The time when Anambra State was referred to as the state with the best road network is fast slipping into history. This is no thanks to the progressive dilapidation of roads across Anambra State. From the capital city of Awka to the commercial hub of Onitsha and down to the industrial heartbeat of the state, Nnewi, the story is the same: terribly bad roads.
In the capital city of Awka, many roads are in a state of disrepair. Important roads like the Unizik Temporary Site and others have become inaccessible, making one wonder where the Anambra Road Maintenance Agency (ARMA) is. This is an agency set up to detect cracks on roads and effect immediate repair. But over the years, this agency has merely been existing in name.
Gradually what began as potholes have now blossomed into massive craters that have constituted one big nightmare to road users in the state.
Obviously, assurances by government every year that the roads would be handled after the rains have yielded nothing. If anything, the situation has worsened. It is no more a joyful experience to traverse roads in the state. The rot we see today on these roads are not what just appeared. They have been there for some years now, developing from little holes in the ground to potholes and now what can be likened to as craters. This is not just acceptable.
It is time those saddled with road maintenance in the state were made to sit up or get the boot. The citizenry deserve better. Also the state government should prioritize road construction and maintenance over any other thing at the moment.
A project like the ongoing Anambra Cargo Airport which is gulping millions should be suspended and the money used in restoring the roads to their former states. What is the need to have an airport that cannot be accessed because of bad roads?
The problem of the state at the moment is not an airport but fixing of the bad roads which are used by a vast majority of the populace. Prioritizing an airport over bad roads for now is a luxury we can ill afford; an airport being largely an elitist, rather than a populist project, at least given the present scenario in the state.
The Onitsha River Port can serve the purpose of getting cargo to Onitsha for now and efforts should rather be made to get the river port functional.
Besides, Anambra is surrounded by airports situated in Enugu, Owerri and Asaba. Thus, while an airport is good, it does not serve or solve an immediate need. Many accidents are being recorded because of the bad roads and this cannot continue.
It is time to be realistic and muster the courage and political will to do the needful and save the state from the embarrassment of what we call roads today. Surely, the state government should consider declaring a state of emergency on our roads and the time to do so is NOW!