If there is one thing detested by road users, it is potholes. Potholes are caused by sundry factors, chief of which are poor road construction, poor drainage facilities that cause roads to be flooded, as well as burning of tyres, among others. Potholes also cause accidents as they often catch drivers by surprise and in an attempt to do a quick swerve, either somersault or veer off the road, or even hit other vehicles. Thus, this road phenomenon has become a nightmare to all manner of road users.
It was in an attempt to curb this menace that the Anambra State government of Willie Obiano came out with what it called ''Zero Pothole Policy''. This, as its name implies, means ensuring that potholes do not exist again on the state's roads. A lot of money was subsequently mapped out for this, amid expectation that relevant agencies like the ministry of works and Anambra State Road Maintenance Agency, ARMA, would do a good job of it. However what has been seen so far leaves much to be desired.
It is either maintenance work is not done at all on some roads or what is done does not stand the test of time. Just recently the state commissioner for works, Law Chinwuba, while patching up some potholes on the road beside the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, which leads to the Okpuno area of Awka, said some officials of the Kogi State government had come to learn from Anambra how roads were maintained. The impression was that Anambra had mastered the art of road maintenance. However, a few weeks after the patch work, cracks started reappearing on the sites again. This can only mean that they were not properly addressed.
But a worse aspect of it is the seeming abandonment of some important roads, especially in the capital city. These roads, which have since been ravaged by the elements, have been causing traffic gridlock aside making such places an eyesore. These roads where such potholes exist include a portion of the temporary site of UNIZIK, the entrance to Iyiagu Estate by Kwata Junction and the entrance to Amansea Community, among others.
The ones at Iyiagu and temporary site of UNIZIK are particularly surprising, given the fact that they are in the capital itself and heavily used. The potholes there were allowed to worsen until they are now almost severing the roads.
One therefore wonders what is happening at the ministry of works and ARMA. How is it that what everybody is seeing is not seen by them? It is worthy of note that ARMA's lethargy did not start today as the same happened during the immediate past regime.
This is therefore a wake-up call on the works ministry and ARMA to be alive to their responsibilities. Their roles may also have to be clearly defined by the state government so that one may not see the other as usurping its duties. However, one expects that the ministry of works should be calling the shots and therefore be in a position to direct the ARMA on what to do.
Whatever be the case, the haphazard performances of the two bodies are not doing the state government any good. We cannot be talking about zero potholes when many roads are littered with them.
We feel it is time those saddled with specific responsibilities were made to be truly accountable.