Following the recent flag-off of the construction of three flyovers in some parts of Port Harcourt, some stakeholders from the Riverine area of the state have expressed dissatisfaction on the inability of the Rivers State government to undertake the construction of the long awaited Trans-Kalabari road.
Ambassador Ipalibo Madodoye, the president general, Kalabari Youth Council worldwide, spoke with EDITH CHUKU on this and other issues.
Would you say the state governor is running an all inconclusive government?
It depends on what you mean by all inconclusive government.
In terms of appointments and projects delivery?
In terms of appointments, appointments are the discretion of any governor or president. Projects ought to be evenly distributed to ensure fairness to all nooks and crannies of the state. I am an Ijaw man, I am a Kalabari man and the president general of the entire youths of Kalabari land and so Kalabari is my primary concern.
The Trans-Kalabari road is more of a mirage. What is the position of the KYC on the long awaited construction?
The governor invited Julius Berger to the Government House and paid them to commence the construction of three flyovers in Ikwerre and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas, all upland.
According to the governor, Berger has some months to deliver the flyover. Let that also be the story of the Trans-Kalabari ring road, practicable actions. The Trans-Kalabari ring road should commence now, world best contractors should be brought to execute that project and completed within the four years of his second term, just like the three upland flyovers.
The governor had sent an ‘ntoor’ message to those allegedly questioning his flag- off of the construction of three flyovers in Port Harcourt. So far, the Trans-Kalabari ring road has not been mentioned, how do you feel about this?
The ‘ntoor’ message is a precedent set for others after him to follow and I immensely commend our governor for asserting thus, it’s an eye opener. When I see schools, hospitals, etc, across Kalabari, mostly the coastline communities, then I will come here to say that projects are evenly distributed.
The promise of the construction of Trans-Kalabari ring road has lingered…
(Cuts in) Yes, of course it has. This promise is long overdue; previous governors, starting from the time of Peter Odili, the people of Kalabari are no longer happy with situation of things in the area. Kalabari people are only requesting for the fulfilment of developmental projects which includes the construction of Trans Kalabari road promised the Kalabari people.
What are some challenges faced by Kalabaris resulting from unavailability of link roads and the Trans -Kalabari road?
Not just Kalabaris. Anyone trying to access Kalabari from Port Harcourt has a story to tell. Unavailability of link roads and flyovers have made it impossible for people of the area to travel or access their neigbouring local government areas. It’s disheartening; most people even find it difficult to go and bury their loved ones. Not only that, it has contributed to the underdevelopment of the hintherlands.
Kalabari people have suffered severely due to inaccessible roads, even a common fisherman finds it very difficult to transport his goods from one community to the other thereby making it impossible for business development.
Apart from the Trans-Kalabari road, what other areas do the Kalabari’s feel neglected?
Kalabari people are part of River State; we exercised our franchise in voting for the government of the day. So, we should not be exempted from any developmental projects in the state, Kalabari should enjoy good roads, infrastructural developments such as light, drinking water, accessible roads and other basic amenities which people in the upland are enjoying. That governmental developmental process should not only be limited to the upland, all areas of the state should be carried along.
The governor of River State, Nyesom Wike, should include the Kalabari kingdom in his developmental process, as he ear marked to construct three flyovers in some parts of the state, at least a link road or one flyover should be sited in the Kalabari kingdom, the governor should remember his promise to build the Trans-Kalabari road, now is the time and when this is done, it will lead to development, increase in IGR, youth empowerment and employment. It will reduce crime rate, and companies will be attracted to the area. Kalabari people are lovers of peace, unity and would continue to maintain peace in the state.