From Nightmare to New Hope: How Corps Member’s Media Advocacy Helped Construct Ayegbami’s Road Taking Lives

From Nightmare to New Hope: How Corps Member’s Media Advocacy Helped Construct Ayegbami’s Road Taking Lives

Ayegbami, Kwara state - Around 2019, a huge tragedy struck in Ayegbami, a rural community near Ilorin, Kwara state’s capital; two pupils coming from school got drowned in erosion on the community’s major link road.

“This was precisely during rainy season of the year 2019/2020 that the unfortunate incident happened. The two pupils coming from school were taken away by erosion,” Bodunrin Are Babatunde AbdulQodir, chairman of Ayegbami residents community association, told
Corps Member’s Media Advocacy/ Construct Ayegbami’s Road/Obinna Gabriel Andrew
Residents seen on the Ayegbami link road before the construction. Photo credit: @GabrielObinna6
Source: Twitter

The tragedy was too much for the parents of the dead kids, forcing them to flee the community. They could not wait for other children to be taken away.

The mysterious death trap called Ayegbami road

Ayegbami, according to the community association leader, has been in existence since the inception of Ilorin but not as big as it is currently. The community is within the catchment of Dada Layout, Dada Area in Ibagun Ward of Ilorin East LGA.

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For years, the 1.5-kilometre road which links the community to Ilorin and its environs had been in a terrible state. It was said to be the “biggest challenge” in the community.

As the road worsened every year, leaving the commercial activities in Ayegbami in crumbles, life became difficult for the residents.

Bodunrin Are Babatunde AbdulQodir/Corps Member’s Media Advocacy/Ayegbami’s Road
Babatunde AbdulQodir, chairman of Ayegbami residents community association, spoke about how the poor condition of the road. Photo credit: Damilare Okunola
Source: Original
“It (Ayegbami’s economy) is nothing to write home about before the fixing of this road. Even if you’re outside Ayegbami and you’re coming home, you can’t get a taxi neither a bike to our area here,” Mr AbdulQodir said:
“They will say they cannot go there because of the bad position of the road. So, if you cannot get a taxi or a bike down to your house, how can the economic activities boom up?”

Usman Abdul Basit Kayode, the youth president of the Ayegbami community, also expressed a similar concern. He disclosed that residents used to get to Gambari, another community before they could board taxis.

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Corps Member’s Media Advocacy/Ayegbami’s Road Taking Lives
Usman Abdul Basit Kayode, the youth president of the Ayegbami community, said residents used to get to Gambari, another community before they could board taxis. Photo credit: Damilare Okunola
Source: Original
“There are youths riding Okada and Keke Napep living in this community. So going out (to the metropolis) for business and coming back was always difficult, making the job not easy for them.”
“There used to be a block industry around but the bad road forced the owner to leave,” he added in the Yoruba language.

Hajiya Sherifat, a female resident in the community, said the bad road made life difficult for both pedestrians and motorists. She explained that going to market was not easy as they had to trek to the major road before boarding a bus or taxi.

“Clothes would be stained before even getting to the main road, which could take up to 30 minutes… Some of my friends were even contemplating leaving the community as their husbands complained about not being able to take their vehicles home because of the bad road,” the female resident added.

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Business activities grounded as life became difficult

A barber, Mr Sulaimon, who has a shop by the roadside, said that the terrible condition of the road affected his business.

According to him, during the rainy season, business activities would become paralysed. He added that the situation used to cause conflicts among residents, and most time, they could not attempt wearing the same clothes for two days. The clothes would have been extremely dirty before the end of the first day.

Ayegbami Road/Kwara/Corps Member’s Media Advocacy
Residents suffered, businesses collapsed as the Ayegbami link road became worse. Photo credit: Photo credit: @GabrielObinna6
Source: Twitter
“We suffered a lot when the road was bad, especially we the shop owners around this junction. If vehicles sped too much and splashed muddy water on us or caused too much dust, it used to cause fight.
“To avoid this, we used to wet the road a lot and this was very stressful. The dust used to cause us catarrh and make us prone to malaria. The bad road caused many bad things. We had to clean up the shops regularly,” he said.

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A businesswoman who also has a shop by the road, Alhaja Iya Kaosara Elelubo (yam flour seller), said the bad state of the road adversely affected business.

Alhaja Iya Kaosara Elelubo/Corps Member’s Media Advocacy/Ayegbami’s Road
Alhaja Iya Kaosara Elelubo (yam flour seller), said the bad state of Ayegbami road adversely affected business. Photo credit: Damilare Okunola
Source: Original

She noted that many people who owned businesses by the roadside used to have eye problems because of the dust. The woman who has been doing business for over 12 years added that “business was very poor before the road was constructed because dust used to disturb almost everyone.”

