…Says Ekiti Most Neglected State In Nigeria
ADO-EKITI- Legal icon, Aare Afe Babalola has condemned the alleged neglect of Ekiti roads by the Federal Government saying that Ekiti is about the most neglected state in Nigeria.
Babalola, founder of Afe Babalola Unuversity Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) while reacting to the last Monday collapse of almost 100-year-old bridge linking his university to Ado-Ekiti metropolis.
The visibly enraged senior lawyer spoke of how numerous appeal made by him to the authorities concerned on the imminent collapse of the bridge fell on deaf ears.
The two term Pro Chancellor of the University of Lagos hinted that he had been spending his personnel fund in repairing the roads.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN) who expressed regret over the incident said it had made life difficult for him and other residents living at the upper end of the collapse bridge.
Narrating his ordeal, Babalola said he spent almost three hours before he could get to his university on the day of the accident, having had to pass through four different communities before gaining access to the institution.
“What we need is a new bridge and a dual carriage road from Ado-Ekiti to the university, which is only 15-kilometers. I don’t know why the road has not been repaired.I hope now with what has happened, things will change. I went through Afao to Igbimo to Iluomoba to the university. It takes me about one and half hours to get to the university on Tuesday instead of 15-minutes.”
“Like I said, Ekiti is the most neglected state in this part of the world. Secondly, I protested in my usual way. Former President Obansanjo did little work on the road and you can see it has not been completed. Again, I was lawyer to the federal government, Obasanjo again work on it from Itawure to Ado-Ekiti, a dual carriage, since he left it is all forest”, he said.
Speaking further, he said; “The road from Ado-Ekiti to Akure is one of the worst roads in the country. What i will continue to do now is to continue to pile pressure to those responsible and in authority for us to have good infrastructures, because without good infrastructures, nobody can come to the university. We are suffering here.”
“For the past nine years, I have been maintaining that road. But this year, after series of letters, FERMA wrote to inform me that they have awarded the road to a contractor and I have been following the contractor day and night. What I know is true is that the contractor has done more damage to the road than helping us.”
“I wrote about the bridge to all those concerned; federal ministry of works and copied the president. I also wrote letters to the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi because I knew that road was neglected by the contractor and the federal government. Indeed, Ekiti state is the most neglected state in this country. Look at the road between Ilesha and Ado-Ekiti, it was made over 20 years ago. This road from Ado-Ekiti to Ijan to Ode to Ikare to Lokoja was built before I was born over 100 years ago.”
“That bridge which you saw was also build over 100 years ago , that narrow bridge. When I was in school, we used to trek from that place to Ogbese river in order to cut what we called prank cane to make chairs and wooden ceilings. Nothing has been done to improve the bridge. I have been writing, phoning, sending text messages about that bridge, that it will collapse anytime. I warned all of them, including the governor, that it will collapse that, something should be done.”
He added; “When it happened two days ago, I sent text messages to Fayemi that what I told you should not happen has happened. I also got in touch with the Minister of Works, who eventually phoned me that they were going to do something about the bridge. I sent messages to monarchs and others.
“In the afternoon , I got a text from Fayemi that some people will come the following day to work on it. Fashola told me they are moving there immediately. I went to the bridge and I saw them working there. My team of engineer have been there early in the morning. No heavy truck or vehicle should pass that place otherwise it will go down”, he said.