One year after a meeting with the federal government over the ugly state of the Ogoni axis of the East West Road, the leader of Ogoni Peoples Assembly (OPA), Reverend Tomduune Probel Williams has expressed disappointment with the deplorable condition of the road.
Addressing a press conference on the ruinous state of the East West Road in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, the OPA leader expressed frustration that more than a year after getting assurances from the federal government to fix the critical transportation artery, the road remains a shadow of itself.
While lamenting the failed promised repairs, Rev. Williams criticized the government’s failure to fulfill their commitment to prioritize the rehabilitation of the road, which had been in a dire state for many years.
“We had a robust meeting with the federal government regarding the dilapidated state of the East West Road, and up till this day, nothing has happened. It’s not about whom to follow, where to have funding, but implementation.
After all the speeches that were made, the news that followed it on the radio and newspapers, there has not been any implementation.
“The federal government’s promise was a ray of hope for our people and tens of thousands of others who ply the road on daily basis. It is disheartening to see that one year after, we are still grappling with the same issues. Businesses are suffering due to the constant delays and damaged vehicles, and our daily commute has become a nightmare,” he said.
Recall that to protest home the unacceptable condition of the East West Road, Ogonis and other people of good conscience, had for several weeks in 2022, embarked on what they called ‘Occupy East West Road’ and it took the intervention of the federal government to call of the protest.
Highlighting the economic implications of the road’s dilapidated state, Reverend Williams stated that it hindered trade and investment in the area as several businesses had to divert their operations to other regions, resulting in job losses and reduced economic growth for the local communities.
“It is very disheartening to note that after one year of protests on the East West Road, nothing seems to be done”, he said and accused RCC of collaborating with the federal government to deceive the people out of the East West Road, adding that the company promised to start work on the road immediately after the protest but that nothing has been done one year after.
The OPA leader called on President Bola Tinubu and the relevant government agencies to urgently intervene and expedite the repairs on the East West Road, and emphasized the importance of infrastructural development in fostering economic progress.
Rev. Williams made it clear that his concern for the state of the East West Road is not about Ogoni but about people of diverse nationalities who commute on the road.
“People die on this road everyday because when you want to rush anybody on emergency from Ogoniland to the hospital in Port Harcourt, before they get there, they die on the way because of the poor state of the road.
“It appears as if what we complain about has to do with only Ogoni. That road is not meant for only Ogoni people.
That road accommodates three sea ports. That road is the route of Andoni people, Okrika people, Calabar and Akwa Ibom people. That road is the Treasure Base of the nation”, he said.
The East West Road is a major highway connecting the eastern and western regions of the country, and has long been plagued by numerous potholes, uneven surfaces, and inadequate drainage systems.
It has caused severe traffic congestion, accidents, and has become a constant source of inconvenience and economic hardship for the residents and businesses in the area.