Enugu-Onitsha Express way

October 1st, 2016

  • 56 years after independence, states in South East geopolitical zone are bedeviled by terribly bad federal roads, epileptic power supply and near absence of federal presence climaxed by dilapidating infrastructure. Going from one State to another became frightening. All the federal roads have collapsed and to worsen it all, the invasion of Fulani herdsmen is not making life any easy as several were wither kidnapped or killed, while security agencies look helpless. No wonder MASSOB and IPOB and other groups continue to agitate for Biafra. 

The five states in South-East is not part of Nigeria in terms of infrastructure and national heritage. Life has been unbearable and brut­ish for the people of the zone and it seems there is no hope in sight.

From Abia to Anambra to Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, the story is pitiable and pathetic.

The federal roads are dilapi­dated and nothing to write home about as thousands sleep on the roads on daily basis with the Fed­eral government looking the other way.
In Imo state , it is currently faced with dilapidated roads built by the Federal Government. Some of these roads have become a deathtrap to its users.

Some of the roads like Onitsha/Owerri,Aba/Owerri and Port Har­court/Owerri. Onitsha/Owerri road are gradually turning to shal­low pit at the popular control post, Owerri.

Besides the roads, abandoned Federal government projects can also be sighted at Umuokani in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of the state. This project, Imo waste recycling Centre which was attracted by former deputy speak­er, house of rep, Emeka Ihedioha is currently laying “ waste” and yet to be completed.

The judiciary is not helping maters with their conflicting judg­ment as a court of appeal in Ow­erre had given judgment on a case brought before it by E.T Network and the court in passing its judg­ment had ordered the freezing of 25 bank accounts of the state gov­ernment while a stay of execution had already been applied by the state government.

In the God’s Own State, the near collapse of infrastructure particu­larly those owned by the Federal Government in Abia State just like any other state in the South East zone is very disturbing. Virtually every federal road in the state in­cluding the Enugu- Port Harcourt Expressway which links the zone with the South-South zone is in the near state of total collapse.

Some, like the Aba/ Port Har­court Road inside Aba town, Umuahia- Ikot Ekpene highway and Arochukwu- Ohafia road have since become a death trap and commuters’ nightmare.
Epileptic public power sup­ply has continued to cripple eco­nomic, commercial and industrial activities in the state. This ugly sit­uation has been compounded fol­lowing the increasing cases of elec­tricity transformer failure in Aba and Umuahia without any hope of replacement by the authorities . Investigations revealed that over 40 transformers have since packed up in both cities , thus, worsening the woes of residents.

The constant invasion of farm lands by rampaging herdsmen and their cows in some parts of the state like Ohafia, Bende, Abam , and Obingwa tend to lend cre­dence to the feeling in some quar­ters that parts of Nigeria are still under occupation 56 years after independence.

This, coupled with other brazen cases of marginalization, political exclusion, lopsided appointments to the disadvantage of the zone, etc fuel the renewed agitation for Biafra, a movement that enjoys the support of overwhelming majority of folks in the zone.

Anambra case appears to be a worst scenario situation from the industrial town of Nnewi, the fifty six year anniversary is just like any other national celebration which in all honesty should not be cel­ebrated by the people except for sense of patriotism.

The indigenes of Nnewi are re­puted to be excellent businessmen and entrepreneurs who thrive where others may find it extremely difficult to find their feet.

The town due to the exploit of her sons and daughters became the ‘Japan of Africa’. Good manu­factured in Nnewi, Anambra state can competently compete with those produced in abroad. This feat one must state was achieved with little or no contribution from government at all levels.

Thousands of Nigerians, You­rubas, Hausas and people from other parts of the country make their livelihood in Nnewi’s indus­tries like Ibeto Group, Chikason Group, Innoson Motor Manufac­turing Company, Louis Carter, Capital Oil and Gas, and its sub­sidiaries.

But in spite of the break­throughs recorded by these en­terprising personalities, there appears to be a down turn in re­spect to the rate at which these industries are growing. In fact, the Chairman and CEO of Chikason Group, Dr Chika Okafor recently raised alarm that many industries are folding up in the town not be­cause the people have lost their Midas touch but those in author­ity have refused to do the needful to encourage the growth and sus­tenance of the industries.
The federal road from Oba to Okigwe which pass through Nnewi has become non-existent. The road was so strategic that many motorists going to Akokwa, Okigwe, Umahia and even Cala­bar used to travel on that particu­lar road.

Many service stations and foundry companies linearly sprang up along the road to ser­vice the motorists on the then busy road, today, many of those filling stations and hotels set up for the benefit of the motorists and travelers have become history even when their owners are still alive.

