Afenifere has noted with concern the on-going resurfacing work along the Lagos-Ibadan expressway as against the hope of rebuilding what has become an "open grave" that was taken from Bi-Courtney a few months back.
Motorists and travelers have faced untold hardship on this road built close to 40 years ago with engineering designs of a road pavement with an asphalt layer as road surface and crushed granite layer above laterite soil under.But the benign culture of corruption in Nigeria then ensured that the road was built without the crushed granite layer which led to uneven.broken and corrugated surface within few years of use.
The culture of corruption has become a full-blown cancer over the years with billions of Naira budgeted every now and then ending in the pockets of corrupt officials with the attendant consequence of daily deaths on the trap.
Were Nigeria a country with functional statistics,it would have been easier to compare the casualty figures on this road with number of lives lost in major wars in human experience in recent times.
It was therefore with great sigh of relief that users of the major route for most travelers out of Lagos to all parts of the country received the news of the concession of the road by Yara'adua government in 2009 after Obasanjo"s eight years in office left the road in virtual disrepair.
The chairman of Bi-Coutney,Dr Wale Babalakin further sugar bamboozled the unwary when he promised in 2009 that,"The primary objective of the proposed rehabilitation and modernization project is to unlock the economic potentials of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway by redeveloping it to efficiently carry available traffic demand.And in the process create a world class infrastructure that will be the pride of all Nigerians and a reference point"
"The road would boast of dawn lightening powered by a gas fired plant,improved and new interchanges,new drainage system,recessed service area,lay-back parking area,footbridges in heavy pedestrian area,weigh bridges,electronic traffic control and informative signs"
By the time the concession was terminated almost four years after ,Bi-Courtney left the road as a shame to all Nigerians and a sore-point.
Hope was rekindled with the Federal Government announcement that the road was to be rebuilt by Julius Berger PLC and RCC Nigeria Limited and both firms moving to site immediately.
This was dashed again as they vacated site after some days and information coming to the public that there was no contract between the Federal Government and the firms.
The duo later returned to site albeit with a contract to patch the road as against the reconstruction expected.Julius Berger has since finished its own portion while RCC is still engaged in its own patch work.
While Afenifere concedes that what has been done is an improvement on the irresponsible neglect of the road by Obasanjo,we insist that mere patchwork is too token on such a major road that has claimed uncountable lives.
We are further disturbed by the announcement by the Works Minister,Mr Mike Onolememen that reconstruction design has been submitted to his office.
The question to ask is whether there was no design for the road over the years and including the period of phantom concession.
Given what we know of government in Nigeria,approving the design may not be completed till the end of the life of this administration.
We insist that the repair being carried out is not sufficient .We ask for a rebuilt road with six lanes on each of the northbound and southbound carriages between the interchange at Ojota in Lagos and the Sagamu interchange from where it should continue with four lanes on each side to Ojoo in Ibadan.
Anything short of the above is a waste of time!