By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA— THE Ibedaowei of Opokuma Kingdom, HRM, King Okpoitari Diongoli, has decried the deplorable state of the East-West Road, straddling the six states of the South-South, describing it as national shame and embarrassment.
He singled out the Opokuma Junction and Oil Mill-Akpajo-Eleme axis of the road in Bayelsa and Rivers states respectively, wondering why the Federal Government would allow the rot.
The royal father, who alongside other commuters recently spent several hours driving through the troubled route, in an interview called on the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, rehabilitate the road, noting that this will not only save travellers the agony they are daily subjected to on the road but stop the haemorrhage on the nation’s economy.
Lamenting the state of the road he said: “This road unarguably is the live wire of Nigeria’s economic survival. That the East-West Road is the busiest in the country is to state the obvious. The nation’s critical investments, especially in oil and gas industry from which the country earns over 85per cent of her foreign exchange are situated in the Niger Delta region for which this vital road is meant to connect. It therefore, rudely stands logic on its head why the Federal Government will leave such a vital road to fail to a deplorable and embarrassing state.”
Recalling his experience on road, he said, “The Kolokuma/Opokuma axis is not the only section of the road begging for urgent attention. Last week Wednesday on my way to Eket, Akwa Ibom State for the 26th TROMPCON Conference, I spent over four hours along the Oil Mill-Akpajo- Eleme axis of the same East-West Road on a journey that ordinarily should not be more than 45mins. While in the gridlock in both instances, I lost count of the number trucks loaded with 33000 litres of PMS and other trucks in and out of the refineries, seaports as well as those serving oil facilities dotted across the Niger Delta trying to connect with other parts of the country.
“The implication is that the country is losing billions of Naira daily under such situations. On the individual level man-hour losses, mental and psychological torture for being trapped in the middle of nowhere, worsening health conditions for those with health challenges, missed opportunity for those who had one business engagement or interview to attend to or another are incalculable. What about wear and tears for vehicle owners and losses incurred by farmers and traders who deal on perishable produce?”