National Engineering Design Development Institute Nnewi, Anambra state is a research in­stitute in the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure(NASENI) of Fed­eral Ministry of Science and tech­nology was said to be attracted to the town and commissioned by Major Gen Sam Muomah(Rtd) in 1999 so as to assist the budding manufacturers and industrialists with modern and latest technolog­ical innovations to boost the per­formance of the industries. Today, it is doubtful if the mission state­ment of the organisation which is enhancing the quality standards of made in Nigeria products through sound engineering design is still being pursued. There is hardly any connect between the industrialists and the agency.

Nnamdi Azikiwe Univer­sity Teaching Hospital(NAUTH) Nnewi is the only hospital that is still operating in its temporary site among other similar institu­tions set at the same time. It is the dream of every successive Chief Medical Director(CMD) of the hospital to relocate to the perma­nent site but are always hindered by paucity of fund.

The temporary site was devel­oped majorly by prominent and affluent personalities from Nnewi, who built halls, offices and even bought equipments during the takeoff of the hospital. It is on re­cord that the take off grant meant for NAUTH was erroneously sent to Lagos state.

The other federal government agencies include; FRSC, NPF, FIR, Nnewi minimum prison yard. In­terestingly, these other arms seem to be flourishing than the ones mentioned earlier. The Road Safe­ty and police officers one must say are doing very to keep the com­munity in equilibrium but some of them sometime adopts intimida­tion and assault on the innocent and law abiding citizens just to extort money from them.

Federal Inland Revenue is also physically present in the industrial town and must be doing so well. The question that has been agitat­ing the minds of the people is why government has not deem it fit to empower other institutions in just as it has done to those that takes from the community.

The minimum security prison yard is one of the newest and the best in the country in terms of facilities but then there has been comments on the need to em­power the industries and other institutions that has the capacity to give jobs to the jobless thereby giving them alternative to crime and criminality.

Onitsha River port remains the biggest yet not functional since it was completed several years ago , even as the Second Niger Bridge is consistently an election issue yet nothing happens at the site. The Electronic Development Institute (ELDI) formerly CAT appears not heard of again as if nothing is happening there. The Federal Sight and Services layout for Housing project is continu­ally on the budget and it is now a subject of controversy between the state and federal government. The Oyi, Umunya road is an eye­sore and several lives have been wasted there.

Echoes coming from Enugu state shows the people are down­cast and angst was high on their faces for deprivation from the Federal Government.

In the words of the Enugu fi­ery Catholic Priest, Rev Father Ejike Mbaka,who is also the founder and Spiritual leader of the Adoration Ministries, Enugu, youths who are not above fifteen years of age, will hardly know that the Enugu to Onitsha express road was initially a dual carriage way based on its dilapidated na­ture that has compelled motor­ists, plying through it to mean­der from one lane of the road to another. The implication is the incessant road mishaps which occur on the Enugu to Onitsha road on a daily basis.

The deterioration on Enugu to Onitsha express road was the worst since the past three years, subsequent upon both big trucks and smaller vehicles deviated to the old Enugu to Onitsha road reconstructed by the past administration in Enugu state,led by Mr Sullivan Chime. The consequent of that action af­termath of the pressure is the fact that the old Enugu to Onitsha road has deteriorated within a short pe­riod of reconstruction. The axis at Ugwuoba community in Oji River local government is ‘a no go area’ once there is rainfall.

The implication of these terrible development lies on the fact that movement from Enugu and Onit­sha which are two major towns in Igbo land,with stays less than fifty kilometers apart and were initially covered within one hour by com­mercial transport and other com­muters have become a journey of several hours.

The case of Enugu to Onitsha roads is just a tip of the iceberg. The Enugu to Port Harcourt ex­press road, Aba in Abia state to Ikot Ekpene road, the Oji River to Awgu road in Enugu state,Okigwe to Owerri in Imo state etc consti­tutes same menace and danger to people and commuters who ran­domly use those roads.

The neglect and abandonment of several federal government owned institutions and industries across the South East zone, has also generated massive Youth un­employment in the zone.
To mention, expectations for the Federal government to re es­tablish the coal mining industry which will attract much econo­mies of scale has remained a mi­rage since after the Nigerian Civil wars. The international Flight taking to and from Akanu Ibiam international airport in Enugu, is still a half baked bread. Non completion of the Cargo wing of the airport is hindering interna­tional transaction and directing airlift of goods in and out of the airport. The latter on completion, would have gingered a lot of pri­vate driven initiatives that would enhance development of the South East zone.

