In Alekuwodo Osogbo, Matthew Adebayo’s once thriving oil selling business now stands as a shadow of its former self. The culprit? A roadblock that has persisted for three weeks, effectively strangling the flow of traffic and suffocating local commerce.

“Before they blocked the road, my business was flourishing,” Matthew told the Harbinger, frustration etched into his words. “But now, it’s like we’re back to square one. We’re praying for a resolution, but it seems like a distant hope.”

The impact on Matthew’s business is palpable. What was once a steady stream of customers has dwindled to a trickle, leaving him grappling with dwindling income and mounting uncertainty. “The income flow of before is more than the present,” he laments.

But what stings the most for Matthew is the feeling of helplessness in the face of governmental power. “The government can’t do without manifesting their power,” he observes bitterly. “They do as they please, regardless of the consequences for us.”

Road construction in Alekuwodo Osogbo

Alekunwodo road construction

The Alekuwodo road, slated for construction as part of the 2024 procurement plan, commenced its transformation three weeks ago. 

This vital thoroughfare, stretching from under the bridge to Estate Road, holds promise for improved connectivity and enhanced infrastructure in the area.

Upon visiting the site, it became painfully clear that progress had hit a roadblock – quite literally. The once-bustling artery was now barricaded, halting traffic and disrupting daily life for residents and businesses alike.

On Monday, the residents’ frustrations boiled over into protest as they took to the streets to voice their grievances. At the heart of their discontent was the issue of dust – a relentless nuisance plaguing the neighborhood.

The residents lamented the government’s failure to regularly wet the untarred road, resulting in clouds of dust that permeated the air and invaded their homes. 

Concerned for their health and well-being, they resolved to make their voices heard, demanding swift action to mitigate the dust pollution emanating from the stagnant construction site.

According to the residents, the construction of the road had commenced just there weeks prior, yet the impact on their daily lives was already palpable. As they braved the sweltering heat and choking dust, their resolve to hold authorities accountable for their negligence only grew stronger.

 

Beneficial, but imperative they expedite its completion

As the road rehabilitation project continues, the silence that blankets the once-bustling thoroughfare speaks volumes. 

For Abike Simbi, a provision seller, the hushed streets are a poignant reminder of the sacrifices being made in the name of progress.

“We understand that it’s for the greater good, but it’s taking a toll on our livelihoods – our ability to put food on the table and provide for our families.”

Ongoing Road construction
PC: Boluwatife Adedokun

The absence of traffic may signify progress in the eyes of the government, but for Abike and her fellow small business owners, it translates to dwindling sales and mounting uncertainty. 

“If there’s no sales, there are children at home,” Abike explains, her voice heavy with concern. 

“They’ll eat, and we too will eat. But when there’s not enough money coming in, it’s a struggle to make ends meet.”

Yet amidst the challenges, Abike acknowledges the importance of the roadworks. “The government is making an effort,” she concedes. 

“The work is progressing steadily, and we appreciate that. But what we need now is support – support to weather the storm until our businesses can thrive once more.”

Temitope Aborisade, boutique seller, also shared her plight. 

Beneath the facade of elegance and sophistication lies a tale of hardship and despair. “They just blocked the road without doing anything,” she lament, her voice trembling with emotion. 

Once bustling with eager shoppers and bustling activity, her boutique now sits in silence, a shadow of its former self. With livelihoods on the line and uncertainty looming like a dark cloud, Temitope Aborisade implores the government to intervene, pleading for a lifeline to keep their business afloat amidst the storm.

Weathering the Storm of Disruption

Also, Oluwaseun Akorede, a hardware dealer in the area, said, “let me tell you, this situation is just too much to bear”.

The road closure has turned his daily routine into a relentless battle against stress and inconvenience.

With a wistful glance at the blocked road, Oluwaseun explains the ripple effect on his business. 

“When customers buy goods, we have to help them carry it to the junction,” he said, emphasizing the added strain on his workload. “From there, they have to find alternative transportation, which isn’t always easy.”

“We’re hanging in there, taking it one day at a time,” he added with a hint of optimism.

Blocked Roads, Blocked Opportunities

For Babawale Ademola, a plumber, the road closure has brought his livelihood to a grinding halt. “It really affects me,” As a seller of plumbing materials. 

Babawale’s business depends on access to construction sites, but the road closure has severed his connection to potential customers. “We’ve had to turn down jobs because we couldn’t reach the sites,” he explains, his disappointment palpable.

Babawale implores the government to intervene, pleading for a solution that will allow businesses like his to thrive once more. “They should help us make a way where we can be passing,” he urges, emphasizing the urgency of the situation. “Time is money, and every day that we’re unable to work is a day lost.”

Despite the challenges, Babawale remains hopeful, clinging to the belief that with the government’s assistance, they can overcome this obstacle and emerge stronger on the other side.

Moreso, Oyelade Opeyemi’s pepper soup seller in her despair said, “There’s no transportation, and market.

As customers navigate the maze of blocked roads and treacherous paths, Oyelade Opeyemi once-thriving business dwindles with each passing day. 

With hope, she pleaded with the government to expedite the roadwork and restore life to their struggling enterprise.

Moreso, Olusola Williams’, a photographer, lamented, “I only have three customers now,”  he confesses, his voice tinged with sorrow. 

Once bustling with activity, his studio now sits in solitude, a shadow of its former self. 

Frustrated by the lack of progress and communication from the authorities, Olusola Williams pleaded for swift action to breathe life back into their struggling business, praying for a glimmer of hope in the midst of uncertainty

Cry for Help 

For an aged woman selling booli beside the roadside, who pleaded anonymity, she noted that for the past three weeks, her once-vibrant business has languished in the shadows of neglect. “We can’t sell our market,” she said, the weight of uncertainty evident in her voice. 

The absence of transportation has severed her connection to customers and left her wares untouched. 

She pleaded with the government, a desperate call for swift intervention to alleviate her plight.

Also, Oluwaseun believes that the government holds the key to easing their burden, she pleaded “They can make the work faster,” he suggests, hoping for a swift resolution that will restore normalcy to their lives.

Desperate for a lifeline, Matthew implores the authorities to reconsider their approach. “They should help us leave a road or little space,” he pleaded.

“Some customers can’t even reach us anymore. We need their assistance to survive until the road work is completed and our businesses can thrive once more.”

We are not in the best position to react- Workers

As this reporter ventured to the edge of the blocked road, eager to capture the perspectives of those directly impacted by the ongoing construction and those working there, she encountered a group of workers immersed in their labor.

Workers on the road construction
PC: Boluwatife Adedokun

With worn faces and weary expressions, they politely declined request for an interview, citing their inability to speak on behalf of the company. 

“We’re not in the best position to grant any interview, our focus is on getting the work done.”

Despite their reluctance to engage further, they offered a glimmer of insight into the progress of the project. 

“The little work we can do is going on,” another worker noted, gesturing towards the construction site where machinery hummed and workers toiled tirelessly.

In a bid to gather more information, this reporter inquired about contacting the company responsible for the project. 

“You can try checking the company online and message them, but we don’t have their contact details here.” one worker suggested.

Contact not found on the website

Despite diligent efforts, including extensive online searches, the reporter’s attempts to locate the contact information for Ascoj Integrated Services Limited yielded no results as their emails and contacts can’t be found on the website, but only the company address.

Boluwatife Adedokun is a passionate journalist, who writes to ameliorate societal ills. As a young journalist, she aims to have a society devoid of corruptions by righting the wrongs with the power of pen. Her enthusiasm towards speaking for the masses has engendered her publication in different national dailies and she wish to be more impactful through her stories.

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