The quiet industrial town of Igbesa on the border between Ogun and Lagos states is set for a new lease of life with the approval of the construction of the historic Captain Davies Road by the Ogun State Government after several decades of neglect.
But there are fears that the respite may be short-lived due to alleged efforts by a Chinese business concern in the area, the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone, to frustrate the project.
Our correspondent sighted a letter written to the Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun, by the elders of Igbesa and Ejila communities adjoining the controversial road, to express their concern over recent developments.
In the letter, the elders led by Chief Ajibola Olagbaiye, the Asiwaju of Igbesa, thanked the Governor for awarding the contract stating that several communities along the route of the road had waited for many decades for the road project to see the light of day.
He added that it would be a most unkind cut if after the long wait the agony of the communities was to be further prolonged by the diversion to the road being sought by the management of Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone.
According to Chief Olagbaiye, the Ogun-Guangdong Free Trade Zone management has sought a diversion of the road, claiming that a law prevents a thoroughfare from passing through the Free Trade Zone. The requested diversion will increase the length of the road from 8.5kms to 14kms.
This, he said, will increase the hardship of students in the area who use the road to access their schools and farmers who access their farmlands through the route, as well as other road users.
The road, he added, had been in existence for nearly a century before the company arrived in the community.
Chief Olagbaiye advised that rather than seek the elongation of the road with the attendant delay in project completion, the management of the Free Trade Zone should borrow a leaf from the Ewekoro Cement factory along the Lagos-Abeokuta road which provides an overhead bridge and conveyor belts across the main road to link facilities on both sides of the highway.
While praising the Governor for bringing relief to the communities, the elders urged him to ensure speedy resolution of disagreements over the diversion to enable the contractors meet the 4-month completion date set by the state government.
Igbesa is a critical artery into the industrial hubs of Agbara and Ota in Ogun State as well as into Lagos State and the ECOWAS subregion.