By Kelechi Esogwa-Amadi
The Okehi-Igbodo road is now an eye sore. The deplorable state of the road worsened when the rainy season started this year, precisely from the month of April to date. TPCN gathered that whenever the rain falls, the road will turn so muddy that motorists and passers-by will find it difficult to access the road. Yet because of the importance of the road as the only direct link to Okpala (Imo) and Aba (Abia), motorists, especially commercial taxis, buses and petrol tankers from either Port Harcourt or Aba, usually have no choice than to ply it even in its muddy state. In the process, they spread the mud the more, thereby worsening the road further.
When TPCN visited the area on Tuesday, it saw that the bad spot has spread from the defunct Okehi Comprehensive Government College to the popular Eketa Ultra-Modern Market. Apart from the countless pot holes and ditches that dot the roads, the mud has totally changed the colour of the road and the road-side grasses, thereby spoiling the beauty of the environment. Some people now find it difficult to access their compounds as flood and mud have destroyed their frontages.
The ancient Eketa Market, which TPCN learnt was rebuilt into a modern complex by a former chairman of Etche Local Government Area, Barr Reginald Ukwuoma, is now a shadow of itself. Flood and mud have stained the lower part of the walls of the buildings and also destroyed its landscape.
Speaking to TPCN, a woman who said she comes to the market to sell fufu on every market day, said the mud had made life uncomfortable for them by slowing down business in the market.
She further lamented: “Any time rain falls on a market day like it did last week, you won’t see where to put your feet or where you will put your market. You will just put it anywhere and pray that God should help you to sell fast and go. Last week was terrible. Mud spoilt many people’s goods like fufu, garri, vegetables. One woman’s provisions fell down into the mud and she still picked them like that. Some of us carried our fufu far from the road to avoid the mud because as cars were passing, they were also splashing the mud on people. In fact the suffering is too much for us. The government should come and help us. You know that we in the village depend on what we sell in the market and this is the only market we have; if they don’t work this road fast, this market will close and hunger will kill us. Abeg, Governor Wike should help us. Our local government chairman is not ready to do anything because he used to pass through this road and he can’t say he does not know what we are suffering here. Please Wike should help us.”
For Mr Sunday Ike, a motorcycle operator, the road is nothing but a night mare to the indigenes of Etche and particularly Igbodo and Okehi. He wondered why the federal government has failed to fix the road which he claims is a federal route.
“Yes, it’s a federal road. This road links Rivers and Imo State, Aba and Enugu up to North. Imo government later worked their own side. If you go towards Okpala, you will see that from Amala to Okpala, they have worked it. So, Rivers State Government should help us and come and work this road please. We have suffered a lot. See people’s houses, no entrance any more. From Okehi park there to Igbodo here up to our boundary with Amala, the road is gone. If you come here when the rain is falling, you will cry. Even this your trouser will be messed up. Please they should help us,” Sunday pleaded.
When TPCN went to the Etche Council headquarters at Okehi to see the chairman of the LGA, Obinna Anyanwu, for his reactions, he was said not to be on seat. Also, at the ministry of works today (Wednesday), TPCN was told that the commissioner attended the State Executive Meeting and can only be seen on Tuesday next week, being a visiting day.