From Ejike Chinedu, Enugu
One of the “dividends of democracy” used in measuring the success of an administration and perhaps the connectivity between a people and the government is infrastructure development. Electricity, Roads, Markets, etc are some “gifts” which most government in a democratic dispensation extend to the people that supported and queued under the elements to cast their vote for them. In most cases, those who did not support the winning team are usually denied of such “favour.”
Following the reoccurring road mishaps recorded in a fraction of Enugu–Onitsha road located in Umunya in Oyi local government of Anambra state, road users have called for speedy construction of the road by government.
The Anambra state government had announced plans on January 1, to embark on the construction of the Amawbia-Amansea portion of the road. Though at the moment, the road is still far from being done. In like manner, the state government had seen to the completion of the road beginning from the Niger Bridge up till the Nkpor new parts. But beyond there is a painful picture of rejection and abandonment.
It was gathered that road accidents recorded on the Umunya portion of the ever-busy road have within the past five years that the reconstruction began, claimed dozens of lives and destroyed goods worth millions of naira. Some of the road users also claimed that the spot has also created an avenue for armed robbers to swoop on motorists.
Other portions of the 104km stretch are not better off. Awkuzu junction, right in front of the Special Anti Robbery Squad of the Anambra State Police Command has been reduced to a gully as one part of the dual carriage way has be washed off by erosion and become a dump site for abandoned vehicles.
While on this story, we gathered that between Ugwuoba and Obinofia Ndi Uno which will take about ten minutes in 1994 now take anything more than forty-five minutes due to the state of the road.
Further down to 9th Mile, Ngwo, the suffering a regular road user is subjected to becomes near unbearable. Economic activities which began to grow around here in the early 90s, have disappeared. Highway robbery is now the order. The Police have easy excuse that the condition of the road has made it extremely difficult for quick response in times of emergency.
Overall, the communities along this road that once derived pride and joy from it now live in neglect and constant doubt of what they did wrong. To my mind, they did nothing wrong that being born to a place that should in the view of those that have occupied the highest office in the land be annihilated.
Soon, elective office seekers will begin to queue at the doorstep of the people. As a matter of fact, they will not visit the Oji River junction where a stop over to buy Okpa, my favorite delicacy has become a huge challenge because the road has really gone bad. They will climb the rostrum set in Enugu, Onitsha or Awka and promise again that if voted, they will roll in the bulldozers and all high-tech construction equipment the next minute and turn the rejection of the people into paradise.
In 2011, Anambra and Enugu gave the PDP and Pres. Goodluck Jonathan over 95% of total votes cast in the states during the election. In addition to that, some key officers of this administration who had put in their very best sometime at a huge cost are from these two states.
Fidelia Njeze, from Enugu moved from the Ministry of Aviation to Special Advice on MDGs. She was replaced by Anambra born Stella Oduah who brought a new face to all the airports across the country. Diezani Allison Madueke who had ran the Petroleum ministry for years is a wife to a proud son of Enugu State. Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu is from Enugu State. Most recently, Osita Chidoka was made a minister but before then, he was incharge of the Federal Road Safety Commission.
Meanwhile, the best the people of these states have gotten is promises and promises. The question now are; when will the fulfillment come? When will those who stood for this government even when it was much of a risk so to do be remembered? When will the people enjoy the much exalted dividends of democracy? Are there other things expected of the people beyond supporting the government even when events around them demand otherwise? Feel free to provide answers to the questions if you have.