I went to Òkehò a few days ago to carry out some community development assignments in Okeho, Ilero, Isemi, Ìgànná and Otu. But, I didn’t go with my car because it was not economical given the many places I had in mind to touch which I wasn’t able even to estimate how many litres of fuel it would cost me at a glance before I embarked on the journey vis-a-vis the current cost of fuel.
So, I relied on Okada as a means of transportation to go to all the places I went because there are no taxis, Uber or public cabs in most towns in Òkèògùn due to the poor and unviable economic condition of our region in favour of such business.
In fact, I had to do my inter-town itineraries with the same mode of transportation because it used to take long hours before the commuter vehicles are filled up with passengers in nearly all motor parks.
Now, my rough estimation has confirmed that it must have been almost 30 years ago that I went from Òkehò to Ìgànná through Ìfò-erè/Akọ̀kọ̀ axis because of many years of abandonment of that road due to the terrible state of that road which kept deteriorating over the years.
Without any attempt at exaggerating the condition, all I can say is that it is worse than a death trap. It is not only that it is impassable to any car no matter how rugged it is, it is also because it has cut off many communities from the mainstream of socio-political and economic developmental activities as this same road is the road that connects Nigeria with all the Ecowas countries like Republic of Benin, Togo, Ghana and others on that axis.
Intermittently, the few trucks that have been managing to pass through this road have become so accustomed or, let me say, so addicted to the road that they might experience serious convulsion if they don’t pass through the road per day.
In the word of our people, such few vehicles that are still crawling on this road fall within the category of vehicles they often describe as “ọwọ́ èèbó ti kúrò lára rẹ̀” which can be interpreted to mean that the repair of a given vehicle is no longer within the maintenance purview or jurisdiction of the original manufacturer, but a special indigenous mechatronic repairers due to several mismanagements.
So, when I passed through the road to fulfil an important appointment that I didn’t want to miss with a community leader for 7.00 am early in the morning of Saturday, July 22, 2023, I kept wondering why people still refer to Ìfò-erè/Akọkọ̀ jungle as a road leading to any town because it was obvious there is no road, not because “men are at work”, but because “men are not at work”!
Well, maybe, for want of words, those who are regarding Òkehò-Ìgànná as a road are trying to make a faith pronouncement that they believe that, one day very soon, either the government of Ọ̀yọ́ State or the federal government would be gripped with compassion and moved with a bowel of mercy on the many communities and people of this axis Nigeria who have entered a serious lamentation mode like the Biblical Jeremiah.
But, on a very serious note and if the truth must be spoken, it is evidently glaring that there is no road from Ìsàlẹ̀ Alúbọ area of Òkehò to Ìgànná, an ancient town which, today, is the headquarter of Ìgànná Local Council Development Area (LCDA).
Furthermore, it is good to add that the few trucks that still pass through that road which I mentioned above are going there to carry farm produce because that axis is also where the majority of the farm settlements of Òkehò people reside. No wonder food items are costlier in Òkehò than the neighbouring towns because there are no supplies of farm produce direct from farmers to retail buyers like in other towns. Instead, Òkehò traders often buy food items from other neighbouring markets to resell in their markets.
Finally, the time has been far-spent, and many generations of people have come and gone while the new ones of yesterday have also become old and are passing away; there have been sunsets and sunrises and people are counting tick tick tick every moment, every day, every week, every month, year and decade, Òkehò-Ìgànná has remained the same. Now, on behalf of the good people of Òkehò, Ẹlẹ́kòkan, Ẹ̀bì, Ìṣerin, Ìgànná, Ìwéré’lé, Ìtasá, Ìdìkó’lé, Ìdìkó-àgọ́, Ìjìó, Ayégun and all the farm settlements that I don’t remember to mention, I plead again that government should do all within its power to fix this road within the shortest possible time to open up the great human, natural and material potentials of this part of Nigeria.