The Oke-Aro-/Matogun in Ogun State is one of the closest roads to Lagos State as it comes after the Iju-Ishaga round about. Until lately, this major road had become a death trap for vehicles and commuters who use it. Bad weather and harsh environmental conditions had resulted in heavy erosion of major parts of the highway and recent rains have also turned some section of the road into mud-filled river.
However, for residents of the area, Oladayo Oyebowale, popularly known as Mr. Solution, won’t be forgotten in a hurry for bringing an end to their plight by rehabilitating the long stretch of Matogun-Oke Aro road linking up the densely populated settlement to Ifako-Ijaiye.
Oyebowale is an unusual Nigerian, who is adept at what he does, property business. He buys and sells land and also builds homes. But he is more famous for pursuing his passion, which is bringing solutions to immediate problems.
As president of a non-governmental organization, De Real Community Self-help project, he has marshaled a committee of friends, who pooled resources together to carry out self-help projects in communities. “We focus on two things – rehabilitation of human lives and roads. We work with drug addicts in garages to bring them out addiction and live normal lives again,” he told The Guardian.
According to him, they are into road rehabilitation not to compete with government or make any political gain from it, but rather to add value to society. “We work on drainage, grading and sometimes laying of asphalt and interlocking blocks where necessary. We are presently rehabilitating Matogun-Oke Aro road to make it motorable.
When The Guardian visited the area at the weekend, it was work in progress by the group amidst the light drizzles. The drainage had been constructed, the road already bulldozed and stone base poured on some sections of the over 5km inner-city road. And there are plans if there are sufficient funds to lay asphalt on the road.
“Before now, it was hellish for residents, especially when it rains. People park their cars at home and trek or take motorcycle to navigate out of this area to Iju or Agege. We are doing this because we believe government cannot do it all, this is why as a group, we are doing the best we can to bring relief to this community.
“We started with N2 million as a committee of friends. Since then, we have been getting more support from some members of the public, particularly motorists, who drop a token each time they see us working on the road. We haven’t had any grant from anybody and we have no big man sponsoring us.
“We have worked on Toyin-Oke Aro road, Toyin Giwa road, Taju Bello street, and Enilolobo road, which fall between Ifako Ijaiye local council in Lagos State and Ifo local council of Ogun State. They are presently calling us in some other local council areas like Ado Odo-Ota local council. We are ready to do more but we are hampered by the paucity of funds. We make do with donations of money and materials and we can guarantee that we will use it for the road project.”
To support De Real Community Self-help call 08135927288.