The True State Of Rivers Roads
Good governance is good. It is only achieved when a leader makes up his mind with good intentions to lead. The people will be beneficiaries. They will always wish such a leader the best.
Rivers State under the leadership of Governor Chibuike Amaechi is still horror-struck and the people teetered to the development of Rivers State. With the start of the rains and their ending and the beginning of the harmattan, we now know the true state of Rivers roads.
We are still keeping our fingers crossed till when the government will repair the roads. The difference between a village and a town in Rivers State is just the fanciful buildings that dot the later, if not, dust which was known only in the village has taken over many of the roads in Rivers State. This is what we suffered during the rains. Since 2008, we have had series of pleas from the government to the citizens to exercise patience on the horror roads that reprieve will soon come. Not to avail till date. When the people complained so much the government brought out caterpillars and other road constructing equipments on the roads to mollify the people. Unconfirmed praises would rent the air. After these equipments were seen, the roads still remained un-worked.
A place like Oyigbo has seen the bad and the ugly side of this government. This place is an eyesore and mindsore. It is like a town that is left to the ruins of wars. Whether the government has good plans for the town in the future is left for Amaechi; what is today seen in Oyigbo is a dilapidated town. The roads are hellish. Over three months, there have been road constructing equipments on the major road of Oyigbo – the Old Express that have refused to have a human-face. What are seen on this road are demolitions by the machines, without repairs. The people of this area are wearing nose-cover now to prevent the (much) dust from entering their nostrils. Oyigbo is a pity sight. We wonder what could be the fate of the people living in this area when next the rains come if, at least, the Shell Location and Old Express roads are not put in place.
Not only Oyigbo, many towns in Rivers State are suffering the same fate. The Igbo-Etche road seems to have been forgotten. The Ada George road is always in the news. These are major roads. No one is talking about the adjourning roads in Rivers State. You may call them streets. Many of them are glorified abyss. We have kept our eyes open how we live in dungeon in Rivers State because the roads are very bad. We keep our eyes wide open, shocked.
Rivers State has lost its glory to make-believe works. Amaechi was declared winner of the April gubernatorial elections in the state. Now that he has come back, in spite of the strong opposition against him, what effort has he made or is he making to reconcile with key members of the opposition? The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state is even in totters occasioned by the skirmishes of that election. This depicts the state of the 'rough' roads to ride in Rivers State.
It is really distracting how people are suffering in Rivers State. Is this a development agenda or political? Is Amaechi actually focusing on development agenda for the state or on political agenda? Is he saying that he has now won his election? Is he considering how people are looking at him? Amaechi should know that winning an election is not a developmental agenda, but political. Where is his developmental agenda? The lack of this has become even more distractive.
From the look of things, Amaechi is like a person who is not sensitive to the fact that things must be reconciled in the state. Politicians are yet distracting the state clamouring for contracts when many awarded ones are unattended to. The bane of our state is that the awarded contracts have been failed to be executed. This government must set up a panel to probe these contractors. They are killing our state. They are making our state rough and not development-driven. They are not minding the poor who are suffering the brunt. They are not looking at anybody's face.
This is why the government has lost its focus on the things it promised us that it set out to do. Bad roads have held people down. Businesses have been ruined. But Amaechi would say that what campaigned for him were his projects. He would say that he believes that he would rather want to focus on development because he believes that Rivers State should be higher somewhere than it is now. But it is unfortunate that what we have in the state today is a governor who is 'under pressure'. The state's coffer was announced to be empty, by a report. And they have started politics in our state by borrowing from the stock market.
Alas! We are fading up with the story like: “I don't know how many people in my cabinet that must have passed through poverty the way I passed through it. I grew up at No. 18 Chibu Street, I moved from there to Nnamdi Azikwe; then began to live with one of my friends in one of the creek villages near Port Harcourt. And I knew that my parents suffered a lot. With tears, they were looking for money to pay school fees, buy me uniforms, bags and all that. When I was in the University, I used to tell the girls that 'none of you looked at my face because I was wearing one shirt, one trouser almost every day with a sandal.' On Fridays, we wash it and we don't move out at all on Saturday to enable it dry.”
Was this person in the university to read or to look at women's faces? Amaechi must have been looking at a lot of women's faces as a big man by now since he can afford a company that can manufacture any kind of wears he wants. This was a man who reportedly said that in the 70s, the ratio of poverty in Nigeria was 40 per cent, but now it is 70 per cent, not just helping matter in making sure that such high poverty ration declines in the state.
“The economist has said we can't sustain it. But I say let me sustain it while I'm in government first,” he would say. We can see the 'sustainability' when we were told that education is free in this state and that there were free uniforms, free sandals, free books, free handbag and free tuition, but where are the 'free' schools operating? Nevertheless, what is free in the education when the government pays 50 per cent and let the parents pay the rest?
In spite of these, the Federal Government should also support Rivers State. Nobody is Federal Government. Nigerians are. The government has the resources to sustain the people and the environment. The government should shoot up focus and develop Rivers State more than anybody feels he or she has tried or expects. Amaechi should be focused. Any help from the Federal Government is an addition. He should be bothered about the sustainability of any project in our state now and at the expiration of his tenure. This area is a magnanimous problem. We might not get the feasibility study on development of the state. Those he pays for this task should help without restraint. Amaechi should do something nice different from what others are doing to attain a good governance.
Odimegwu Onwumereis the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State(CONIRIV). Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]