Mixed Reactions Trail Closure of Olaiya Intersection
Abimbola Abatta, Osogbo
Mixed reactions have trailed the temporary shut down of the popular Olaiya intersection in Osogbo, Osun State following the construction of the Olaiya Flyover in the state capital.
The State government had, in preparation for the immediate construction of the 625 metres flyover, shut down the Olaiya intersection on Thursday, February 18th, 2021.
It was revealed that the intersection would remain shut for nine months.
Explaining the rationale behind the construction, the government said the flyover would cushion the incessant and avoidable accidents and traffic gridlock associated with the area.
While expressing her thoughts on the flyover, a female trader, who simply identified herself as Enitiolorunfe enjoined the government to come to the rescue of the poor residents.
She pleaded with Governor Oyetola to provide stalls for traders whose source of livelihood revolves around Olaiya.
Maintaining that Oyetola’s government is a government of the poor, she implored Oyetola to help the poor masses, adding that he should not allow those who voted for him to have regrets.
According to her, “The Olaiya bridge is for our good. We are pleased with the development. God will continue to help Oyetola’s government.
“We know that his government is a government of the poor; however, we implore the governor, especially those of us whose source of livelihood revolves around Olaiya, we want him to come to the rescue of the poor. We want him to allow us to sell our goods wherever we see an opportunity. Also, he should allow us to return to our stalls once the bridge is complete.
“Although we cannot tell the government not to do its job because of our predicament, he should give us the chance to sell our goods. He should not allow the poor people who voted for him to have regrets.
“We want him to allow us to sell at available places, pending the time the bridge would be completed. Majority of those who sell things in the traffic were in tears. Many of them are children who fend for themselves. They live with guardians.
“There are no companies or industries in Osogbo where we can sell our goods. The governor should give us the chance to sell our goods at available spots if he cannot provide better options for us.
“I am a woman, and I have no one except God. Apart from my own children, I have about four orphans under my care. They are my relatives’ children.”
Lamenting the drastic reduction in the sale of goods and services, she said, “My source of income is from that Olaiya junction. I sell beans cake and bread. We can’t even buy bread as we used to because there are no sales.
Our children, in the past few weeks, have almost turned into other people’s children. We ourselves have almost become other people’s wives. When we don't make sales, and our children who used to sell in the traffic can no longer do so, we had to stop getting market, bread.
“I used to sell about five congos of beans before, now I find it difficult to sell one congo worth of Akara. We want to migrate to Fakunle, Osun Mall, First Bank and other areas. We implore the government to allow this.
“We went to a particular government school, Africa, but we were chased away. So, we are telling the government that it is either they kill us or we cause chaos. They should choose one. I am sure that Oyetola did not instruct those school officials to stop us from selling our goods.”
Speaking on the hike in transport fare across Osogbo, she said, “The fact that commercial drivers have to ply longer routes is responsible for the increase in the cost of transportation within Osogbo.
“I stay at Offa. From Offa to Aregbe, if I don't have 100 naira, I won't go anywhere. I have to board N70 bus to Akindeko from where I would trek down to this place,” she added.
Another resident, Mrs Akintunde said who expressed displeasure with the hike in transport fare said, “These drivers are the ones making things difficult for the people. The cost of fuel has not increased, yet they are increasing transport fare. Just imagine, from Ogo-Oluwa to Dele Yessir, I am expected to pay N150. Is it my fault the government is doing flyover? Why must I be the one to suffer for it?”
A motorcyclist, Sodiq said, “We don't see passengers as before because they can’t pay what we charge. There is traffic congestion here and there. And we are compelled to take alternative routes which are longer than the normal roads.
“As a result, we don’t convey passengers to far destinations. By the time we tell them to pay N200 per drop, they will start complaining. And this is affecting the business.”
Madam Betty, a resident who owns a provision store around Olaiya junction, complained bitterly about the construction, which according to her has affected the delivery of goods to her shop.
“Fine, the flyover has its advantages, but it is affecting my business. Trucks should have delivered goods to my shop this week, but they cannot. I wish they can just allow essential vehicles like that to pass through so that our source of livelihood will not be negatively affected. The government should not use their project to disrupt our lives.”
Meanwhile, a male resident who refused to mention his name commended the construction of the Olaiya Flyover, while noting that there is no pain without gain.
He said, “Everyone is complaining now, but this project will benefit us eventually. I understand the plights of the people, but we should be prepared to sacrifice our comfort for a short while for a greater good.”
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