The momentum with which the Imo State government embarked on massive road construction and rehabilitation across the state, suddenly slacked shortly before the rains. This led to massive wash-out of the uncompleted roads thus making traveling into the rural communities extremely difficult.
The same story applies to the state of the federal roads in the south-east zone but while officials of the Imo State government have made firm promises that the roads would be fixed immediately the rains ceased, there are no such hopes for the federal highways in the area as they were not captured in this year’s budget.
Southeasterners, the main users of these federal roads who spoke to Christian Voice, squarely heaped the blame for the protracted state of disrepair of the federal roads on the inability of legislators and top federal government functionaries from the area to make strong case for the repair of these roads by the federal government.
One of such roads is the 200-kilometre Enugu-Port Harcourt dual carriage way which has completely broken down at various points including Obehie, Aba, Ubakala, Ezinnachi, Lokpanta and Awgu making them dens for armed robbers while a journey that previously took about two-and-half hours to complete, now takes six.
The other federal high way in terrible state is the 100-kilometre Enugu-Onitsha dual carriage way which have equally collapsed at various sections despite the on-going reconstruction work that is moving at snail rate.
And near Owerri, the Imo State capital, the Ekemele-Akabo section of the narrow one-lane Owerri Okigwe federal road has remained a problematic spot for years though this year’s unprecedented heavy down-pour has made it worse forcing motorists to divert to rural roads to get into Owerri thus adversely affecting the rural roads and the state capital.
Mr Njoku blamed the condition of the “Ekemele lake” on both the state and federal governments.
He submitted that though it is a federal road, the State government should not have allowed the spot to deteriorate to that extent being a vital link to the state capital.
“In any case, Imo citizens use the road the more, not the federal government officials”, he said.
As regards the federal highways in the south-east, respondents had harsh words for their representatives in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Mrs Anene who with other passengers had to stay for 30 minutes at a bad-road-induced traffic jam at Lokpanta cattle market accused the South-east legislators at Abuja of being interested “only in their personal gains and ego, acquiring international legislative posts that have no meaning to the people”.
Yet a respondent who refused to disclose his name but wore an intellectual air with his thick goggles and sophisticated phonetics made a radical submission.
He said, “there should be a law forcing legislators at Abuja not to travel by air but by land while visiting their constituencies. If they ply these high ways on regular basis, they will experience first hand the intolerable state of the federal roads and do everything in their power to get them repaired”.