By Francis Nwaze
THE ROADS constructed between 2015- 2023 in Ebonyi State were not just built to score cheap political points as it’s always been the case, rather, for posterity.
It’s characteristics of most politicians especially in a “haste” to mark the first “hundred days” in office award many road projects to cronies who in turn will churn out shoddy work for the sake of first hundred days in office. So the circle goes. The possibility, when plying most roads which are in a deplorable state, of believing that the roads were constructed a few months ago, is zero. So it can safely be said that such roads which never lasted beyond 30 if not 24 months were mere window dressing which short-changed the people.
This is very harmful, little wonder many rural dwellers especially those from agrarian communities lament while plying such roads to the urban centres for selling off their agro-allied wares. The peasant farmers are not just the worst hit, but the entire system. When a government that has social covenants of roads and other amenities provisions, failed to live up to such billings, cast doubt on the sincerity and otherwise of such government.
Road construction occupies centre stage in the list of programs and policies of any responsible government -its enormity of socio-economic implications cannot be exhausted here. It serves chiefly as a nexus or a connecting rod between those in suburbs and the urban dwellers, between communities, satellite towns and vice versa, so many communities are disconnected from the other, thus making it impossible to excel socio-economically.
The above was consciously avoided by Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, who was never bothered beating the “hundred days” in office ritual.
The state had a history of neglect and utter dereliction of duty by the government, the absence of good road grounded socioeconomic activities. To restore the lost dignity, Governor Umahi embarked on massive roads construction cutting across all the 13 Council areas of the state especially the minutest locations.
This uncommon feat was made possible through the dedication and ideological understanding of purposes in the context of governance – no crony is involved, jobs are done to specifications while the governor himself supervises the project to eliminate leakages and compromise. From Ishielu to Afikpo South, the road is on an 8 inches density above earth level with concrete, this may have the capacity to last for a century!
The right cement and the right mixture, nothing more, nothing less.
Of what significance is this huge investment in the road subsector?
The development associated with this is not unconnected with the fact that many agrarian communities in the state have heaved a sigh of relief because access to economic hotspots has been created. So rather than wasting agro products and produce especially during the rainy season, they can now sell at their own price right in their villages – the buyers no longer have to wait for the products to be ferried to urban areas before buying but they find the products in their homes with the enablement of good roads.
Ebonyi in world history has occupied the centre stage and taken a quantum leap forward in road networks. There’s no gainsaying Ebonyi State is the first state in Nigeria to successfully complete about 1,000 kilometres of roads on concrete within the shortest period of 5 years, this is huge and monumental. The opening of the rural areas through road networks has triggered an agricultural explosion with its attendant food security.
The state has food security necessitated by connecting the rural farmers to their buyers and investors which has led to the cultivation of more acreages.
The Ogwu- Akaeze Road Project is a classical instance. Prior to its construction, the place comprised mangroves, and thick forest with biodiversity – capable of supporting bounty yields if cultivated, but was not accessed because of road.
Upon its completion, the once desolate location is now a beehive of agro-allied activities and high rise buildings springing up.
Governor David Umahi through probity and judicious use of scarce resources has reclaimed ‘lost’ communities through good roads, same is the case with the agricultural subsector of the state.
Ebonyi State unarguably is on the rise!
Francis Nwaze is the Special Assistant to Governor David Nweze Umahi On Media
Media and Publicity.