Daud Olayinka, a commercial bike rider, said many residents left the community because the road was worst.

The bad road did not spare the religious life of the residents. Imam Ajia Akeredolu, a religious leader in the Ayegbami community, noted that many religious activities were put on hold:

“We (religious leaders) have some programmes that we do regularly, Maolid, Shahadah, Lailatul Qadir (during Ramadan), etc. We could not do such programmes here because invited guests would not honour such invitations due to the state of the road.

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“It was a huge challenge for us and it adversely affected our religious practices. Religious leaders here are forced to stay inside for prayers. Whoever seeks more rewards or popularity would have to leave the community for a better place because everything usually done for religious progress could not be done here.”

Speaking on how the road affected people generally, Imam Akeredolu said they (the residents) found it difficult to get bikes or taxis to take them down to the community. And if they could manage to get get some, passengers would be charged exorbitant fees.

He added that those who have personal vehicles could not drive down to their houses. They used to park their vehicles at places far away from their homes where the road was motorable and pay for guards to help with the security.

The sad story changes

In 2021, Obinna Gabriel Andrew, a graduate of the University of Benin, was posted to Ayegbami community, Ilorin East local government area of Kwara state, for the mandatory National Youth Service Scheme (NYSC).

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Corps Member’s Media Advocacy/Construct Ayegbami’s Road
Obinna Gabriel Andrew, an ex-corps member, used media advocacy to help fix the Ayegbami community road. Photo credit: Monday Idara
Source: Original

Upon arriving at the community, Andrew noticed that the major link road is “in a very terrible state and every single person, both old and young, were affected.”

After finding out from the community leaders and residents that the road is “the biggest challenge in Ayegbami”, he decided to take it up as a personal Community Development Service (CDS) project, a sub-programme under the NYSC.

CDS is one of the four Cardinal Programmes of the NYSC in which corps members contribute positively to the development of their host communities throughout the period of national service.

Among others, the objective of the CDS is to impact positively on the improvement of rural community life.

“I was told the erosion had claimed two kids, businesses closed, inaccessibility to about seven other communities, etc,” Andrew recounted how the change began.

Constructing a 1.5km road is not what a corps member can afford. Moreso, the NYSC rules do not permit a “corper” to use his funds to execute a community project.

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Thus, Andrew, a graduate of mass communication, decided to employ media advocacy to get the attention of the government and organisations that can take up the project.

Explaining how he used the media approach to amplify the problem of the Ayegbami community, Gabriel said he drafted letters and took them to various media houses, with the NTA, a government-owned broadcasting outfit, topping the list.

He drafted a proposal and wrote to organisations, the state commissioner of works and media houses, NTA Ilorin, Kwara TV and Sobi FM for a wider reach. Andrew also took photographs of the road and did a small documentary which he presented to the media houses to air.

“I did not fund it (the road construction) myself…So what I did was reach out to organisations, personalities, philantropists, agencies that I believe will be interested in such project and can handle it. That was how funding came.

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"And specifically it came through the House of Reps member representing that constituency, Hon Abdul Ganiyu Cook Olododo. So, it was through his intervention that there was full funding for that project. I did not fund it myself,” Andrew told

After media advocacy, time for direct contact

After the media advocacy, Mr Olorukooba Seyi Abdul Majeed, the principal of the school where Andrew served, advised him to also directly reach out to the House of Reps member representing Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency, Abdul Ganiyu Cook Olododo, and helped him with the contact.

The legislator invited the community leaders and promised them the road would be fixed. Within six months, the road was constructed with drainage and a small bridge to control the erosion.

The community also played a huge role in ensuring the road was completed in due time. At some point, they had to feed over 80 workers who constructed the road, according to the community leader.

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“After three months, we’re just called that the contractors would be here to fix the road. We were so elated that the construction did not just take time. Within six months, they were able to fix the road, including the bridge that did cause this havoc,” the community leader said. He further told that the erosion has stopped finally.
Corps Member’s Media Advocacy/Construct Ayegbami’s Road Taking Lives
Construction work starts on the Ayegbami road. Photo credit: @GabrielObinna6
Source: Twitter

Our approach was ineffective, says Mr AbdulQodir

Mr AbdulQodir said for many years before the corps member’s intervention, the community had tried unsuccessfully to get the attention of the government to fix the road.

He said the community had been going through the government functionaries, ministries, and departments in a bid to get the road fixed, but all to no avail.

Andrew, the corp member, however, introduced another method which worked. According to the resident chairman, the young corp member advised them on the need to amplify their problem through media.

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With the support of the community, he (Andrew) also “interviewed many people including some of the executives, including the Baale of Dada, the Mogaji of Ayegbami. What appeared to be impossible became fully done."

