Editorial: Anambra Roads, A Reflection Of The Past And The Present

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Anambra Roads: A Reflections of the Past and Present road construction in the state peter obi anambra state roads former governor peter obi
A few years ago, Anambra State was rated to have the best network of roads in Nigeria. This could not have been without the efforts of the former Governors of the state, especially Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige and Mr. Peter Obi.

As a state that her citizens are mainly traders, no doubt, roads which is the only means of local transportation remains very important to the growth of the economic activities of the state.

After the return of democracy in 1999, the then Governor of Anambra State, His Excellency, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadiniuju, despite his challenging time in the saddle of power, tried his best to fix the dilapidated road infrastructure in Anambra State. He started with the construction of about thirteen (13) roads across the state, however, due to the various opposition he faced during his administration, he appeared not to have achieved in terms of road construction in the state.

However, the emergence of His Excellency, Chief Dr. Chris Ngige as Governor of Anambra State brought a drastic change in the business of road construction in the state, despite being a professional Medical Doctor, Chris Ngige took construction of roads across the state serious to the extent that almost on daily basis, he was always on-road inspection with his hammer and nails in his hands to determine the quality of works done.

During his administration, he contracted reputable first-class construction companies like RCC Nig. Ltd, Nigercat, CCC, Masters Holdings and Setraco Nig.

The former Governor said that he completed close to over one hundred and five roads under 3 years.

During the administration of Governor Peter Obi, in a bid to raise the tempo, he continued with massive construction of roads, according to the Ex-Governor, he completed over 800 kilometres of roads across the state in his 8 years as the Governor of the State.

Peter Obi used local contractors in the construction of roads in Anambra state, during his time, Anambra was rated as the state with the best road network in Nigeria, as most of the roads in the state were motorable.

After Peter Obi left as Governor, Willie Obiano also continued in road construction, in his 5 years as Governor, according to the Commissioner of Works, Mr. Marcel Ifejiofor, out of 200 active roads sites, the Governor have completed 80 roads.

However, the recent rains in the state has exposed the state of the roads infrastructure in the state, surprisingly, a state that was once praised for having the best road network appears to be battling with dilapidated road infrastructure, across the state, heavy potholes adorn the major parts of our roads, trips that ordinarily should take not more than a few minutes now take hours because of the conditions of most of the major access roads. No part of the state is spared. From Onitsha, Nnewi and to Awka, the story is the same.

Unfortunately, it is not too difficult to decipher how we got to this sorry state.

While Governor Chris Ngige has always been given the credit of having constructed quality roads, that cannot be said of Former Governor Peter Obi. In his first four years as Governor, it was believed that he constructed roads with low quality. He was more concerned about quantity than the quality.

Speaking months back on Odenigbo 99.1 FM, a close ally to the former Governor, Dr. Alex Obiogbolu, accused the former Governor Peter Obi of constructing roads with poor quality. According to him, it took the intervention of concerned stakeholders to stop him.

From observation, it appears that most of the roads constructed by Peter Obi are the most dilapidated while that of Chris Ngige is still in perfect shape.

Also, the present Governor, Chief Willie Obiano has also not been exempted in the blame, it is also believed that he has not also paid much attention to the quality of most of the roads being constructed under his administration. He appears to have tolled the line of his predecessor.

It has also been observed that maintenance of roads has not been taken proper care of. Instead o

f maintaining the bad spots on the roads as they develop, the authorities always wait until the roads go completely bad.

The state road maintenance agency appears to be docile or poorly funded.

Before he left office, Peter Obi created the Anambra State Road Maintenance Agency with full compliments of brand new equipment. The current Governor has also provided the agency with more modernized equipments but it appears that the agency is not properly funded or rather overwhelmed by its responsibility.

There is a need to also look at the issue of poor drainage system in the state. Some of the roads in the state have drains for easy flow of water. Most of the drains are covered with waste. The state government has paid poor attention to the issue of desilting the culverts and drainage channels.

It is time for the state to look seriously in the issue of poor quality of road construction in the state. Road infrastructure is an asset and not a liability, therefore should be treated as such by imbibing global best practices in road construction. The State House of Assembly should also look in the issue by drafting an enabling law or process to check the government on this.

Roads should be constructed with drainage and should be channelled properly. We can’t build roads and yet not provide quality drainage channels for it. That is the height of insensitivity.

It has also become necessary that state government must efficiently pay proper attention to road maintenance in the state. Anambra Road Maintenance Agency saddled with the responsibility of maintaining roads should be provided with funds. It is time for the state to start thinking about involving the private sector in road maintenance in Anambra State.

The state government should also make more efforts to install weighbridges at strategic locations on the road network to check and mitigate the menace of overloaded vehicles plying the road network ensuring that all vehicles operate within the capacity of roads, this will ensure the durability of our roads.

Finally, both the government and citizens of the state must pay proper attention to the issue of clearing and desilting the drainage. The attitude of disposing waste on drainages should be stopped. The government needs to wake up.

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