Bounce Exclusive: All Roads Now Lead To Magboro
This is a story of failed promises, neglect, undeserved abandonment and suffering.
Could all this translate to celebration?
The name Magboro became popular in the early 2000s when several Lagos residents began to migrate into this quiet Ogun state community in search of cheap accommodation.
The community, which shares boundaries with notable towns like Ibafo, Mowe, Akute and Arepo, rose into national prominence, thanks to the media but the stories have not been anything to that would fire up a desire to live there.
Although it lies about 20km from Lagos, it has no metropolitan feature in common with the self acclaimed center of excellence.
Decades without electricity, an abandoned road project and omo onile (land grabbers) notoriety remained synonymous with Magboro.
Magboro was constantly regarded as the fastest growing community in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State and one would wonder what the attraction is as it continues to be one of the most sought-after for people who want to own their homes.
The tales of no road, no electricity, non-functional health facility and an underfunded community school, etc., became opportunity for residents to provide provide services to one another.
Generator technicians reigned supreme. Several people opened businesses like car wash, creches, solar panel and inverter installation, private hospitals, private schools and many more.
Just when one thought the lack of power and the cost of running generators would kill those businesses, modern shopping centres began to spring up, food, water and beverages production companies multiplied.
At this point, there was no reason to wonder what the attraction is. This appears to be a land of opportunities.
With some of their challenges well taken care of by smart entrepreneurs, residents had only two major problems left; lack of steady electricity and bad roads.
One would expect the Ogun state government to take the community seriously at least for its revenue potential but all they offered during this period was failed promises.
For years, residents blamed the current APC government for the sorry state of their roads after failing to fund the completion of an already dug drainage.
A frozen food seller in Magboro told Bounce News in December 2016 that she was willing to cope with the lack of electricity “if government could just fix the road”. Yes, it was that bad.
At that time, there were rumours of a private company planning to fix the road and negotiating terms for putting a toll gate. Of course, it was met with mixed reactions.
Fast-forward to April 2017 and the people’s wish for government intervention would become a reality. Five years after the contract was awarded, the same contractor that dug their road out and left it worse is back to work.
Heavy machines have returned to the road, working all day on the large drainage system. The road has been graded, filled all the way to Access bus stop and now ready to be tarred.
The construction workers say they have been mobilized to work on the road, all the way to Makogi, another community in the inner parts of Obafemi Owode.
Elemure is an auto mechanic who has operated in the community for over six years. He spoke to Bounce News.
“I am so happy with this road project. Now our expertise will be better appreciated when the jobs we do last longer and customers are happy.
“Car owners will spend less on vehicle maintenance, we will earn better from workmanship and they will stop blaming us for everything that goes wrong with their vehicles.
“It is a great relief for everyone here and our families too, especially the children who suffer bumpy rides to their schools every day. It will even reduce what we spend on drugs.”
The return of electricity is still existing only in the papers but this road will go a long way in making life more bearable for the over a million-people living in Magboro.
Meanwhile, some residents are not excited yet.
A tricycle rider, Abdulahi, wonders if the Ogun state government can be trusted again.
“This is the same government that told us during campaigns in 2011 that they would give us light and open our road.
“All they did was fail to give us light and destroy the road we were managing, deceiving us that they wanted to build express.
“They came back in 2015 to tell us the same story and we are just seeing them in 2017. Is this not another trick to prepare for their 2018 campaigns?
“I will start my own celebration when the road is complete and all the rumours of collecting toll fee turns out to be a lie.”
Will the Ogun state government take this challenge as motivation to ensure successful completion of the Magboro road this time?
The people are watching in silence.