By G9ija

Uzodimma needs to shift attention to rural areas —Residents

Starving LGs of allocation by Govs, major source of rural hardship

ENUGU-PROVISION of infrastructure, particularly, roads, in the South East, by the governors is highly lopsided in rural communities. The rural communities are utterly neglected in the provision of social and economic amenities and this is adversely affecting life in the rural areas, and the residents are lamenting the hardship. Efforts by the governors to address this seem grossly inadequate.

Rural roads in Anambra fast degenerating

There was a time Anambra State was adjudged the state with the best road network in the country both within the rural and urban areas, but not anymore. Then, rural life was fun. There was no community that did not have a number of tarred roads, which made it easy for them, especially farmers who evacuated their produce from the rural areas to the urban centers as well as easy link with others. Some civil servants relocated to their communities from where they came to work in Awka, the state capital. But today, the story is different.

The rot began with the Obiano administration.

Today, driving through many communities in the state is a nightmare due to deplorable state of the roads. Sadly, most rural roads have signposts indicating that the state government had awarded contract for their construction, but no work was done on them for the past eight years.

In some cases, preliminary works were done on the roads, but were abandoned, worsening the already bad condition. The Nkwo Okija ring road in Ihiala council area was flagged of by former Governor Willie Obiano and work started by the contractor. However, the government did not release money for it; the road was abandoned, making the road impassable.

In Nibo, Awka South council, a road project started by the state government was later abandoned and people can no longer use the road.

The rural dwellers are suffering the agony, with cost of transportation soaring. In most rural communities, transportation by vehicles has virtually disappeared, leaving the people at the mercy of commercial motorcyclists whose services have even become unaffordable

Although the state government established the Anambra Road Maintenance Agency, with the mandate of fixing roads, particularly in the rural areas, the agency has virtually become moribund due to lack of funds to operate.A community leader in Amawbia, Mr. Sebastian Okoye said there is even no hope that the rural roads in the state would receive any attention in the near future as the state governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo is more concerned with fixing urban roads, which are even worse than the rural roads.Okoye said the rural roads would not have degenerated to the level they are today if the local governments are getting their monthly allocations directly from the federation account.

Abia has done well in rural roads — Abia House Leader

The majority Leader of the Abia State House of Assembly, Chief Solomon Akpulonu, in his assessment, said that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has constructed many rural roads across the 17 council areas of the state. He claimed that Ikpeazu has done over 50 rural roads and could have achieved more if not for paucity of funds.

Most of the rural roads, he noted, were asphalted for the first time in their history and opened the rural areas and helped rural farmers to move their farm produce to the cities.

No, Abia rural roads are still in miserable condition—Residents

However, some residents disagreed with Agbulonu’s position. They said most rural roads in Abia State are still in deplorable conditions. From Ukwa West to Ukwa East, Bende to Arochukwu; Umunneochi to Ugwunagbo, as well as every council in the state, many rural roads are begging for attention despite NNDC interventions. Ukwa land, the only oil-producing area in Abia State seems to be the worst  hit by bad roads in the state. Virtually all roads leading to the entire Ukwa land have collapsed, making access to the communities very difficult. Even agrarian communities of Ikwuano also have their fair share of bad roads.

Abam communities especially Ndioji/Ndiokereke communities towards Arochukwu have almost been cut off from their kinsmen due to bad road. The story is the same in agrarian communities like Ozuitem, and Akanu Item. Communities in Isuikwuato particularly Uturu and Lokpa/Umuchieze areas have been also battling with bad roads.

Decrying the condition of roads in Umunneochi especially Isuochi, the paramount ruler of Isuochi, Eze Godson Ezekwesiri called for urgent Government intervention, lamenting that the State Government had not done anything beyond empty promises to alleviate the plights of his subjects.

Also, the traditional ruler of Oriendu Autonomous Community in Umuahia North council, Eze Philip Ajomuiwe, expressed worry over the state of feeder roads in his community. He said that since 2018 when Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu approved the construction of a 2.5 kilometer Uhuoma/ Ubahu road leading to an agro-allied factory in the community, work was yet to commence on the road and called for urgent action.

We dedicated attention to rural roads to uplift our rural people —Ebonyi Govt.

In Ebonyi, the Umahi administration has done very well in the area of road construction, especially in the rural areas of the State. Virtually all the communities in the state have one or more rural roads to point at; it was a deliberate decision to transform the life of our rural people.

The Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Media and Strategy, Mr. Chooks Oko, explained that it was a deliberate policy of the administration to open up the rural areas with good roads.

“The state of our roads before Governor David Umahi took over was such that people had nightmares when they think of traveling. Past administrations did their bit but the roads were failing. Our roads under Umahi are the best you can get within any state in the country. There were done with a minimum of eight inches of concrete. It just can’t be better. Goods and services are easily moved from place to place thus increasing commercial and social activities resulting in greater profitability and brighter economic gains for all”, Oko said.

Ugwuanyi tried in building rural roads but much still needs to be done

In Enugu State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi  is believed to have done well in building rural roads. He is even accused of concentrating on rural roads to the neglect of urban roads. His intention, according a source close to him, was to link many rural agrarian communities to the urban cities to enable them evacuate their farm produce to the urban cities.

“The government tried in  doing rural areas but many are still left undone. You know, Enugu is a two-city state, Enugu and Nsukka. The rest are rural communities. Ugwuanyi has done many of the  roads the  rural areas but a lot remains because Enugu has many rural roads”, Mathias Eze from Ugwuoba said.

But a community leader in Aguibeje autonomous community, Igbo-Eze North council, Elder Simon Ugwuanyi said they lack access  rural  roads in the community, lamenting that they are