Ikangba (Old Lagos-Benin Road) protest
CDWR calls on residents and communities to support and join December 20th protest and subsequent actions
The Campaign for Democratic and Workers’ Rights (CDWR), Ogun state chapter, welcomes the planned protest by the residents and communities living along old Lagos-Benin road, otherwise known as Ikangba road. The planned protest billed for 20th December, 2021, is against the sorry state of Ikangba road, which has been a nightmare to both communities and residents along the route and commuters plying same. The CDWR calls on workers, residents and commuters to give their supports to the protest and any subsequent action to demand the completion of the road. We call on Governor Dapo Abiodun to listen to the demand and cry of the affected residents and communities.
It would be recalled that Ikangba/Ilese road was among the 12 roads construction contracts awarded in the sum of 100bn naira by the immediate past administration of the Ibikunle Amosun -led APC government, in 2012. Sometimes around 2018, the contractors were mobilized and works commenced on the road, with houses demolished, only for the road project to be abandoned halfway, and left in terrible conditions ever since then.
This abandoned road project stretched from Ikangba-Obalende-Lagos Garage-Oke Owa-Ilese, totalling 20km, and was meant to be four-lanes! Since then, residents and communities have resorted to self-help to make the road motorable, particularly the Ikangba section of the road.
This was like other roads needing attention across the lengths and breaths of Ogun state, but left abandoned by the present Dipo Abioun-led APC government, under the false premise that these roads have “no economic” importance, while resorting to using road construction as patronages to demand and maintain personal loyalty rather than actual construction and repair. The Ikangba road itself represents enormous economic potential with attendant employment opportunities for the teeming youths of Ogun state, currently roaming the streets in search of jobs. The Ikangba road is the link route to the former famed Ikangba industrial estate, which presently plays hosts to many companies, most of which are moribund or struggling to survive the harsh economic conditions occasioned by the anti- poor capitalist policies of both the state and federal governments.
These industries includes: Crown Products, also known as Frigloglass Limited, makers of crown corks; Odutola Foods Industries, makers of Odutola biscuits and Odutola Tyres both owed by late Adeola Timothy Odutola, the famed industrialist and father of the present Managing Director of Cadbury Nig Plc, Oyeyimika Adeboye. These two companies are ghost towns now! Fisko Construction Company, presently half dead; Waidadh Shoe industry owed by late Bayo Kuku and the Awujale of Ijebuland, presently taken over by weeds; Sunrise Drinks owed by Alhaja Seico, acquired by Nigeria Breweries (NB) from Consolidated Breweries makers of 33 Beer who acquired it from Alhaja Seico; Gateway Pharmaceutical Industry, formerly reputed to be the biggest in West Africa. This industry was concessioned to Watson Company by the Gbenga Daniel -led PDP government; it was later revoked by the Ibikunle Amosu administration. Today, that industrial complex is laying waste! Others include AT&M Chemicals, currently housing pigs! Unique Turkeys, which used to be the biggest sole Turkey Farm in West Africa, is presently leased by Chi Farms for broiler production; Collosus Papers makers of stationaries is currently dead while opposite this company is Alpha Paints industry, which is also dead! Novelty lace, also known as Aberugba Lace, is dead and in fact its premises hosts cattle and piggery. Nurade Events Centers, owed by late Alhaji Nureni Adegbola is dying, owing to low patronage resulting from the sorry state of the road.
Asides the above mentioned companies, Ogun state Water Corporation and Ikangba Housing Estate, both owed by the state government, are also located along this road. Being an agrarian town, Ikangba currently houses Chief Rabiu Feed Mill and Giwa Feed Mill, the biggest in Ijebu Ode.
Above all, this dilapidated abandoned road presently links one the biggest catfish farms clusters in the whole of Ogun state, employing thousands of youths engaging directly and indirectly in the catfish industry with huge attendant economy of scale. Notwithstanding the huge economic and social importance of this road, the Dapo Abiodun government has chosen to turn a blind eye to the Ikangba road. Already, catfish farmers are having difficulties selling their produce due to the bad state of the road especially during the raining season.
To make matters worse, the ongoing construction of the 3.2km Molipa road project in Ijebu Ode Local Government is now source of worry as it threatens the very existence of the communities and its residents and their sources of livelihoods. This is because the floods from the said Molipa road when completed, would not only cut off Ikangba road and make it impassable, it would also sack the residents from their houses and destroy their businesses especially the catfish farms, as a result of lack of proper drainage system and provisions for the dredging of Yemule stream to widen it up, so as to have the capacity to accommodate the high volumes of floods that would be coming during the raining season.
Just June this year, when there was heavy downpours for less than two (2) hours, many residents in Olorunsogo Community were sacked from home by floods, and the catfish farmers lost millions of naira worth of fishes that were washed away by flooding resulting from overflow of the Yemule, which could not accommodate the waters due to its narrowness and shallow depth.
From the foregoing, it’s crystal clear that the Dapo Abiodun government, like his predecessors, is only interested in putting profits before the needs of workers, farmers and the poor masses, hence, their anti-poor policies.
The CDWR supports the protest to demands the reconstruction of Ikangba road and other roads across Ogun state that need rehabilitation as well as the dredging of the Yemule River to protect the investment of the fish farmers and save thousands of jobs. We equally call on residents, communities and individuals along the Ikangba road to give their total support and full participation in the protest slated on Monday 20th December, 2021.
As against the prevailing fraudulent, corruption ridden contact system, we call for adequately equipped Public Works Department under democratic control of workers and community people to execute public projects with direct labour. This will ensure judicious use of resources without compromising standard and quality while at the same create mass jobs.
Also importantly, the CDWR urges the NLC, TUC and other mass organizations to give vents to these pockets of struggles with a series of solidarity actions
We also call on residents and communities demanding better roads to link the struggle to the demand for an end to all anti-poor capitalist policies including the planned removal of fuel subsidy next year, electricity tariff hikes and the proposed increased taxations, and for adequate funding of quality public education and health care at all levels. All these struggles in the final analysis, must be linked to the need for the formation of working peoples’ political party with a socialist programme to contest for power in order to use the human and material resources of Nigeria for the benefit of the vast majority, not a privileged few and end the current misery and squalor in the face of abundance.
Eko John Nicholas
Chairman, CDWR, Ogun State Chapter