From Abakaliki, Ebonyi state , the residents of the area can only celebrate with reservations, cries and despair.
The Abakaliki/Enugu/Onit­sha expressway, the major road linking the states in the zone has become impassable. In large num­bers, lives have been lost to fatal accidents on the road. It is not that there are potholes, but gullies that have at some spots cut off the road. Commuters, each day are strand­ed on lengthy traffic hold-up.

The Emene petroleum depot in Engu State which is supposed to serve the people is not functional. The Enugu Electricity Distribu­tion Company (EDDC) which re­placed the PHCN has become less effective than its predecessor.

The political atmosphere is also not good to be talked about go­ing by the judicial rascality that tended to outs Governor Okezi Ikpeazu of Abia State and the heat on the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu.

In Abia state, the near absence of ‘federal presence’ in the state except few poorly- funded or col­lapsing institutions has remained a constant reminder that 56 years down the line, Abia nay South East zone is still grossly neglected by Nigeria
Commenting on Nigeria at Fifty Six, the President of Ohaneze Ndigbo in Europe, Chief Oliver Nwankwo, said at 56, Nigeria has reached the age of maturity but the state and rate of socio infra­structural development is noth­ing to write home about..He said the rate of insecurity in the land, unemployment, corruption and other social vices hinders positive development in the country.

He mentioned that the Igbo na­tion in Nigeria has been greatly maligned and cheated. He said the Igbos have not had it good since after the civil wars when they sub­dued and compelled to forfeit their assets under the pretext of ‘aban­doned properties’.

Chief Nwankwo lamented: ‘It is not done anywhere in the world, even though we did not report or take the case to the United Na­tions. But presently, I want the Federal government to pay the Igbo nation back by developing abandoned social infrastructures and road network in the zone’.

Chief Chekwas Okorie, the Na­tional Chairman of UPP said it is disheartening that the corporate existence of Nigeria is threatened at the age of 56 based on the pre­vailing insecurity, corruption, prevailing infrastructural decay, neglect and poor management of national resources. 

Consequently, the agitation for separation is on the high gear.
Okorie stated,’ The only thing to cheer is the fact that Nigeria has managed to survive for 56 years by the special grace of God. However, I venture to caution that Nigeria’s corporate existence has never been threatened as it is at this time. What this time calls for are cre­ative social engineering, political sagacity, economic rejuvenation and the restructuring of the polity to engender national unity, cohe­sion, patriotism and even development’

The Apex body of all Igbo socio cultural organizations in it’s message for the Igbo race, during the 2016 IGBO DAY celebration, held at National Secretariat of the organisation,located at No 7 Parks avenue, GRA,Enugu, on Thurs­day, September 29, cautioned that it’s high time Igbos start thinking home, and to channel their invest­ments in Igbo land as measure of developing Igbo land and provid­ing unemployment for millions unemployed Igbo Youths.

The message which is captured in the theme of this year’s celebra­tion states,’OJEMBA, CHETAK­WA ULO’ literally meaning,’ Think Home, Invest at Home’. Part of the address delivered by the President General, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Pro­fessor Enwo Igariwey at the 2016 IGBO DAY celebration states,’The South East Economic infrastruc­ture has virtually collapsed and millions of our Youths are roam­ing the streets unemployed be­cause of the challenges of a na­tional economy in recession and a deliberate suppression of opportu­nities through marginalization of Ndigbo’.

The Ohaneze Ndigbo President General said the challenges of the times calls for Ndigbo to redis­covering themselves, just like the foremost Igbo leaders did in times past.

For Prophet Nwoko, a renowned spiritualist and activist based in Enu­gu, the solution to the present socio economic and political quagmire con­fronting Nigeria at the present time lies on accepting the agitation for an Independent state of Biafra.

Prophet Nwoko in his recent chat with news men at Enugu Press Center,located at No 4 Rangers avenue,Independence layout,said it is already destined by God that Biafra will stand as a separate nation,saying Nigeria would not know peace.

In his message,titled ‘Buhari let my people go’ Prophet Nwoko criticized published reports at­tributed to President Buhari to have said that ‘there would be ‘No referendum for Biafra when he at­tended the 71st United Nation’s General Assembly.

His words,“Buhari is telling the world that there is no way Biafra will emerge through referendum under his administration. I want to let him know that the ways of God is quite different from the ways of carnal Man like president Buhari’.

‘Biafra is God’s heavenly project, which has been ordained from heaven to liberate Nigeria and the rest of black man. The heaven have a mandate for Biafra restoration. So, no President, Senators or any other power, can stop the plan of God’, Prophet Nwoko stated.

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