BAD STATE OF SANGO-OTA ROAD: CDWR Supports Mass Protests of Workers, Youths and Community People
We Demand the Use of Public Works Department under Democratic Control of Workers and Community People for Public Projects
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR) Ogun State chapter commend workers, youth and community people as well as Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over different protests against the sorry state of Sango-Ota roads.
By Eko John Nicholas, Coordinator CDWR Ogun State
The 64 km Sango-Ota-Idiroko Road has been abandoned for a long time 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 the associated loss of manhour and psychological trauma, now the daily experiences of the road users.
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!
Residents and communities are now the one 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 the 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. 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, the 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 and community people for any planned protest through mass circulation of leaflets, press statement 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, rising cost of living, youth unemployment, insecurity and ills currently bedeviling the nation.