Incessant gridlock at the Camp Junction on the Abeokuta/Ibadan Highway

Incessant gridlock at the Camp Junction on the Abeokuta/Ibadan Highway

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Oluwafemi Olaiya Balogun, has again, appealed to the Federal Government, to as a matter of urgency, commence a total reconstruction of the deplorable Abeokuta/Ibadan Highway, as well as the adjoining 6.5km Camp – UNAAB Road.

The appeal came on the heels of the harrowing ordeal, daily experienced by motorists, particularly staff and students of the University, plying the roads.

Fielding questions from newsmen on the poor state of the roads, Professor Balogun expressed dismay that the roads were neglected to such state of deterioration, saying the situation had worsen to a critical point, as incessant gridlock, which often last for hours, had become a regular nightmare to motorists and commuters.

The Vice-Chancellor stated that the attendant traffic congestion, occasioned by the appalling state of the roads “is so disturbing that I leave the Vice-Chancellor’s Lodge as early as 6:30a.m, for me to be able to be on campus by 8:00a.m. At times, I don’t get to the campus until 9:00a.m. The state of the road is that bad”.

Reiterating his call for urgent attention on the road, Prof. Balogun maintained that both Abeokuta/Ibadan and the Camp/UNAAB-Alabata roads would require total reconstruction.

“In the case of Abeokuta/Ibadan road, the reconstruction should not be anything short of four lanes, so as to ease congestion.

I don’t know whether you’ve been to Ilorin recently where there are feeder roads to support the main roads? But here, we only have one route, without feeders. Total reconstruction is what we need here. It is not a question of cut and paste or cut and patch”, he emphasised.

He recalled that the face-saving patching of Camp/Alabata Road on two occasions by the immediate past government in Ogun State, preparatory to the visit of former military leader, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and the President of Liberia, Dr. (Mrs.) Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, to the University, for their conferment of Honorary Degrees, was counter-productive, as the exercise could not stand the test of time.

Speaking further, Prof. Balogun said since he assumed office, he had been mounting pressures on the Federal Government, through the National Assembly to fix the potholes-ridden Camp/Alabata road, but to no avail.

According to him, “let it be known that since 2007 that I arrived here, I have been requesting the National Assembly to allocate fund for this University for the resurfacing of the Camp/Alabata road”.

“Nothing was heard from government in 2007. I made the request again in 2008, nothing was heard. By 2010, the University thought its prayer had been answered when through the assistance of the National Assembly, N600 million was voted for the road by government in the University’s 2010 budget while about N200m was voted for intra campus road”,he added.

Prof. Balogun stressed that despite the appropriation, the fund was not released to execute the road projects and that efforts at maintaining the roads, had only been sustained by members of the University community, through the Dean of Student Affairs, Professor Sam Oluwalana, whom he lauded for occasionally mobilizing students to repair the bad portions of Abeokuta/Camp/Ibadan Road.

“As a result of the understanding of the students, they have been voluntarily fixing the bad portions. Imagine students, leaving their classrooms to go and fix roads, using materials bought with University money. I can’t but always thank Prof. Oluwalana, who despite his tight schedule always mobilise the students, who I also appreciate for their selfless service”.

He pointed out that the routine menial maintenance was the best the University could do to salvage the roads from total collapse, pointing out that it would be fool hardly for any “University to expend N600m on the rehabilitation of Federal or State road at the expense of its core mandates of research, training and extension services”.