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February 24, 2017

Fixing Owerri Roads

Roads in Owerri demolished by the Government

Time was, when Owerri, the Imo State capital was widely acclaimed the cleanest state capital in the Country. Owerri roads, though mostly one or two lanes were given the best maintenance, with bad spots promptly detected and repaired by the relevant agencies of government on regular basis.

The immediate past administration, not only maintained the roads regularly, but constructed sidewalks for pedestrians, planted and maintained beautiful grasses at such sidewalks in order to raise the aesthetic level of the city.  But all that is now history. They have been all obliterated.

The roads progressively degenerated in quality maintenance in the recent years. To make things worse, the massive demolitions of so-called illegal structures in all directions at the same time, which started as soon as this year’s rainy season became intensive, has made movement along these roads agonizing and a nightmare.  Never before had Owerri roads gone so bad and road users exposed to so much trouble.  Whether driving or walking, no one is exempt from the suffering caused by the terrible condition of our roads.

We laud the efforts to open access roads in Owerri by the present administration, but there is no doubt that the quality of these roads is horrible. These roads collapse even before the contractor removes his equipment.  The pot holes, ponds and puddles that quickly surface on these roads tell the story of a shabby, incompetent and bungled finishing.

It is disheartening to state that some of the roads in Owerri have become so bad that drivers while dodging failed portions, prefer to climb the road divides, meandering through the median strips, thus creating a lot of confusion on our roads.  This is the case with the road leading from Control Post to World Bank Estate, and the one from Dreamland Hotel junction to Port Harcourt Road.

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The on-going construction of tunnels across Assumpta Avenue and Port Harcourt road has multiplied the sorrows of road users in Owerri.  Though a wonderful idea and vision but it has caused more harm than good, being ill-timed.

Similarly the traffic jam arising from the closure of the road that leads from Orlu Road Round About to the Control Post, is best imagined than described.  The unprecedented traffic gridlock experienced by users of the three In-land roads is mind-boggling, especially as heavy trucks that were forbidden to use them during the day, flout the directive.

So in an attempt to widen the already compromised roads, government makes life  hell for road users.  The irony of it all is that not one of the diversions, tunnels or flyovers has been completed.  It’s all a question of good intention but poor execution.

The situation is so bad that any effort to control traffic holdup, results in more traffic jam.  No matter the level of goodwill that informed the demolitions, they have caused residents of Owerri and road users in general so much pain and grief.  Any action of government that does not add to the comfort of the people it serves, ought to be discontinued because every development policy must be geared towards the interest of the masses.

Roads in Owerri and its suburbs are in a mess. These include: The World bank, Umuguma, Orji, Nekede, Amakohia roads among other numerous ones.

We therefore call on the Imo State Government to take urgent steps to restore our roads now that the rains have subsided so as to minimize the suffering of the people.

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In order to guard against shoddy jobs, we call on government to award road contracts only to reputable firms and professionals. We need to know who  the companies are. Standard practice requires them to display their name on a sign board at the project sites.



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