Elemoro seeks more development for Ibeju-Lekki

Monarch marks five years on the throne
By Tope Templer Olaiya
BARELY two weeks from now, there would be a lockdown on the Lekki-Epe expressway as drums would be rolled out at the Elemoro’s palace, Ibeju Lekki, to celebrate the fifth coronation anniversary of Oba Tajudeen Afolabi Adebanjo Elemoro, the Onitedo of Itedo, Oke-Odo in Iwerekun land.
There are five reigning monarchs in the expansive Ibeju-Lekki local council area, domiciled in the Epe division of the state. They include the Onibeju of Ibeju, Oba Rafiu Olusegun Bamidele Salami; Onilekki of Lekki, Oba Olumuyiwa Ogunbekun; Onise of Ise, Oba Ganiu Adegbesan; Onimedu of Orimedu, Oba Hamzat Atiku; and the Onitedo of Itedo, Oba Elemoro.

Oba Elemoro

Oba Elemoro

Surrounded by traditional rulers and palace chiefs at the weekend, Oba Elemoro excitedly reminisced on the journey of the last five years. According to him, a lot of developments have occurred in his kingdom during his reign to be thankful for. “There is nothing in life without its good and bad side. But in our case the good has overshadowed the bad. This gladdens our heart because God has been by our side. I have been on the throne of my fathers since June 29, 1996, though I had spent 14 years on the throne before the Lagos State recognition came with the formal handing over of the staff of office to me on April 27, 2010.

“Since then, there has been rapid development in the land but we still need more. We have left three hectares of land to be used for primary and secondary school. Our Senator, Gbenga Bariwu Ashafa, has built a primary school for us waiting to be commissioned for use and for the secondary school, the Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Olayinka Oladunjoye has promised that once the Akinwunmi Ambode administration is sworn in, preparation would be activated to kick-start the secondary school building.

Oba Elemoro

Oba Elemoro

“In addition to that, we have reserved one hectare for a community library to be built by the state government. We have also reserved land for a mobile ambulance to be stationed on the busy Lekki-Epe expressway, where we record several accidents. The facility for this has been built by Senator Ashafa. It only remains to be equipped with ambulances and personnel to provide first aid treatment to accident victims before they are transferred to hospital,” the monarch said.

It is just four days to the inauguration of the Governor-elect, Akinwunmi Ambode, but his desk is already piled with a huge file of ‘To-Do’ lists. To that file is added a few notes from the monarch, which is of upmost importance to Lagosians living in the Ibeju-Lekki axis. They include the bad state of roads in the area, absence of drainage in the water-logged communities, lack of schools and hospitals/Primary Healthcare Centres and rising insecurity and kidnapping.

Oba Elemoro

Oba Elemoro

“The road by the police station once it rains is flooded because the flow of the water from the canal to the ocean has been blocked. We have made several appeals to the state but nothing has been done. Once it rains, the expressway is always flooded to the extent that if an inexperienced driver runs into it, it would make the car tumble. “So many lives have been lost that way. Last year alone, between myself and my chiefs, we have spent over one million naira to provide palliative measure but that is not a lasting solution, because until the drainage way is opened up and some buildings on the right of way are brought down, there would be danger in the nearest future.

“On the spate of insecurity, we appeal to the state government to hasten the commissioning of the Area J Elemoro Police Command. We need security because there has been an upsurge of crime, especially kidnapping in Ibeju-Lekki.”

The Palace of the Elemoro

The Palace of the Elemoro

Those who live long on earth will have stories to tell and Oba Elemoro has a lot, both good and bad, to share. One of the sore tales is surviving two kidnap/assassination attempt on his life within six months last year. The invaders, suspected to be land-grabbers, popularly known as Ajagungbales, invaded the palace of the Oba on May 10, 2014 and November 24, 2014 at midnight, breaking a section of the fence and shooting into the air in frenetic search for the monarch. Highlighting the gravity of the invasion, Elemoro noted that it is a taboo for the king to be slain on the throne, especially in Yorubaland. “An Oba should not run away from the stool of his fathers. It has never happened in modern times. For some hoodlums to be confronting me with weapons and guns in my private residence is really scary.”

 

 

 

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Ogombo, amid highbrow Lekki-Epe, longs for road development

By Tope Templer Olaiya, Assistant Lagos City Editor

FOR the residents of Ogombo community in Eti-Osa East Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of Lagos State, it is time the village shed its toga of primitive settlement and caught up with its neighbours in the Lekki-Ajah corridor, which includes Awoyaya, Sangotedo, Ibeju-Lekki, Okun-Ajah and Ajah and others.

