Residents of Ona Ara Local Government area of Ibadan, comprising Olunloyo, Ariyo, Asolo, Amuloko, Odeyale, Akanran axis, have called on Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, to as a matter of urgency save them from the perennial harrowing experience of flooding and traffic congestion on the road whenever there is heavy rain.
Though the banks of the Ariyo River have been dredged and widened, due to the low level of the bridge, it is always overflown by flood anytime it rains, and drivers would have problem driving through it until its volume diminishes.
Vehicular traffic holdup and stressful human traffic by those trekking, are usual spectacles, especially at nights, residents lament on Tuesday night as hundreds of people returning home were subjected to heavy traffic snarls amidst wailing and groaning.
The heavy downpour, Tuesday evening, re-enacted the ugly and excruciating experience as the traffic jam on Ariyo Bridge, occasioned by the overflow, forced many people to be on the road till midnight when it eventually eased.
Those who braved trekking through the flood when vehicles could not move, waddled through, knee-deep in the water. Some good Samaritans had a hectic time assisting too young and too old people to trek through the thick flood. The traffic jam extended to Olorunsogo area, about 3 kilometres, to the bridge.
A distraught and perplexed driver was heard saying: “Though Governor Makinde is trying with the construction going on on this Olorunsogo/Akanran Road, and we know the dualization will also get here, thereby providing a permanent solution to this perennial flooding problem at Ariyo, I feel the government can urgently, as a matter of concern, direct the Contractor handling this project to provide some palliative to ease the problem.
“The contractor can introduce some palliatives to this problem by further dredging the streams, building temporary bulwarks to prevent water flowing over the bridge; and by quickly clearing the culverts that are blocked around this bridge.
“A major problem again is the bad state of the road as there are many potholes on the bridge, causing slow vehicular movement even if it does not rain. Fear of falling in the ditches and deep potholes by drivers, also contributes always to the traffic bottleneck on the bridge.
A resident, Boluwaji Adelere said, “The CEO of Ilaji Hotels and Resorts, Chief Dotun Sanusi, has for many years been responsible for periodic repair of the road.
“The billionaire businessman has been a great asset to our Ibadanland and our immediate communities here in Ona Ara. He has been of immense help; repairing roads and providing communities with electrification projects to make them live better lives.
“But it appears the philanthropic businessman is tired. If not, he would have effected some repairs on the road again and the deplorable state it is now, would have been ameliorated a bit.
“Governor Makinde is a man of the people, but pending when the bridge is rebuilt, he should, please, not allow casualties to be recorded as it had been during some past administrations”, the driver who simply identified himself as Mr. Taiwo, said.
Another resident, Madam Khafilat Ololade who had to alight from a bus and waddled through the river, lamented that “If as old as I am, I am still on the road at 10.45 p.m and I am still going to a settlement after Odeyale, when do I know I will get home tonight?
“How emotionally stable can I be to come out tomorrow morning to do my business? This condition is disturbing and it is not good for our health. Our Governor should quickly find a palliative solution to this as an Engineer that he is. We love him”, the woman in her 60s, said.
They were unanimous in their calls on the Governor to direct the Contractor to immediately begin palliative on the bridge and also hasten the works on the road to make life more meaningful to the residents of the area.