By Eric Elezuo
Chevy View Estate, located along the supposedly highbrow area of the Chevron Drive, in Lekki, is bordered by Bera and Chevron estates on both sides. The Estate, according to residents, was an eyesore many years ago when the residents took possession. The roads were crooked, flood was constantly having a field day and electricity was a tall dream, in fact, a mirage even as getting water is always a story for another day. The story of Chevy View Estate is chronicle of government’s inordinate neglect, parastatal’s extortion tendencies and lackadaisical attitude of those programmed to attend to the needs of the people.
Buoyed by the desire to give the necessary assistant to government and make their environment habitable, the residents began self-help programmes in the area of roads, electricity and general infrastructure with the hope that the Lagos State government will zero in on their efforts and do the needful as a listening and caring government. But many years after, their aspirations remain a mirage, more like hallucination. No government presence has been registered in the neighbourhood, the millions of naira spent so far by residents on projects notwithstanding!
Comprising about 19 districts namely Adegbenle, Emmanuel Emenike Street, Gbenga Ademulagun, Hawau Abikan, Ibukun Oluwa Awosika, James Orugbo Close, Jide Agbalaya, Udeco Medical Road, Williams Onoh, among others, Chevy View Estate had organized itself in the very best of ways, tasking responsive residents, who have willingly parted with huge sums of money for the projects that government has blatantly refused to execute. The overbearing weight of this burden has now necessitated the clarion call to the government of Lagos State to come to their immediate aid.
Speaking to journalist during a tour of the facilities on the estate to examine the amount as well as inspect the extent of jobs so far executed, the chairman of the Chevy View Estate Residents’ Association, Mr. Chris Onyekwere, lamented the neglect the estate has suffered over the years, saying the residents have practically become their own government; ‘providing electricity, water, road and the most ambitious of them all, construction of a drainage-canal system for themselves without government assistance in as much deputations have been made to the seat of government at Alausa, asking for assistance, but all to no avail.
“We have written to the government, sent delegates and done everything legally possible to get the government to be involved in this project, but all over pleas have fallen on deaf ears. As at today, if not for where they government of former Governor Babatunde Fashola stopped the canal construction, long before he left office, nothing else has been heard about it,” he said.
Adding to his narrative, the Financial Secretary, Mr. Kayode Awolu, said that since they are the ones that live there, they took it upon themselves to do something at least to safeguard the lives of their young ones and family from the flood, which when it rains, reaches waist length, damaging property and affecting lives. He stressed that at the moment, a contract of N64, 000, 000 has been awarded for the canal construction which cuts through Williams Onoh through to Udeco Medical Road.
“The quest to protect our families has made us engage a contractor at the rate of N64, 000, 000 for the construction of the canal so that the water of the flood could be properly channeled. It is not only about the canal, the interlock stone roads which we have already done, have been excavated and destroyed for the canal. The same will be rebuilt afterwards, and explains the high cost of the project. Right now, we have exhausted what we have, and the residents have been stretched to the limit and they can bear no more. This is why we are calling on the good government of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to extend his searchlight to Chevy View Estate. We have suffered enough,” he said.
In less than one year, the estate has financially committed to diverse projects as follows:
- Dr Udo Ugo road Project – N7,406,887.50
- Hammed Kasumu culvert project – N 19,945,300
- Hammed Kasumu road project – so far is N5,940, 000 (on going)
- Udeco Medical road project – N33,700,141,65
- Udeco Medical drainage system – N15,767,100
- William Onoh drainage system with contract value of N64, 000,000 (ongoing)
It is worthy of note that all monies were contributed by residents. The plight of Chevy View Estate residents is a classic example of the insincerity of developers who do next to nothing as regards the development of sites before they are sold to unsuspecting residents. Chevy View was obviously not properly developed before the buildings were sold to the present owners. They therefore inherited the irresponsibility of the developer, who connived with only God knows who to get the site certified and habitable. Government, through its Ministry of Urban Development, should therefore, be more thorough in its investigation of amenities before approving any estate fit for selling or habitable.
While the estate laments the ravaging flood, they also noted that ‘for a very long time’, the estate has not experience power from the Ikeja Electric Distribution Company (IKEDC). Consequently, residents live on generators, buying fuel at exorbitant prices on a daily basis.
A woman, who craved anonymity lamented that her household has lived on generator for years on end, wasting income on fuel and repairs and maintenance of generators, stressing that the authorities still come around to collect levies.
“We have not used power from the distribution company for a very long time, and our income has been practically wasted on fuel and generator maintenance and repairs. This is not fair on any of us. Government should take pity on us and come to our aid,” she said.
However, efforts have been put in to provide electricity to the estate by the residents as two transformers have already been procured.
Hear Mr. Onyekwere: “The need to get connected to the main power grid has made us procure our own transformers after efforts made to get IKEDC give us one was constantly truncated. Today, we have procured two, and as it is now, we can’t install them because we have run out of money, and don’t have the moral justification to run back to the residents for more contributions. Honestly, they have contributed so much. That is the reason we are practically pleading with the government to come to our aid and help us to install the transformers we have painstakingly procured,” he said.
Lying dejected at a corner, the 200 and 300 KVA transformers, pathetically begged to be used. TheBoss investigations reveal that the transformers would have been in use by now if not for the mind boggling amount the IKEDC was allegedly demanding before they could perform their legitimate duties.
While refusing to disclose the amount the IKEDC was demanding, Mr. Awolu hinted that the worse or most frustrating part of the whole saga remains the fact that the residents are loyal and faithful taxpayers.
“Here, we pay our taxes religiously, as well as other bills of whatever name. it is therefore, not known why a government that claims to have the interest of all the citizens at heart treat us this way. We need urgent assistance. The government should help us prevail on IKEDC to install our transformers; charging us the kind of money they are mentioning is pure extortion,” he said.
Harping on the fraud prevalent in IKEDC and installation of transformers, a resident told the Boss that the IKEDC was in the habit of inviting their own contractors with whom they conspire, coming out with outrageous bills, with the primary purpose of extorting the residents, who are already bent backwards from the excess weight of financial burden.
“This is insensitivity,” the resident spat.
On installation of the transformers on their own, the Chairman said they would have attempted to do if not for what IKEDC may do on the realization that the transformers have been installed without them. He said they possibility of the transformers being blown up was strong.
Water is another crisis the estate is facing. There is no source of drinking water, and residents source their water through contractors, and each family spends between N8,000 and N10, 000 on a weekly basis for water.
However, the management committee of the estate confided in TheBoss that efforts are being made to construct a water supply facility in the estate, saying that government is highly required.
It must be noted that while Governor Ambode is making every effort to create a Lagos of everyone’s dream, some officials in various ministries and parastatals are frustrating the effort with extortive tendencies.
Time is now for someone to take a cursory look at the plight of Chevy View Estate residents in terms of flooding, electricity, road and water.
Time is now for Ambode to remember residents of Chevy View Estate, who include Super Eagles footballer, Emmanuel Emenike, singing sensation, Phyno and Waje, Nollywood actors, Segun Arinze and Funke Akindele (Jenifa), Ace OAP, Frank Edoho and others who have sacrificed a lot in helping Lagos become the smart city it craves.