Udom Emmanuel: Taking Road Infrastructure to the hinterland
By Joe Iniodu
“I never thought I would see a tarred road in my community in my life time”, said an 80 year old man from Nkana Itie Ikpe. “I can now boast like Simeon in the Bible that my eyes have beheld the glory of God. If I depart today, there would be a road for people to traverse to attend my funeral”, the old man whose physical agility belies his age concluded. The road has boosted economic activities in the area.
We are indeed grateful to Governor Emmanuel and would reciprocate this gesture during the 2019 governorship election”, said a 42 year old businessman from Ikpe Ikot Nkon. “Since the construction of this road which cuts across many villages, businesses in the area have leapfrogged favourably.
Now people can place their agricultural produce in front of their houses and enjoy patronage from the deluge of traffic flow that the road is currently enjoying”, the graduate businessman opined.
Governor Emmanuel upon ascension into office had presented infrastructural consolidation and expansion as one of its agenda. Refusing to use it as a political rhetoric, he had set to work turning the state into a massive construction site.
Many had felt that he would concentrate the efforts only in urban areas where the visibility would earn him political mileage and consideration. But the governor’s thinking appears rather deepened in service than politics.
As it is often said, while politicians think about the next election, statesmen think about the next generation. Governor Emmanuel’s commitment to the next generation is well articulated in his determination to take urbanization to the rural areas of Akwa Ibom State.
The construction of 14.1 kilometer Ikpe Ikot Nkon –Obotme –Arochukwu Road which cuts across the villages of Itie Ikpe, Nkana Itie Ikpe, Ikpe Ikot Nkon, Obotme, Ikpanya, Edem Urua, Ikwueme, Okpoto, Nduda, Arochukwu fall into the deliberate policy of urbanization of rural areas by the Udom administration. One of the public infrastructure which has a direct bearing with the people is road infrastructure.
While roads in rural areas are known to create accessibility and bridge social gaps, its greatest values include stemming rural – urban drift; easing the movement of farm produce from the farms to the cities and thus helping in ensuring appropriate pricing; upping the cost of properties in the rural areas; and generally making life more meaningful within the rural areas.
The inhabitants of the stretch of Ikpe Ikot Nkon-Obotme Arochukwu Road, a sprawling expanse that hosts many villages had lived in that pristine state since ancient times. They were unfamiliar with items of modernity like tarred roads. As a rural community, it engages in agriculture as it is blessed with arable land. But its produce never enjoyed appropriate pricing because they lacked the road infrastructure to take them out of their rural community.
Today, there is a to and fro traffic to the community with businesses sprouting within the communities located along the stretch. All of these are attributed to the development vision of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Governor Emmanuel, following Jesus standard came to make life abundant for the people. Many communities that hitherto had no access road today sing the concordant tune of the good things that government has taken to their doorsteps. For the first, caterpillars and other earth moving equipment are humming noisomely in rural communities signaling the manifestation of infrastructural expansion promised by the Udom administration.
The expansion of road infrastructure into rural areas is intrinsic to the agenda of industrialization. When the phrase “enabling environment is touted, many narrow it to pedestrian interpretation. But the phrase is elastic and accommodates all sundry details that would ease and simplify business operations.
Constructing roads in the rural areas which would ease the movement of raw materials including the workforce is an integral part required in the expression of the full meaning of that famous phrase. Emmanuel, being a man with private sector background is familiar with the imports and nuances of the phrase.
It is perhaps why his government is connecting the rural agrarian communities where raw materials are found with areas where industries are located and where they are either already up and running or projected locations which are at the verge of manifestations.
The 14.1 kilometer road is one of the many such interventions in rural road infrastructure in the state. There are some which started and have been halted either owing to the rains or paucity of funds. Suffice it to say that all such hurdles are temporary as information available submits that the administration is committed towards completing the roads. The information further reinforces that having seen the value such roads have added to people of communities where such roads have been completed, government cannot renege on its commitment to the people, being a people centric government.
Life is a quid-pro-quo. Governor Udom Emmanuel has performed his part of the bargain in 3 years and 6 months to the satisfaction of both urban and rural dwellers. He is not relenting. His zeal for service is still at full throttle. Luckily too, he has another constitutional term of 4 years. With his work zeal and ethics, many rural communities are also on cue for the modernity he has foisted on others. It is therefore time for the beneficiaries to reciprocate by revalidating his mandate for another 4 years to serve as thank you for the good job and encouragement for him to expand the development to other parts of the State that are waiting.
The way to prove our love for Akwa Ibom as well as serve as our brother’s keeper is to return him for another term of 4 years so that the State would continue to benefit from his diligent service.
Joe Iniodu is a public affairs analyst.