By Valentine Akinbogun
Yearnings by the people of Ayeyemi Community for the government’s intervention and assistance to fix the deteriorating roads in their area have recently been on the increase. Over the past decade, Nigeria has witnessed an average of about 5,200 casualties in road accidents, mostly due to the bad state of the roads. This has caused many victims to be injured, and some are maimed for life.
The deplorable condition of both the road and bridges in Ayeyemi Community has become a source of concern for the youths, residents, and stakeholders in the area. Hence, on April 4, 2023, the Ayeyemi United Youth Movement embarked on a three-day peaceful protest, where many youths were seen carrying placards with different inscriptions, preventing vehicles from moving in and out of the community.
The road from Ayeyemi junction to New Garage has been in a very bad state, and the concerned authorities have neglected it despite several letters written to them. The youths and stakeholders of the community have had to patch the road with cement and granite on several occasions.
Comrade Bode Fodoju, a youth stakeholder and the sports Director of Ondo kingdom explained that Ayeyemi is a densely populated community in Ondo West Local Government of Ondo State, and a major contributor to the economic growth of the local government. It produces different agricultural products such as cocoa, kola, timber, other food, and fruits.
In his words “The Dide Oluwa Bridge, along Holy Flock Grammar School, is a major bridge in the community that is seriously begging for rehabilitation. It connects the old garage to upper Ayeyemi, which links Wao Wao, Abayomi, and other villages and towns together.” A commercial motorcycle operator, Mr. Damilola Muyiwa, also lamented the bad road, which according to him is hurting residents.
Comrade Victor Akinboni, the youth coordinator of the community, expressed deep concern over the bad condition of the road. According to him, “It is no longer news that the terrible condition of the road hurts the overall socio-economic life of the people, including but not limited to accidents, disruption of business activities particularly of those who deal with perishable foodstuffs, who get stranded daily when their vehicles break down on the road. The result of this sad experience has always been huge losses of revenues, loss of lives, waste of time on the road, and risk to lives and properties”.
Other residents and youth leaders in the community, such as Comrade Akinlade Michael (OEYC Social Director), Mr. Odunayo (Resident), and Kehinde Akinnifesi (Student), have also expressed concern about the issue.
As part of the protest, the Dide Oluwa Bridge of the community was temporarily blocked from public use in order to call the attention of concerned authorities before things get out of hand. Comrade Victor assured the Police and other law enforcement agencies of their resolve to be peaceful and law-abiding during the protest, adding that they would not allow any hoodlum or group of persons to hijack the protests to “tarnish our image by whatever means”. He then urged the local government and philanthropists in the kingdom to come to their rescue.