“Govt, Industrial Estate Companies Are Doing Nothing For Us” – Mr Odugbesi, Chairman, Arosewonle CDA, Agodo-Alara
Mr Niyi Odugbesi is the chairman, Arosewonle Community Development Association, a major component of the Agodo-Alara Central CDA which won the Best CDA in Lagos State 2015. He explained the formation, unbundling, achievements and challenges of the CDA to THE IMPACT Newspaper’s Publisher/Reporter-in-Chief, Kunle Adelabu in an interview which took place at the Agodo community. Excerpts:
IMPACT: What is your name sir and your position?
Mr Odugbse: My name is Mr Niyi Odugbesi JP. The Chairman, Arosewonle CDA, Agodo-Alara
IMPACT: I will like you to do a clarification on the popular Agodo-Alara CDA that won the 2015 Lagos State Best Community Development Association and yours?
Mr Odugbesi: Agodo-Alara CDA is the umbrella body of all CDAs in Agodo-Alara which were originally seven but we are trying to create another two to make it nine. The major part of the Agodo-Alara community fall into Ogun State but fortunately, the two CDAs that fall into Lagos State experienced development before those that are in Ogun State. Arowosele is a part of the Lagos State side of the Agodo-Alara.
IMPACT: Can you please take us back to when the CDA was formed and the purpose for its formation?
Mr Odugbesi: The purpose of forming CDA in any community is for development and I remember that it was formed about twenty years back. As at the time it was formed, we registered it with the Lagos State Government because the Lagos part was more developed and the Ogun State axis which formed more than 50% of the landmass was not. At as that time also, the only government closer to us and from which we could benefit was the Lagos State government.
IMPACT: What has been the challenges faced by the community over time?
Mr Odugbesi: Like the old saying that, “any dog that is been fed by many people will most times go hungry because all his benefactors will believe someone among them would have fed him and at the end no one will”. Our problem is not different from the problems of any other border-town which suffers neglect and abandonment. This is what we have in our consciousness that made us did our registration in Lagos State. The placement has been a major challenge and around our community, we also have many big companies and yet we have no feeling of neither the presence of the government or the company’s social responsibilities. The community bought the transformer we are using, established and constructed the school which won us the Lagos 2015 best CDA award. Look at the road and the drainage from Odogunyan through the Industrial Estate into Agodo-Alara which is terribly bad and we made several efforts to the companies and the government, yet no result.
IMPACT: What about the challenges of air and land pollution due to the activities of the companies around your community which are generating waste and other substances?
Mr Odugbesi: Officially, the authority concern has are yet to receive the report of the effects of the activities of the companies operating in the industrial estate on our environment and the people and since we are not expert we cannot make any assertion. But we know that definitely there will be harzard from the effluent and fumes from these companies like we have the PZ plant where they produce the detergent and others. We have been wondering due to recent experiences where we lost lots of people to a particular ailment. It may be natural death but we don’t know but recently the same ailment (cancer) has killed many of our people. Since no medical examination has been conducted we can only conjure assumption and we are expecting the government to come around to conduct examination to determine the effects of these companies on our community and the people vis-à-vis our recent experiences where we have lost more people to cancer. We have companies dealing in iron melting, waste and many others including the PZ plant. We cannot really know until the government conducts thorough findings and we are pleading for quick intervention.
IMPACT: Can you tell us how your CDA emerged as the best in Lagos State?
Mr Odugbesi: It is an honour very well deserved despite the fact that we have not really felt the impact of governance in our community as far as developmental programme is concerned from time immemorial till date. The truth of the matter is that the two transformers we are using were bought by the community and we are also responsible for the wiring and the poles until recently when the government came with NIPP. The award was basically due to the Agodo-Alara Community Primary School that we constructed through contributions of the residents. I think that is the major thing in addition to the two transformers that we bought. Each of the transformers cost about N1.2million. Though the school is yet to be completed but we presently have seven classrooms.
IMPACT: If you are to call on the government what will you be requesting for as a community?
Mr Odugbesi: First and foremost, we want the government to complete the school and put it in good shape. Secondly, there are two major roads that require government’s attention, the Odogunyan-Industrial Estate-Agodo-Alara and the boundary road, Ita Oluwo-Odo-Kekere Roads. Another major road that the government should repair as matter of urgency is the abandoned Isocares road from Losi-Oba junction to Agodo-Alara. Work has started on the road and the road was about 60% completed before it was abandoned. We also need new transformers to complement the existing ones because currently, we are going on load-shedding with one-day on, one-day of arrangement. Government should be intervening so that the concern authority can energize the facilities on ground.
IMPACT: In this society, once we are given an award we usually go to sleep rather than seeing such as a challenge to work more. Is your CDA currently working or planning to embark on any project soon?
Mr Odugbesi: We will soon be embarking on palliative measure on the road from Odogunyan. We want to find ways of opening the drainage which has been blocked and we have been trying to contact the companies for any assistance to hire caterpillar to open-up the road. We are planning to do this before heavy rain downpour so that we can have respite on the road. We also intend grading other roads and a major project after the raining season, we are considering constructing drainages in every street of Agodo-Alara and we are expecting assistance from the companies and both state and local government. However, if such assistance is not forthcoming, we are determine to execute the project because the reward for good work is more work.
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