How about Onitsha roads? Driving through Onitsha is much better now than before. A lot of roads in Onitsha have been rehabilitated. Sokoto Road, Egerton, Niger Street, Creek Road, Uga, Oraifite Street, Atani Road have been rehabilitated. How about Awka Road, Enugu Road, Old and New Market Roads, Owerri-Ebo Street, Niger drive, Oraifite Street, GRA among others. Onitsha road is beginning to represent the gateway to the east. However, Onitsha still has the human traffic problems. Trash littered some parts of Onitsha especially Upper Iweka, drainage/gutters are still being littered with trash and the drainage systems still leave much to be desired. The state government should emulate Enugu state garbage disposal methods to arrest the situation. Onitsha is still a far cry from what a model commercial city should be. We should be able to see foreign businessmen coming to live in Onitsha to validate its position as a commercial nerve-center East of the Niger. However, as they say, Rome was not built in a day. There is hope as one can see an appreciable difference.
I was not able to visit Nnewi or Ekwolobia, but my sources informed me that those roads are getting the same attention.
The one that affects me personally is the Enugwu-Ukwu/Nri/Agulu road. The road was constructed over 4 decades ago by a â€œnwadialaâ€-daughterâ€™s child. The road was said to have been constructed by one Justice Ibekwe from Onitsha of blessed memory. But the road has been bad for more than 30 years. Nri was cut off completely from Agulu, and whenever it rained, Nri people cannot go to Enugwu-Ukwu and vice versa. At the time, when it rained, the road could only be plied by one late Mr. Mmanko and Mr. Okpoko because they had old Land Rover jeeps that could navigate the road without problems.
I could remember vividly in 1984 after I had my appendicectomy at Enugwu-Ukwu General Hospital. On my way back from the hospital after the stitches were taken out, I boarded one of the vehicles plying the road to take me to my hometown, Nri. As we were inside the bus, I was holding on to my sit with one hand and with the other I was holding the right side of my stomach. We encountered this big hole on the road and I was thrown out of my sit and sent sprawling on the floor by the impact. I thought that was my end! I was thinking that my intestines would be on the floor of the vehicle as I was writhing in great pain. The driver stopped the vehicle and everyone that alighted from the vehicle and was sympathetic to me. I was so scared of completing the journey and preferred to work home instead despite the distance left. But go now and check out the road, it is like a miracle if you know what I mean and what my people had gone through. Businesses are booming and lands around the area appreciating because of the state of the roads and the status as being within the capital territory. I had written to former Governor Chukwuemeka Ezeife in 1993 through the National Champion Newspapers to come to the aid of our people by repairing the road, but to no avail. The road survived numerous administrations but remained in the worse state of disrepair.
So when someone visits the road now that it has been repaired with â€œonungeneâ€ bridge constructed, and come back to tell the people of affected area that the government of the day is doing absolutely nothing, how do you think that those affected people would react?
On the private sector, I could see the effect of what providing an enabling environment by the government could do to attract investors and development partners. The construction of the Onitsha Stock Exchange building proved to be the tunic a business minded state like Onitsha needs. The capital market is booming and Anambra state is by no means left out. Central Bank temporary office was provided by the state government at Zikâ€™s Avenue, Awka. You could feel the investorsâ€™ confidence which is unprecedented since the creation of the new Anambra state.
The mood of the state is inspiring. The government of the day dictates the tune. With the environment, businesses are springing everywhere in the state. In Awka Capital Territory, one can observe lots of new business centers, fast-food restaurants, banks, hotels, apartment houses etc. If you go to Aroma Junction, you will be proud if you know how it used to be. There are lots of good fast-food restaurants where you could take a visitor from anywhere in the world to and be proud. I was amazed when I was taken by a friend of mine to one of them. It was filled up to the brim by people. My friend told me that if I was surprised as to the attendant in the place, to wait until night when the live bands come around! Young school leavers are seen working in those places, just like as in McDonalds. They have â€œMcdonsâ€, â€œMr. Biggsâ€ etc. There are lots of activities that provide employments to people who ordinarily would be involved in nefarious activities. You could see at Enugu-Onitsha expressway, day-laborers laying pipes for the Glo-Networkâ€™s fiber-optic cables. From Onitsha all the way to Enugu, you see those youths being gainly employed. Also one could see construction workers in all these roads being constructed by the government.
Though there are still remnants of robbers that want quick money, but in my stay, I never heard of any incident of robbery. Little wonder why the incidence of robbery is drastically reduced. Added to that was that the police is working with the government to provide a security in the state. Patrol vehicles were provided by the state government to the police, the civil defense corps and the army. Also new generators and communication equipment were donated to the state police command to help it combat crime.
Civil servants in the state are as usual being paid as when due. Even they got pay raises instead. My parents both pensioners, never complained to me about not being paid their pension unlike what was the case during Mbadinujuâ€™s maladministration. There are other developmental areas that my friends told me about which for want of time and fuel money, I was not able to visit to verify for myself. These are areas like Lands office, Business Park both at Onitsha. There is also Housing Corporation office, Ngozika Housing Estate at Awka and the one at Nkwelle-Ezunaka, the mini-stadia at Onitsha North and South LGA. Nwangele River as I leant is being dredged. There is no town in the 21 local government areas of the state that has not witnessed one form of government project or the other. Also many other projects so numerous to mention are being carried out in the state. But do not take my word for it, pick up a phone and call your long-lost uncles and ask their opinion about state of affairs in the state.
All these achievements are by any standard phenomenal and are verifiable. Governor Obi has only been in the saddle for 2 years minus 6 months of impeachment and almost 3 weeks or Andy Ubaâ€™s misadventure. He supposed to be given his due. He has 2 more years to complete his other projects. There is a saying that â€œeto dike na nke omele eme, omee ozoâ€-if you praise a warrior for what he has done, he will do another. If you praise a magnanimous man for killing a chicken, tomorrow if he sees a goat or a cow, he will kill. History beckons on all of us to contribute our quota towards making our state great. We hope that the present administration continues to soldier on undistracted to provide the needed development.