Ugwu Onyeama, the about five kilometers portion of the over 100 kilometers Enugu-Onitsha Express Way, which the federal government has been playing politics with is now a descent into hell. It is simply a death trap.
For long, hailers of the federal government have been telling us that massive rehabilitation work is going on along the Enugu-Onitsha Express Way and that the road is now wearing a new look. They will post some imaginary pictures on the social media and tag them “Enugu-Onitsha Express Way”. But go through that road, you will see that nothing is going on there.
Right now, the greater part of Ugwu Onyeama section of the road has been totally cut off, completely washed away by erosion, and thus has become almost impassable. The steep gradient of the road does not help matters. Driving up or down the road is really a nightmare. No day passes by without one or two major accidents being recorded there. Just last week, a pastor with his entire family of eight, ended their journey in that particular area.
All the big trucks that come from the northern parts of the country, passing through Enugu, to Ebonyi, Abia and Imo States, use that particular road, and most of them end their journey there, very often smarshing or crushing some smaller vehicles on their way, including their occupants.
Some prayer warriors have been visiting Ugwu Onyeama with the intent of exorcising some bad spirits said to be inhabiting the area and which they say, were responsible for all the accidents that occur on the road.
In as much as we believe in the power of prayers, for that is what has been seeing many of us through, we however believe that something very practical must be done on that particular area to save human lives that are being wasted on daily basis.
That’s why we now appeal to our ebullient and dynamic Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to urgently “come over to Macedonia and help us”. They say that an elder does not sit idly by and watch the she goat deliver its baby in tether.
It is true that the Enugu-Onitsha Road, including the Ugwu Onyeama section of the road, actually belongs to the federal government. It is also true that every year money for the rehabilitation of the road and several other roads in the South East, will feature prominently in the federal government budget and that the federal government will collect the money without doing anything. It is equally true that the state government has been working on many of the federal roads in the area, but that when it comes to reimbursement, the federal government would start foot dragging.
But then the people who have been dying as a result of the nature of bad roads in the state are people from Enugu State, or friends of Enugu State. The federal government will continue to remain nonchalant because it does not concern them.
One of the abnormalities of our present political arrangement is a situation where a government at the remote centre of administration will ascribe to itself too many responsibilities on the basis of which it would be allocated huge amounts of money and, yet it would not do anything with that money.
For instance, the federal government claims that it is its responsibility to fix all the major roads in the country, including the ones at your backyard, on the basis of which it would continue to take the lion’s share of the nation’s revenue, but in the end, it would do nothing with the money, while the people who use the roads continue to die in their hundreds.
Ask any Nigerian, they will tell you that the government they know is the government at the state level. It is the state government that gives them succour. It is the state government that they look up to for employment, for the fixing of their roads, for their health needs, for the education of their children or wards, etc.
To many Nigerians, the federal government is too far remote that the people hardly remember that it exists. Yet, it is the federal government that collects the lion’s share of the country’s revenue. That’s why we must restructure the country if truly we want to live as one.