightmare to commuters plying that route, and communities and residents living along that axis. Due to total neglect, the road is so bad that a journey that would ordinarily not take more than 15 minutes, now requires much more time to accomplish, with associated loss of man hours and psychological trauma, now the daily experiences of the road users.
The Sango-Ota-Idiroko Road is just one of the many roads in deplorable conditions, littering the state, and urgently calling for the attentions of both the state and federal governments. Virtually all local governments across the state are bedeviled with one dilapidated road or another. From Ilese-Ondo road-Lagos garage-Obalende- Ikangba road, in Ijebu Ode/Odogbolu local governments, Olambe road in Ifo local government and many others, the story is the same!
The irony of it all is that the Dapo Abiodun-led APC government in an attempt to shields his lacklustre performance, ineptitude and total failure resulting from his anti-poor policies, has now turned building of road infrastructure and maintenance into a form of patronage. It’s not unusual, to hear the governor’s lapdogs, querying communities and residents demanding good road network, about the economic and political viability of such roads in their communities that make them deserve the attention of government to fix them?
This noxious and arrogant disposition of the Dapo Abioun government has given room to a situation where Residents, Communities and individuals are now the ones maintaining and fixing roads in their various areas to make them temporary usable! To make matters worse, the Ogun state government, has now tacitly ceded it responsibilities of building roads and maintaining it, to community groups under the aegis of Community Development Associations (CDAs), who have now become another “government” in their respective enclaves of influence, striving to fix roads minimally and levying residents in a self-help approach. The local governments across the state have equally failed to construct and maintain community roads, and blandly look the other way, while communities suffer and are condemned to self-help.
Added to this, the few road projects that are lucky to have the attention of the government at state and federal levels, are mostly awarded to private companies and individuals primarily as a means of enriching corrupt public officers and private collaborators Therefore, they most often do bad jobs, or even abandon the project altogether In Ogun state for instance, many abandoned road projects, whose contracts have been awarded and partly paid for, by the last administration of Ibikunle Amosun still litter the state in their numbers.
Therefore, NLC must demand the cancellation of the contract system, and the equipping of Public Works Department with modern-day equipment to execute all public works projects including building of road infrastructure, under the democratic management and control of workers, community people and civil organizations to ensure such projects are not abandoned, and they are executed to meet required standard.
The CDWR calls for adequate mobilization of workers, youths and community people for any planned protest through mass circulation of leaflets, press statements and interviews, etc
We also call on the NLC not to limit this struggle to Sango-Ota Road, but to demand that the state government fix all road networks within Ogun state. The demand must also be placed on the federal government to fix all federal roads across the nation in general, including the pot-hole ridden Sagamu-Benin expressway.
Also importantly, this struggle against bad road must also be linked with other demands of Ogun state workers for improved working conditions, payment of all unremitted salary deductions currently owed workers by the Dapo Abioun government, payment of pension to the state pensioners being owed several months and remittance of deducted pension. The demands also include revisiting of the pending promotion exercise, payment of salaries to worker and the reinstatement of all victimized workers across the state. In addition, NLC, TUC and pro-labour organisations should also give notice to both the state and federal governments, on the need to commence without delay, the complete overhaul of the collapse healthcare system, proper funding of education, building mass housing to address the rising homelessness among the citizens, the rising cost of living, youth unemployment, insecurity and ills currently bedeviling the nation
All this has again thrown up the need for an alternative system. For obvious reasons, ranging from privatisation, deregulation, contract system and other capitalist policies of both the state and federal governments, which have kept workers and the masses in a perpetual misery in the midst of huge human and material resources, working people must begin to have conversations on the need to seek political power. To this end, the need for a mass working people’s alternative party becomes imperative. This is more urgent than before, as the crisis of global capitalism becoming deeper would mean that the needs and rights of the working masses are further relegated to the backseats including more attacks on living standards. Workers, the youth and the poor masses must be prepared to wage struggles to resist these attacks, and bid for political power with a socialist programme.
To this end, CDWR calls on workers, community people and youth to join the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) and help build it as a mass working people political alternative. This is in order to struggle for power in the interest of the vast majority, not a few corrupt elites as presently obtains.
This is the text of the leaflet issued by the CDWR Ogun State and circulated at the protest organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ogun State of the poor state of Sango Ota roads on Wednesday October 27, 2021.
Abiodun Bamigboye For the CDWR, Oyo State Chapter