With a sense of betrayal by past governments at the state and federal levels, the people of Arochukwu in Abia State have resolved to take their destiny in their own hands, by seeking palliative measures to make their deplorable road a bit motorable.
The decision was taken at the Central Executive Committee meeting of Nzuko Arochukwu Worldwide, held recently in Lagos. The road leading to Arochukwu from Ohafia, a 27-kilometer segment, is a continuation of the Umuahia-Uzuakoli-Ohafia-Arochukwu federal highway.
The Umuahia-Ohafia segment was rehabilitated in 1996 by the defunct Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), but the 27 kilometer stretch from Ohafia to Arochukwu has remained untouched ever since. According to those that use the road regularly (residents of Arochukwu, Ihechiowa, Ututu and Isu communities) the Ohafia-Arochukwu axis of the road has remained un-motorable for years, prompting a sustained outcry from the people.
Following the deafening outcry of the people of the area, the former government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in November 2012, awarded the contract for the reconstruction of the road to an indigenous company, BEKS KIMSE Nigeria Ltd. at the cost of N4.8 billion. The project was scheduled to be completed within 24 months. But according to some indigenes of the communities serviced by the road, the contractor abandoned the job after doing a paltry 2 kilometer asphalting work. The rains of the last two seasons, the people further lamented, have made the road “totally impassable,” and the communities completely cut off.
Apparently with a sense of frustration, the people resorted to plying an alternative route – Ozuabam-Ndi Okereke Arochukwu road, a detour from Bende-Ohafia road. This state-owned road has also caved in to pressure, and urgently needing attention. Thus confronted by the dire situation, the leadership of Nzuko Arochukwu, the umbrella organisation of Arochukwu town unions, resolved recently to rally indigenes of the ancient kingdom at home and in the Diaspora, to contribute their widow’s mite to support efforts to procure palliative measures that will make the road passable.
The First Vice President of Nzuko Aro, Sir Dozie Udensi said Arochukwu indigenes at home and in the Diaspora resolved to take steps that will provide palliative succour for the road users. On his part, the Second Vice President of Nzuko Aro, Mazi Kingsley Nwaka, waxing philosophical, said as a community abandoned by the government, Arochukwu people have resolved not to abandon themselves hence the people have started taking steps to put in place palliative measures that will make the road, especially the Ozuabam-Ndi Okereke-Arochukwu axis, passable.
Nwaka said: “It is clear that the government has forgotten us; therefore we urge Umu Aro to dip their hands into their pockets and donate the much they can towards fixing our road. A people abandoned by government cannot afford to abandon themselves.”