   With inhabitants predominantly fishermen and farmers, Ogombo, which is estimated to have a landmass of over 2,000 hectares, is daily receiving influx of settlers from other parts of Lagos.

   The prospects of this relatively unpopular community look bright as the ruling families are in possession of a global Certificate-of-Occupancy (C-of-O) covering 550.11 hectares, which is more than Lagos Island. Residents claim that Ogombo is the largest community in the whole of Eti-Osa.

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There are many notable organisations in the neighbouring community among which is the Pan African University. Prominent corporate and individual citizens have acquired most of the plots in the adjacent areas and the community is close to the proposed site at Epe that had been mapped out for the Lagos airport and deep seaport. 

   Residents of the place, some of whom have built impressive mansions, cannot boast to their colleagues and friends that they are living in the highbrow Lekki-Ajah axis of Lagos.

   The reason is that, no matter the make of your vehicle, whether sedan or sports utility, you can’t drive it to your house in the area because of the appalling state of the roads.      The vehicles are parked at some distance away from their owners’ homes precisely at the community square, where development partially ends. After the cars are safely parked, their owners trudge through the sandy roads to their houses.

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For those who do not know the community, the way to the place is through Abraham Adesanya Estate and the stretch of over five kilometres is well tarred, but this terminates at the Ogombo roundabout.

   To the dwellers in the community who are well over 6,000, the few months of the dry season are the best time of the year. Once it is rainy season, it gets worse, as the roads become nearly impassable.

   A concerned resident, who is the chief executive officer of the Institute of Credit Administration (ICA), Dr. Chris Onalo, said during the rainy season, everywhere is completely flooded.

   “You can’t pass through Ogombo without folding up your trousers to your knees or using rain boots. You wade through the water until you get to where you park your car. To show you how terrible the situation is, even in this dry season, we are still using machine to drain water from the roads.

   “The whole of this area is waterlogged and this problem is beyond what community efforts can solve. We need a proper drainage system to eject water to the lagoon, apart from inner-city roads that will link the communities and reduce congestion of the Lekki-Epe Expressway,” he said.

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 It is not all bad news in the area, as Onalo gives thumbs up to the security in Ogombo. “This place is very safe. You can keep your car anywhere and nothing would happen to it. Initially, when we came here, we were scared that typical of Lagos, they would vandalize your car or even steal it, but nothing of such has ever happened.

   Just a few people who bought lands close to the roundabout have the luxury of driving into their homes, for the majority of residents, the roads are not motorable and the cars are always safe where it is parked.

   “However, from time to time, there are pockets of incidents of petty stealing, but the security is marshaled by members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC). We also have a police divisional post in the area.”

   A community leader and the Supervisor for Works in the Eti-Osa East LCDA, Mr. Samad Oseni Ogunbo, told The Guardian that as a community, they have been championing for the construction of a senior secondary school for Ogombo. 

   “What we have now is a community school that terminates at Junior Secondary School Three (JSS3). They will then be transferred to Olomu, which is in Ajah and it is a huge risk, especially now that the Lekki-Epe road has been expanded.

   “We record accidents daily on the road and school children are usually the victims. It was the same situation that led to the death of six pupils at Ikota recently. So, if our children can complete their secondary education here, it will reduce the influx of people going to the expressway.

   “In addition, a lot of traditional activities take place in many of these communities, which involve ritual killings and the most vulnerable people used for such acts are school children. We don’t want them to be exposed to this ugly culture, that is why we are appealing to government to come to our rescue.”

   Ogunbo explained that there are three existing roads that need critical attention – the Okun Ajah-Ogombo road, Ogombo-Okun Mokun road and the most important, Ogombo-Sangotedo road.

   “There is no need for someone going to Epe, Eleko and environs to get to Ajah when you can link the Lekki-Epe expressway from Sangotedo. The same thing applies to those coming from Epe to this area, there is no need returning to Ajah and Abraham Adesanya before getting here.

   “Once the road infrastructure is in place, there would be numerous development in this area and this would also benefit over 20 road settlement villages around us. On our part as a council, we have presented this to the state government and the reaction we get is some experts coming around to take pictures and measurement, but what we want is action.”