Dilapidated Roads: Between Government Contractors and the People

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A section of Dilapidated Road along Warri-Benin Express Way
A section of Dilapidated Road along Warri-Benin Express Way

Traumatic season it has been, no doubt, for commuters of the Warri-Benin expressway. More damaging is the image it confers on the government of the day – whether Federal or State.

The nexus really is that road construction or repair are generally awarded by government based on resources, economic importance and perhaps strategic import or need for it, to a contractor who must show competence to undertake such task and obligated to fulfill the terms, conditions and specifications therein, with the people as Chief inspectors and monitors of the project as their money remains the fuel and binding element for the sustenance of this tripodal relationship.

During this period of strain on the Warri-Benin expressway, the inhumane nature of some unscrupulous contractors and the laxity of the people has been brought to bare as traffic increased on alternate routes. I once advised my good friend, Mr Wale Adefila to use a recently constructed road connecting Amukpe from Ore-Okpe town because this road was “clean” and “spotless”. Sardonically, this road has become a shadow of itself. It’s now as dangerous and impassable as the “normal” Nigerian road.

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Driving through, I saw a road that was constructed without stone base. I doubt if the road was ever excavated. What I saw was more or less a road that was simply asphalted on sand. Apparently, the contractors thought it was just a community road and never envisaged the traffic it’s currently experiencing. I am very sure they got full payment for the “job”.

We can ask questions for all we care, who awarded the project? To whom was it awarded? Who supervised it? Who commissioned it? Who this? Who that? but nothing will change until the laities take their place of inspecting, monitoring and owning every project in their domain.

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Kudos must be given to the indefatigable President of the Isoko National Youth Assembly, Comr Umuakpo Ovie who leads in this light. I call on community youths and leaders to become more involved in project execution as some of these contractors are utterly ruthless and heartless. It makes no difference whether he is from your clime or not, the handler must be made to defend his work at all times.

I call on the government to engage the services of well trained and corruption proof, COREN certified engineers for project certification before commissioning. It is distasteful to see government efforts ruined by few callous and greedy individuals.

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Contractors should wear a more humane face as it’s not a crime to see roads survive from one administration to another. Some of these roads were commissioned by the immediate past administration and already pose a challenge to the government of the day.

May God recompense the evil hearted contractors with the merchandise of their hearts. Amen

Eniwake Orogun was a former President,  Students’ Union Government, University of Benin and currently serves as Global Director of Media and Strategy, Isoko National Youth Assembly and writes from Delta State.

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