Despite being separated by the creation of states in 1991, Anambra and Enugu still see each other largely as one. That is why a vast majority of Anambra people still have property in Enugu, with many still living there; while many Enugu people do business and live in Anambra. Indeed, it is no secret that the two states share a common history, having co-existed as one in the entity called Old Anambra State.
Many people still go to work from either state to the other and return same day. It is just about a 45-minute drive from Awka to Enugu or vice versa. However, that was before the roads linking the two states broke down.
First, it was the road along the express which offered the quickest route to either state that became inaccessible. It caused traffic to divert to the old road which eventually broke down. Now it is nightmarish to travel along either road by people.
Indeed, the old road which has become the only one used now has become so bad that a journey of hitherto 45 minutes now takes close to double the time. The terribly bad portions on the road constitute traffic gridlocks which leave people gasping for breath. But at a time when the economy has prevented many people from taking the alternative of flying, people are condemned to using the collapsed road and suffering.
Because of the current poor condition of the road, many people have diverted to the Ufuma-Inyi Road, thus extending the time of going to and from Enugu to two hours. Should this road fail too, people will be forced to get to Abia State before getting to Enugu or Anambra.
It is noteworthy that the two ends of the road belonging to the governments of the two states were constructed not too long ago. That had brought relief to people who quickly seized the opportunity to make it their preferred choice. But with things as they are at the moment, it is clear that people from both divides will soon be permanently separated from each other, despite the nearness.
This is why we are calling on the governments of the two states to dialogue and explore ways of restoring the road to its former good condition, especially as it is not a federal road like the one at the express.
The essence of the two states dialoguing is to have each state government reconstruct the portion in its territory. There is no doubt that economic activity had been boosted since the road became very busy. More economic activity will be witnessed if the road is restored to its former state.
But the seeming collapse of the Southeast Governors' Forum, which was an umbrella body of the Southeast states, will no doubt make it a harder task to address this situation as the governors now lack a common voice.
The Southeast will not become a big economic bloc if the states within it cannot access one another. Something just has to be done to take care of these seeming little things that snowball into grave consequences.