THE City of Ilorin has been one of the most rapidly transforming cities in North Central Nigeria in the last decade. The aggressive influx of people and the springing forth of new businesses on a daily basis are just some of the few expansions the city has known.
Kwara State, being one of the oldest states in Nigeria has had its fair share of early development. As far back as the 70s, Kwara state had been a centerpiece of national and international learning, having one of the few and prestigious Federal Universities established within the secure grip of its borders.
In the 80s, industrialization was streaming through the core of the state as many vast industrial monuments were established. This trend of growth and expansion has been a regular feature in the state.
However, the last five years, has been a whirlwind of increasing achievements. Logically, with more growth comes more responsibility.
As more people migrate into Ilorin, the once easily plied roads and routes have now become increasingly difficult to commute through, as more users are being added to the community.
A section of a road in Ilorin
In Ilorin, previous five-minute drives have tripled in duration and hold ups are now more frequent in the fast growing city.
In a recent study on the traffic situation in Ilorin, conducted by Dr Adekunle J Aderamo, traffic has built-up in Ilorin at junctions located where institutional activities, commercial points, markets, retailing shops and motor parks (bus stops) predominate.
This pattern spreads across the entire city and makes commuting that was once a piece of cake, now a daunting challenge.
In view of this, the State Government has made a move to stem the rising tide of this scenario by creating the Kwara State Road Traffic Management Authority (KWARTMA).
However, for many motorists, this ingenious idea is but a drop in the bucket compared to the magnitude of the problem on ground.
So, what exactly are the thoughts of the drivers and road users on the situation?
Speaking with some of the road users, revealed diverse opinions as to how they perceive the present state of traffic.
One of such respondents, Mr Ademola, a civil servant in Ilorin, while speaking to our correspondent said, “ during the early hours of the day, precisely between 7am-9am and also at closing hours of work at about 4pm and 6pm, traffic has now become hectic”.
Speaking further, Mr Ademola said those times have now become rush hours in Ilorin and it has become an issue requiring an immediate help from the Government.
According to him the traffic congestion has also caused a lot of parking problems. He said “hardly will you find somewhere to park when you go to areas like Taiwo, Unity, Maraba and Agbooba”.
Mrs Abdulkadri a business woman who owns a shop at the Maraba area of Ilorin said, “the traffic light in that area malfunctions a lot thereby leading to confusion for those that are driving along the route”.
Another commuter, Babatunde Aminu, a student of Kwara Poly, said the traffic encountered along the road since the relocation of the Teaching hospital has been very high.
“I now have to get up as early as 5am, and find my way to Maraba junction before 7 am, if not I won’t get to school in time”, he said.
Some of the taxi drivers that ply the Post Office – Tanke route, say they have had to increase their fares to be able to meet up with the strains the traffic congestion at tipper garage and oke-odo, puts on their profit.
One of the men, who said his name was Baba Ahmed, said more of his earnings now go into purchasing fuel than ever before because of the longer periods he spends on the road due to traffic.
To see if the claims of these road users were as they claimed they were, our correspondent went to those areas to verify.
Reports are that in spite of the commendable effort of the men of KWARTMA, the population of road users to the size of the roads are unevenly matched.
It was evident, that the efforts of the Kwara Road Traffic Management Authority has simmered down the effect of the hold-ups. However several motorist are asking the Government to further increase their intervention in the situation.
Mr Jimoh Aliu a Government worker we spoke to said “it would be recalled that sometimes this year, the Kwara State Assembly directs Ministry of Works and Transport to remove the traffic light at the Geri-Alimi round about”. He said “this is due to the fact that the traffic lights in that area were causing more traffic confusion rather than easing it and invariably cause increase loss of man hour”.
One commuter along Taiwo road, Yusuf Aina , said he “thinks the government should focus on creating more pliable bi-routes”. He added ” if more tarred alternative routes are available, people would use those roads more, hereby decongesting the major roads”.
As more people come into the State of harmony, it would be expedient that a more intensive approach to the situation would be of the highest essence.
The future of Kwara is brimming with limitless opportunities, but a city handicapped by bottle neck traffic congestion and repeated waste of productive man hours, can not be as developed as it should be.
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