Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
bout three years ago, residents of Yala, Ogoja, Obudu, Bekwarra and Obanliku Local Government Areas in Northern Senatorial District of Cross River State, were delighted at the dualisation of the Mfom –Obudu Road, which cuts across the five local government areas by the Governor Ben Ayade administration.
They were particularly delighted about the dualisation because citizens in other parts had used the deplorable condition of the road, which they describe as ‘powder road’ to mock them.
However, the praises and shouts for joy are no more there as the project is yet to be completed. They are no more smiling as they said the adverse effects of the slow pace of the work is now too much on the people even while they are still counting their losses due to the demolitions embarked upon by the constructing firm.
TNN learnt that some have eventually become Internally Displaced Persons in their home town while some have relocated to nearby suburbs away from the road side.
On the other hand, many are said to be facing untold hardship especially with the harsh economy while some are just frustrated and hopeless. They say transportation from Ogoja to Obudu likewise Okpoma to Okuku is now on the high side because of the dusty road, chain gallops, potholes and cost of fuel.
They are appealing to the governor to ensure that the pace of the project is being increased and for the contractors to be watering the road when necessary. They said the roads are now death traps as the rain is about to begin especially, the Nfom-Okuku axis where it is alleged that many lives have been lost recently.
In his lamentation to TNN during a telephone conversation, John Udam who says he is a social anthropologist appealed to the governor to fulfill his promises to the people. He said the progress of the work is nothing to write home about. “They’ve done like 30 to 40 percent of the job since three years ago and nothing has been achieved that’s just the truth, not up to 50 percent has been achieved. They started from Bekwara or after Otukwan. But on the project they’re saying Obanliku through Otukwan, throughgh Yala, through Okpoma; but if you look at the reality they started from Obudu because Obanliku to Ranch is already having a good road, just a few potholes. So most Obanliku guys are not agreeing to that, they’re not happy about the scam, that one is on one hand anyway.
“They just included it just to eat money, their road is not too bad like that, I’ve been to Ranch before, and I know why they’re saying this. Let’s assume it’s from Obanliku, they’ve not got to Abuochiche junction, that’s our worry too because if it gets to Abuochiche junction there’s one road that passes through Okuku from that Ogoja side so all of those ones are untouched, they now jumped to somewhere and did this their grading work they’re grading, they’re just jumping and I don’t understand them. Everything is just scam scam.
“It is obvious, it is from the government. They’re not mobilizing the contractors; contractors will go to site and cry of funds. They’re complaining of funds before you know it they’ve packed again. You rarely see contractors at site and nobody is querying them, if they mobilize them with funds they will query them. It looks like the government is not releasing funds to the contractors.
“One funny thing again is that the governor promised that he will commission the entire road by 31st of March this year and today we’re in April. So you can see how the body language and everything is going. He reaffirmed it and people marked his words, they reminded him now. A lot of people have criticized him on that and the government has not responded they’re just paying deaf ears”.