Monday, May 11, 2020 will remain an indelible day in the lives of resident of Idi-Ogede community. Made up of eight communities, which cuts across both Ilorin West and Ilorin South Local Government Areas, residents of the community woke up to see Hillux vehicles bringing in materials for the reconstruction of the drainages for erosion control.
Located between the ever-busy Offa Garage Area to the North, and the popular Ganmo market to the South, the bustling commercial activities in this communities also lends credence to its location. But the perennial erosion problems faced by residents had become a nagging pain in their hearts.
In the words of the Magaji Idi-Ogede, Alhaji SaliuAbdulkareem, “the people are already heaving a sigh of relief seeing materials coming to site and workers working. This action of Governor AbdulRahaman AbdulRazaq has further endeared him to us as a man of his words.
“Few weeks ago we were already becoming agitated seeing that the rains had started and our people were already becoming restless but Alhamudulilah we are witnessing the manifestations of the Governor’s promise.”
Shedding more light on why the erosion was becoming life threatening, the Magaji disclosed that, “The contractor that constructed the Offa Garage-Olunlade-Ganmo road diverted all the erosion into the community.”
Also commending the governor, the chairman of Idi-Ogede Household Community Development Association, Dr Ridwan Ibrahim Olagunju noted that “we quite understand that there is a lot fighting for attention of the government and we are most grateful to the governor for honouring his words to us.”
He lamented that the economic damage the flood does to the people necessitated that agitations. “Whenever it rains, most houses in this community are over flooded such that people cannot sleep conveniently. You can imagine a landlord/lady begging a neighbour for a place to sleep just because his/her house is flooded, it is as bad as that.
“At individual levels, now that the rain is here, you would see that the drainages at both sides of the road is being cleared. Money was contributed, and you can imagine, especially at this period. We are still putting heads together to ensure that even if it’s the drainage alone that we can clear, we will do it.”
He stressed that, “The people of Idi-Ogede are peace loving people who have been enduring for a very long time, and I must commend them.”
Dr. Olagunju who is also a Lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University of Ilorin disclosed that the problem has been on for a very long time. “I joined this community about five years ago, but even when I came, I met the issue on ground. It’s our major area of worry. And there is no time we have left any stone unturned. We visited Ministries, wrote letters, had peaceful demonstration to drive home our points and all.
“The last peaceful demonstration which led to the Governor’s visit held in November. The Governor was hinted and he came here the same day. He promised that action will follow and today we are seeing the result of that promise. Sincerely, the governor has truly surprised us.”
Also speaking, the Secretary, Idi-Ogede Household Community Development Association, Alhaji Raufu Oyeyemi Oyewumi assured that once completed the project would further improve commercial activities of residents of the community.
“Apart from giving us peace of mind in the community and safeguarding our properties, once the road is reconstructed, it will improve the commercial activities of the community and the surrounding communities. Also, the road is equally a creditable alternative route anytime the main road gets blocked. It’s like a bye-pass,” he told The Herald.
He further clarified that the community had been suffering from erosion but it assumed a large scaled dimension during the reconstruction of the Offa Garage-Olunlade-Ganmo road by the federal government, as the contractor diverted erosion into the community.
Also, commending the efforts of the Governor, a widow, Mrs. Funsho Bose Oni puts it this way, “Anytime the sky grows dark and rumbles, I am always afraid. If I’m outside I must run home, if I’m home I must brace up for work and if it is in the night time then no sleep again at all. However, with work ongoing now I can now sleep with my two eyes closed.”
Buttressing Mrs. Oni’s point, Alhaji Abdullahi Aliyu said he panics whenever the clouds begin to gather. The old man who disclose that his house is always flooded whenever there is rain told The Herald that all his efforts to divert the flood away from his house proved abortive.
“I’m the happiest today, because at my age there is not much I can do to divert the flood but I always try my best. We sincerely thank our action governor for living up to his promise.”
Also speaking with The Herald, another resident of the community, Alhaji Jimoh Kajogbola whose house is very close to the source of the diversion also lamented his ordeal.
A building contractor, Alhaji Kajogbola disclosed that, “my fence was destroyed last year, and I had to, with the support of my children, erect this short concrete fence to protect the house from falling too.
“The governor’s action has brought much joy and relief to our people and we are indeed very grateful.”
Another retired Nurse from the state General Hospital, Mr. Joseph Olatunji Abogunrin whose house is on the Idi-Ogede Central Mosque street told The Herald that the flood has so destroyed the road to his house that for many years now he can’t take his car to his house again.
“I cannot go to my house with my car again because the gully has destroyed the road. This is the fifth year that I have been parking my car in another street. Whenever, it rains the flood enters the whole house on my street during the rain.
“On my part, I have spent well over N300k to erect a concrete barrier in front of my house as you can see, to control the situation, but it is just a temporal relief. Mere seeing work commencing is enough to celebrate because we have been on this for a very long time, but today our governor has wiped away our tears,” he said.
On other challenges faced by the community, the Magaji, Alhaji Abdulkareem, disclosed that apart from the menace of the erosion and road overrun by gully, the community wants government to improve on the electricity supply to the area.
“The transformer serving this part of the community is on 11KVA, and is now weak. Idi-Ogede is a huge commercial centre, and is also very close to the popular Ganmo Market. Idi-Ogede is made up of eight communities. Three of the communities falls on the side of Ilorin West, and five to Ilorin South.
“The community also lacks pipe borne water, and no single borehole was drilled in this community by either the local or state government. The few boreholes we have are dug by individuals.”
The chairman of the community who agreed with Magaji explained that lack of portable water and power supply are the challenges faced by members of the community. “This is why we are calling on Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to come to our aid,” he said.
Efforts to get the reactions of the Commissioner of Works proved abortive but reacting in a telephone conversation with The Herald, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, urged residents of the state to continue to exercise patience with the present administration in the state.
“When we have a government committed to the welfare of the people the best thing for us is to cooperate and exercise patience so that we don’t derail the focus of government. I can assure you that, despite the meagre resources, this governor will always put the welfare of all Kwarans first.
“The government has a lot of things in its hands and the resources are so meagre. I therefore urge all Kwarans to be patient, we will get there but we all need to be patient and show understand and support for this present administration,” he admonished.