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August 16, 2018

Please extend “Imo Rescue Mission” to Owerri West

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For whoever that may be interested to know this message rather than an ‘article’ is a brain child of an experience which I consider as pathetic and pitiable.

Deplorable state of roads leading to Umuguma and Avu in Owerri West.

Deplorable state of roads leading to Umuguma and Avu in Owerri West.

Each day I sit at my table in the early hours of every school day, I hear pupils from nearby schools, loudly and with glee, rendering the celebrated state anthem which the present administration has initiated and circulated to all the schools in the state viz: “…O Lord my God, we cannot do without you, Grant our Leaders the wisdom to lead us.  Imo must be better must be better in our time.  Imo must be better this is our prayer”.

Not wishing to delve into arguments whether or not these children know the meaning or implication of what they sing (on daily basis), but it is certain that at least they know it has to do with an invitation to fight corruption; be dependent on God, with the hope of a better “tomorrow” or future.  Rescue mission in essence.

Now, we ask: is the rescue mission programme restricted to some areas of the state; what efforts are being made to follow up the already commissioned projects going on, to see if they can be declared as “Mission accomplished”.

I do not intend to be particular, but in line with the words of Paul Ricoeur (a French philosopher) that “No one speaks from nowhere”, I wish to bring the issue or issues regarding the road construction at Owerri West to limelight, especially Umuguma, Avu and Okuku town roads.

The picture in this message/page reveals the present state or stage of that road.  Ranging from the Umuguma Mini Market (Orie Okwu) towards Avu village and the other direction from the market, taking your right through the entrance to the Local Government Headquarters, Avu Secondary School area, up till Okuku environs, the situation in these areas are greatly unspeakable.  The most painful thing is that there are no signs of work going on nor are there indications that work will soon commence.  Yet on daily basis, our children ply these “danger zones” to and from school, ceaselessly praying to God, in the celebrated state anthem, that “Imo Must Be Better”.

Much as we appreciate the free education benefits but I feel that with the situation of the roads in these towns, the children there undergo very dangerous and unnecessary rigours to get the free education.  Where then lies the benefit if they must either be late to school or soak their legs and soil their socks and sandals, before reaching their school gates.  Some may even at times decide to remain at home for fear of these afore-mentioned factors; most recurrently when there is a downpour the nights before school day.

Reliably, we learnt that the road has been awarded for over a month now, but if so, what is delaying its completion?  If the saying is true that “you do not count your success based on what you attempted, but on what you completed”, then, we do not count this project as one until the work on it is apparently completed.  If it has been awarded, then it has to be supervised and followed up so that what human or machinery factor that is delaying the work can be rooted out completely and an alternative made, unless the project has been shifted to another year.  If the latter is true, then, invariably it implies that as far as the rescue mission agenda is concerned – Umuguma, Avu and Okuku people were not a part of it.

Our dearest Governor, Members of the Commission for Works and Road Construction, Chairpersons and all concerned, your administration have been widely and laudably commended for the numerous works going on in the state.  Some of which have been completed.  We do not deny that truth and we appreciate them.  We also appreciate the extent to which these particular roads mentioned above have gone.

All we ask is that they be completed, so that the people of Umuguma, Avu and Okuku can join other citizens of the state and beyond to chorus your efforts and achievements.  Just as in various other places, the market, the health centre and perhaps the Local Government Headquarters which coincidentally are situated around these waterlogged and danger prone areas are the heart of activities and events within these towns, yet no access roads to them.

Please, do something, rescue us.  Imo Must Be Better in our time.  Now is that time.

 

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Rev. Fr. Henry Nwanguma

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