Infrastructure is one of the five pillars on which Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration is anchored. Other areas are oil and gas, trade and commerce, agriculture, and education.
No doubt, the administration has demonstrated a stride unprecedented in the history of the state in road infrastructure. Scores of roads have been constructed, reconstructed or rehabilitated across the state, especially Aba, the commercial hub of the state while scores are ongoing.
These roads are done with solid drainage systems. The essence of this is to save them from immediate decay as a result of flooding occasioned by the inability of storm water to flow through blocked drainage.
The more cheering news in this road infrastructure revolution is that the state had pioneered the cement technology, which is also known as the rigid pavement technology. This technology ensures the durability of the roads.
Ikpeazu has always emphasised the essence of building roads that would outlast his administration. In his words, “it will be unfashionable if money is borrowed to build roads and within the life span of the administration, money is borrowed to rehabilitate them.”
Besides the long life span of concrete roads, they are environment-friendly. Concrete roads are more environment-friendly compared to asphalt roads and this reduces the frequent repair or patchworks.
Rigid cement technology is highly desirable in this season of recession because it will be unfashionable for the government to return to the roads which it has initially constructed before the next rainy season. These reasons justify the adoption of the rigid cement technology in some roads constructed in Abia.
Unfortunately, the residents of the state, especially Aba, are exhibiting attitudes inimical to the durability of these roads.
Mature and responsible adults have inculcated the habit of dumping refuse in the drainages despite the presence of the Abia State Environmental Protection Agency’s (ASEPA) receptacle bins or waste buckets.
The implication of this is that the dumping of the refuse will lead to the blockage of the drainage. When this happens, the storm water would not flow and the roads are flooded and subsequently eroded.
Another worrisome aspect is that some sections of these roads have been converted to car wash or emergency mechanic workshops. The perpetrators of these unwholesome activities have refused to stop despite the intensive media campaigns mounted by ASEPA against these activities.
These activities pose great challenges to these roads which government constructed with its meager and hard-earned resources. Some of the materials used in the car wash business are corrosive in nature and possess the potentials of eroding these roads.
On the other hand, oil and other lubricants used in car repairs contain dangerous substances that are inimical to the roads. I appeal to the relevant agencies, especially ASEPA, to go beyond media campaigns and enforce stricter measures within the confines of the law to check these unwholesome practices.