Corps Member’s Media Advocacy/Construct Ayegbami’s Road/Kwara Community
Ayegbami road wears a new look after construction. Photo credit: Damilare Okunola
Source: Original

Ayegbami’s economy roars back to life

With the construction of the road, Ayegbami’s commercial life is now returning back to life. And residents heave a sigh of relief, the economic activities are now booming.

Corroborating the community leader’s stance, Mr Kayode, the youth leader, said residents no longer need to get to Gambari before they board taxis as “things have changed for the better.”

“Now, both the youths and the elders are enjoying the road. Those who have personal vehicles are equally enjoying the road as it’s better now. Before, those who have vehicles could not bring them home,” he told

The religious activities are not left out of the new relief, as Imam Akeredolu testified to the comfort the construction has brought to the community. According to him, religious leaders now hold programmes continually and everyone drives to their homes without hassle.

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Corps Member’s Media Advocacy/Ayegbami’s Road
The House of Reps member representing Ilorin East/South Federal Constituency, Abdul Ganiyu Cook Olododo, facilitated the construction of the Ayegbami road. Photo credit: Damilare Okunola
Source: Original

In terms of economic contribution, Hajia Sherifat and Mr Sulaiman said business owners now enjoy better patronage. People come from outside to rent houses in the community here.

Speaking further with, Andrew, who has now completed the NYSC, also confirmed that businesses that closed due to the bad road were now resuming.

“After the construction, I have the video of an interview I did about a man in the community who was into block production. He actually had a block industry on that road, by the side. But because of the bad situation of the road, he had to pack out and look for somewhere else because his business was dwindling as of the time.
"I have all of that on record. He said it himself that it was because of the condition of that road that he had to move out and look for somewhere else.

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“But when the road was constructed, he came back. I have that on record. He said he has brought back the business,” the ex-corps member said.

Ayegbami road construction with its downside

With the road finally constructed, new ease has been brought to the community, but not without its downside. Although the economy is booming as residents find comfort, shops are now expensive.

“If you go to Ayegbami now to rent a shop, it’s not the same amount that you would get it before. In fact, there are people who are now building new shops. If you go to Ayegbami now, they are building new shops on that road and it’s not the same price.
“Another impact is that there were so many uncompleted buildings when I started serving there in Ayegbami. I heard stories that when people started moving into that community, it was cheap,” Andrew said.

Maintenance: Ayegbami residents do not want to go back to the “dark days”

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Andrew said he believed the community will maintain the road and ensure they do not go back to the dark days.

He added that he carried the youths along throughout the project and strongly believed they will continue to do all they can to maintain the road after he had left.

Nevertheless, he expressed concern that many residents may turn the drainage into a dumping site because they are not covered.

Andrew feared that the drainage (at some point) may get blocked due to the wastes and force the flood that is supposed to flow through them to come back to the road and eventually destroy it, and the community will go back to their “golgotha.”

To avert this and ensure the road lasts long, the community chairman Mr AbdulQodir said a committee has been set up to see to its maintenance, “and they are doing a whole nice job”.

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Mr Kayode, the youth leader, added that efforts have been made to ensure that every last Saturday of the month, the drainage is cleared.

“You would notice that the drainage is cleared. You know, dumping wastes in the drainage usually gets road easily destroyed,” he told
Corps Member’s Media Advocacy/Ayegbami’s Road/Kwara Community
Drainage of the Ayegbami community road being cleared. Photo credit: Damilare Okunola
Source: Original

Ayegbami road fixed, another challenge springs up

As the Ayegbami link road becomes good, motorists and bike riders now maintain extreme speed, which is a source of concern to community leaders and residents.

Despite the community’s plea, the contractors did not put spread breakers which could have been checking the extreme speed on the road.

Mr AbdulQodir said the community is still hoping that the speed bumps will be constructed, noting that the Kwara state roads maintenance agency has promised to fix it.

Corps Member’s Media Advocacy/Ayegbami’s Road/Kwara Community
Community leaders show's team the small bridge to constructed to control the erosion. Photo credit: Damilare Okunola
Source: Original

He further said there are fears of accidents on the road, even though he has not witnessed any yet.

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“One of the things we want done is the speed breaker. Now that the road is good, motorists and bike men now maintain high speed. It’s God that is saving pupils from being hit by speeding bike men and motorists.
“About two children recently escaped being hit, thanks to God…” Imam Akeredolu raised concern.

To avoid accidents, Olayinka, the bike man, said some people did makeshift speed breakers on their own, but they were destroyed by others who did not want them.


This story was produced by in partnership with Nigeria Health Watch through the Solutions Journalism Network, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.


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