Since the inception of his second term in office, Owelle Rochas Okorocha has left nobody in doubt that urban renewal is a top priority of his administration. Critical among the indices of good urban development are road projects. This the Okorocha’s government has embarked on from his first tenure. Unfortunately, the urban renewal programme has led to the demolition of markets, business premises and other structures and unprecedented traffic challenges to road users.
Under normal circumstances these developmental projects should have brought joy. But no, it has not. So many road reconstructions going on at the same time and in all directions, without a well thought out plan. When you go through Douglas and Wetheral roads you literally see madness on display. What we have instead in Owerri are: stress, delays, frustrations, unimaginable traffic hold-ups, resulting to excruciating suffering and pains. Practically every road in Owerri is dilapidated, waterlogged, muddy and filthy, even the newly constructed ones. Driving and walking in any part of Owerri is a painful and miserable exercise. It is now easier and faster to travel from Owerri to Onitsha in Anambra State than to go from Owerri to Naze, or Emekuku.
The areas worst affected are, the MCC/Uratta Road, Douglas/Wetheral roundabout. In fact Wetheral road is now decimated. When it rains or gets to rush hours, these roads are unable to contain the flow of traffic and this makes travelling most frustrating. From the Control Post to World Bank area and up to Umuguma Junction is horrible.
The rains have exposed the inferior quality of the new access roads. It is too painful to think that some of these roads are only months old, and were celebrated as major infrastructural developments in Imo State. What is more painful is that not only that the new ones have broken up but the old durable roads that have served Imolites for years have been willfully and systematically destroyed. Movement has become a nightmare in Owerri metropolis.
The condition of roads in Imo State since the rainy season will make anyone wonder if there is a government or anyone really in charge. One would begin to ask why both the old road network and new ones were allowed to collapse. Not only that the existing roads have been so much damaged in the name of reconstruction, or urban renewal, the new ones have collapsed. Sadly some of them are uncompleted and there is no sign or trace of any sign of repair work going on, on these roads.
We therefore urge the Government to let the people feel that there is someone in charge. Let the Ministry of Works be mobilized to go to the bad spots and fix them and at least make them motorable
We remind government that what is worth doing is worth doing well and that it is not the number of roads being constructed but how well they are built that matters. The problem of roads in Imo State is a serious one. We only hope the Okorocha Government is able to clean up the mess it has made before its tenure expires.