From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
The residents of Umuguma, a suburb of Owerri in Imo State, have heaved a sigh of relief as the state government has commenced the reconstruction of the major access road to the town.
The road also connects the Okuku Community in Owerri-West Local Government Area of the state.
The government is not only reconstructing the road, but has also decided to dualized it with drainage system to tackle flood on the road.
Before the commencement of the reconstruction of the road motorists and residents of the town have had a harrowing experience plying the road as the previous contractors who were awarded the contract for the reconstruction of the road had abandoned it for about six years, which made the road to become impassable, especially during the rainy season.
The bad state of the road had equally affected commercial activities in the area as most shop owners could not make sales because of low patronage.
A resident of Umuguma, Mr Frank Ugochukwu, said that the reconstruction of the road would ease the stress that residents of the area go through before getting to their respective homes, which made him to commend the state governor for remembering the people.
“We commend Governor Okorocha for commencing the reconstruction of the road because it is always a nightmare to pass on this road, especially during the rainy season as most cars are stuck in the mud and the only way those who live in Ogbo- Osisi market area and Okuku could get to their homes is by using Okada riders who ply through track roads. The bad state of the road even led to exodus of most residents who are not indigenes of the area.
“The road was first constructed during the administration of Achike Udenwa and it was a single lane, but when Okorocha became governor he had decided to dualized the road, but the contractors who were awarded the contract for the expansion of the road abandoned it after carrying out earthwork and for almost six years nothing was done on it. So, whenever it rains, it becomes a nightmare for both motorists and pedestrians to pass on the road and the only means to get to your home would be through the use of Okada. We are happy that the road is being reconstructed and we pray that the road would be finished on time,”he said.
Similarly, Ikpa Chijioke told Oriental News that the residents of Umuguma have suffered a great deal because of the terrible condition of the road, saying that the people are happy as it is being reconstructed.
He said that because of the condition of the road most residents who have cars have stopped using them.
His words: “Most residents have stopped using their cars because of the bad roads to lessen their maintenance cost, I have parked my car and now preferred to use Okada, but with the ongoing reconstruction of the road even if only one lane has been completed; so far most people are now using their cars. So, I commend the state governor for that,” he said.
Also a commercial motorcyclist, Kelechi Iheancho, expressed happiness that for the first time in six years real construction was being undertaken on the road which he described as a major artery to the people living at Umuguma and Okuku.
He equally pointed out that commercial transporters would now spend less on the maintenance of their vehicles which he said was costing them a lot because of the constant repairs on their vehicles.
“The reconstruction of this road would be of great help not only to the people living in this area, but also to us who are into transport business because we have really suffered because of the bad road as all the money we make go for repairs. So, we thank God that at last the road is being reconstructed and even if the road has not been finished we are using the finished lane of the dual carriage and I pray that it would be completed on time,” he said.