Residents of Elile, Amadaka and Kampa in Eastern Obolo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have been subjected to a life of deprivation and hardship following the neglect of the Okoroette/Elile/Amadaka/Kampa road project by successive governments.
Traveling from Okoroette to the communities, a short distance of about nine kilometres, is always tough for the inhabitants.
It was gathered that since the creation of the council in 1996, no contract has been awarded on the road until last year February, during the electioneering when Governor Udom Emmanuel, awarded the contract to a firm.
However, our correspondent gathered that the contractor had yet to be re-mobilised to site after the earth surface had been excavated, thereby further worsening the road.
Residents have suffered neglect and all forms of pains due to the road’s deplorable state. Motorists who dare to ply the road count losses whenever their vehicles get trapped in potholes on the road.
Travellers and visitors park their vehicles at the Okorette end and prefer to take commercial motorcycles who charge exorbitant fares. During rainy seasons, large pools of water gather on the excavated surfaces thereby making motorists and commuters groan in pains.
The social and economic activities of the people continue to decline as the road situation worsens.
Speaking on the condition of the road, the paramount ruler of Eastern Obolo, Harry Etetor, expressed dismay that the state of the road had become worrisome.
He said that the local government created in 1996, 24 years ago, from Mkpat Enin LGA, had no motorable road, despite being the the major oil-producing community in the state.
The monarch said, “I don’t think I can speak much on the road because you have witnessed it yourself. Since the inception of Eastern Obolo about 24 years ago created in 1996 from Mkpat Enin LGA, we are still having this kind of road. It means that for 24 years as a council, there is no change”
The monarch, who appreciated the state governor for awarding the road contract, appealed to the governor to find out why the contractor had yet to resume work despite order by the government that all contractors should return to site.
He said “I want to thank Governor Udom Emmanuel because he is the only governor that has thought it wise to award the contract. To be sincere, whatever has happened that makes work not to progress, I cannot tell. I don’t know whether I should call it administrative bottlenecks or red tapeism.
“My appeal is that the governor should, as a matter of urgent importance, find out about the contractor. This is because a few days back I heard the announcement that all contractors should return to site. But in our own case, the contractor has gone back to work. I know that people will complain because of constant rains, but I believe that it is during rainy season that a good work can be done particularly in swampy areas like ours.”
Some youths in the communities who spoke to our correspondent also expressed displeasure over the suffering the deteriorated road had subjected the dwellers to.
The President, ‘Obolo Me Obolo’ a socio-cultural organisation in the area, Mr Emmanuel Paul, described the conditions of the people as pathetic, and called on the state government and relevant federal government agencies including the Niger Delta Development Commission to come to the aid of the communities
He stated, “That we have been marginalised is not an understatement. If you pass through the road you will not be happy. You have already seen it as you come. This is just one per cent of Eastern Obolo. You are aware that most of the communities are riverine, so if a plain land is like this, you can imagine what those in the riverine communities are going through; no water, clinic or road.”
The member representing Ikot-Abasi/Eastern Obolo in the state House of Assemby, Uduak Uduudoh, neither picked calls nor replied the text messages sent to his mobile.
The contractor handling the road project could not be reached for comments, but the state Commissioner for Works, Prof Eno Ibanga, said the road had not been abandoned.
He said the contract for the construction of the said road was awarded last year and the contractor already mobilised, adding that his ministry would undertake an inspection of the project to ascertain the state of the road.
Uduudoh said, “The contract for the construction of the said road has been awarded by Governor Udom Emmanuel, so I don’t believe that it has been abandoned. Every other information concerning the road, I will not be able to respond immediately. However, since you have drawn my attention to it, I am going to schedule it as part of my itinerary for inspection next week.’’