Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Asa Local Government Area of Kwara State has three districts; Onire, Owode and Afon. Afon is the headquarters. The area stretches from the urban fringes of Ilorin to the northern boundary of Osun State. It shares boundary with Oyun and Ifelodun local government areas in the eastern part and Moro Local Government towards the North.
Aboto-Alfa operates traditional agrarian economy. It is believed to be the largest producer of cashew and soya beans in the state. It also famous for high quality vegetables and crops like cassava, maize and guinea corn.
Sadly, all the roads in the area are be in a horrible shape. The ones adjudged to be in worse condition include Aboto-Oja to Aboto- Alfa communities up to the Oguntoyinbo, Odo-Odo boundary with Osun State.
Seventy-year-old community leader, Alhaji Idris Jimoh Enukoroyin, said: “Members of the community have cried out to the state governments since the time of the late Governor Mohammed Lawal, many times to do something about the roads to prevent further loss of lives.
“Since I was born, the road has not been rehabilitated. What we have been doing in this community is self-help. The primary school was built by indigenes, who tasked themselves to contribute to the establishment of the school before government took it over.
“If you talk of electricity we tasked ourselves before we extended light into the community. Since inception of the democracy it is only Governor Muhammed Lawal that assisted the community. Other governments that came after kept on promising but failed to fulfil them.
“Our hope was rekindled when former Senate president started Afon-Aboto-Oja/Aboto-Alfa up to the Kwara boundary at Odo-Odo. But unfortunately the contractor stopped few kilometres after Afon the local government headquarters. The project has since been abandoned after Saraki left office.
One major assistance we want from the new governor is in the areas of basic facilities. What we want the government to help us to do include rehabilitation of our roads, construction of modern market, provision of pipe borne water and secondary school. Our children trek over eight kilometres before they attend secondary school.
“We are appealing to Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq to help us and let us feel the dividends of democracy in our village. He can start by asking the contractor handling the construction of the road to site and/or consider the village in its rural development road he intends to embark upon.
“Alangua Aboto-Alfa, Alhaji AbdulRahman Oloko and residents of the village begged the governor to come to our aid as the village is suffering untold hardship before we exit and enter the community.”
Hajia Aliyu Hawa lamented how a 32-year-old pregnant woman with her cousin were killed by armed bandits in cold blood while trekking to neighbouring village to sell her wares about a year ago: “If there is a good road, vehicles will be coming to carry passengers to other towns for business on market days
“Some of the villages in Asa Local Government share boundary running into tens of kilometres with Osun State. They have their roads tarred up to their boundary to the West and Oyun Council area with Ifelodun Local Government to the East and Moro Local Government Area the North.”
Another community leader, Umar Musa, said: “Osun State and Oyun LG recently begun the construction of their own end of the affected roads, where a private university is being located, leaving the Asa side about three kilometres to Aboto-Alfa unattended to.
“Since the creation of Kwara State, we have never enjoyed for once on this road, either during the rainy season or the dry season . It has greatly affected our community as our economic activities have been paralysed.”
Alhaji Seidu Abubakar said: “It would have been better for the road to remain the way it was before the contract was awarded. The joy the people had when construction equipment moved to the area had gone. It was becoming obvious that the road contract was a deceit in the first place.”
Another resident, Mr Wahab Yisa, “wondered why the road project was stopped. Many traders have stopped coming to trade because of bad road. Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq should consider the community in the next rural roads to be awarded.
“If possible the contractors former Senate President Saraki awarded the road contract can be asked to continue the work. The contractor said the construction of the roads is to terminate at the Osun boundary.
“Worried by the state of the roads, youths from the village embarked on written series of letters to government since Bukola Saraki governorship followed by Abdulfatah Ahmed’s administration nothing was done despite various promises even to the extent in 2013 a peaceful protest in the community to draw the attention of the state government.
“Aboto Alfa village is no longer easily accessible due to the dilapidated nature of the road to the village. For years, the villagers faced the challenges of bad road such that Okada riders tripled their fares to the community.
“Their joy therefore knew no bounds when, during the campaign for the 2013 governorship election, Ahmed and Saraki then promised to construct the Afon-Aboto Oja-Aboto–Alfa- Osun State boundary Road during his second tenure. Saraki said it was a part of his constituency project awarded the contract for the project was promptly awarded to a construction company, and work started in earnest towards the close of the 8th Assembly unfortunately work stopped.”
Meanwhile, a senior government official who did not want his name in print because he was not authorised to speak urged rural communities to persevere and support the government in its stride to ensure rural areas are developed to stem rural urban migration as the new administration would ensure even development extend to nooks and crannies of the state.”