Road construction in Tanke, Kwara State has been dire as a result of the government’s lack of planning and communication with its citizens. While the government has implemented the road construction in an effort to improve the infrastructure and living conditions of its people, the lack of prior notice and communication left citizens in a state of confusion and frustration.
The government failed to consider the effects of the construction on citizens, and they have had to suffer the consequences due to the disruption to their commuting, trading, and daily activities. This lack of communication between the government and the people is detrimental to the functioning of a democratic society, and it needs to be addressed.
In order for the Kwara government to effectively and successfully implement road construction projects, it should involve citizens in the planning and implementation of such projects. This can be done by providing the citizens with advance notice of the construction, as well as discussing alternate ways to tackle the matter in collaboration with the citizens.
Overly stressed from the previous day’s journey, Enitan Olaide woke up to the deafening blast of horns from angry road users. Surprised how her residential area which due to its serenity is usually compared to a graveyard is now in social ruckus.
Dragging her feet to the road, she met a long queue of Vehicles harbouring transporters, diverse in nature and occupation, staring blindly, gazing intently, honking tirelessly, waiting for the car in front to move an inch for it to follow suit. Behind the steering sat impatient angry citizens, swearing at each other with grit, all trying to avoid the main road which is now blocked with a red-white-coloured ribbon tied loosely to two poles at the opposite end.
Her eyes caught the steering of an old modelled car, behind which sat inside a man, beads of sweat dripping from his outgrown beard, he was mumbling loudly, gnawing at a suspension letter he is yet to receive as a possible penalty for his lateness for work.
The government has for months now been on the construction of the road linking the Oke Odo and Tanke areas of Ilorin, Kwara state. Though it had begun the construction a few months into 2022, it was left to the sun to bash for months, only for the contractors to pick up the file of construction a few months before the election, without officially informing road plyers—majorly the Okada men and the danfo drivers.
Motorists that ply five different roads simultaneously are coerced to ply a one-way road, creating intense traffic and discomfort.
Understandably, the government wants development, muttered one of the pedestrians who struggled to meander through the heavy and disgusting traffic, but what happens when the citizens are not carried along?
Due to the inappropriate planning and the consequential adverse effects on the commuters, the people have now challenged the aim of the Kwara state government to rush the construction of the Oke-Odo–Tanke road, with many connecting it to the upcoming election.
Mrs. Olayinka, a middle-aged Tanke-based trader, revealed that despite the step taken toward development, many traders in the area are not happy with the way they now suffer. There was no official announcement from the government.
“Citizens were chased from their comfort zones without official announcements and their buildings demolished. Customers find it hard to locate marketers like us who sell to earn a living. If not for grace, I would have been idle like some of my contemporaries. The day some of their shops were grazed to the ground, I watched them running helter-skelter. It was not an easy thing.”
Aliu, a commercial bike rider in the area, said the situation is uncontrollable. Right from the hike in fuel prices to losing potential customers. He stated: “The road blocked is a stance for the government to show how powerful they are. How does one even get customers when the roads we ply are blocked? The ones that are left unblocked are like jungles and even the hike in prices made it worse. Seriously, life has been hard, especially when there’s no one to turn to but do we have a choice?”
Adebayo George, the founder of Gate Initiative, a non-governmental organisation aimed at empowering the youths, noted that the government should seek first the pressing needs of its citizens before taking developmental actions. According to him, doing this would show the government cares about the masses.