by Adekoya Boladale
Some visitors and passersby had, over the past few months commended what they more often than not, refer to as the new face of Ogun state going by the massive road construction embarked upon by the present administration. The sprawling six-lane ‘highways’ and the walkways, the flyovers and the N250 million pedestrian crossing all made up the major reason for this new-found love for the Gateway State. Impressive and intimidating as they are, the huge construction site which Ogun State is as of now triggers some yet-to-be-answered questions. .
Those who fall into the category of ‘Ogun State Is Working’ incessantly praising the current government of Ogun state are not to blame, they have only said what their eyes saw. However, the salient fact remains that they have only seen what they have been programmed to see. Ogun state Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun has tactically ensured that all projects or would-be state projects are sited where the unsuspecting visitors to the Gateway could easily see at firstcontact; in the preview of visitors, that is, very close to the highway. This is one of the main reasons why the proposed model schools which primarily should be within communities are conspicuously located right beside major roads for ‘all to see’ . Renowned educationists will percieve this as dangerous to the lives of the students when the schools eventually take off.
Another is the proposed housing project. Arguably, residential areas are believed to be serene and quiet; free from the hustle and bustle of the cities. It is therefore shocking that the dual residential estate project by the state government in Abeokuta and Sagamu share the same fence with the busiest highways in Nigeria.
Some have tagged the roads project of the state government as mere playing to the gallery while others have proposed village renewal against the much advertised urban renewal, but these are topics for another day. The story today is that of ‘Imagbon community’.
Like other communities in the state where hardship and struggle for survival remain unsung even amidst the unending borrowings, bonds and bank loans, people of the communities wallowing in abject poverty, towns and villages populated by jobless youths who have taken to advance fee fraud to make ends meet, the Chinese and other foreigners counterparts are being awarded road contracts with the indigenes only being employed as labourers. Imagbon community is a story of outright neglect, lost hope and sadness which has continued to rock the boat of Ogun state.
Why Imagbon you may ask. One of the most intriguing revelations about this community is that it shares the same boundary with the state’s seat of power located at Oke Mosan. The people of Imagbon see and watch the governor’s convoy drive by their community to his tastefully furnished office everyday. It is therefore unfortunate that with so much proximity to the seat of the government in power, the community of Imagbon in Abeokuta South local government of Ogun state is light years behind civilization!
A recent visit to the community shows absolute contrast with the live outside. While the seat of power was glows with constant electricity and potable water, the residents of Imagbon lives in hell. When we demanded why the community has failed to table their grievances before the state governor or any of the agencies and ministries, a community leader who wishes to remain anonymous revealed that on several occasions community leaders have approached the ministry of local government affairs but in vain having been referred to their local government council to lay their grievances. The community chief who was in tears revealed how he lost a son to cholera just three months ago as a result of the dirty water which is the only source of water for the community.
A staff of the only school within the community who spoke also spoke anonymous said; ‘We have tried all we could, you know this community is a border town. Anytime we go to the Abeokuta South Local government they will say they are not responsible for our predicaments and that we should go to Obafemi Owode but is the same story. They only come when it is time for elections..
Investigations reveal that few months ago an aide to the state government who happens to be the daughter of late Chief M.K.O Abiola, Costello was in the community with a team of CNN crew parading the community as one of the few areas her NGO is offering humanitarian aids to. This we learnt got her an exclusive international interview on the Cable Network News (CNN).
When asked what happened to the intervention provided by the governor’s aide, a member of the community said; ‘After all the white men came with cameras and took pictures of us and the school nobody ever came back. What the tall lady (referring to Costello) only gave us was 500 naira!