Scam, quacks and abandoned community projects

on   /   in Viewpoint 11:15 am   /   Comments

OUR governors are doing what they must, but some of them are not doing enough. What is going on in respect of the road network in our states? I have asked this question and will continue to ask.

The deterioration in governance in some of our states is comparable to the decay in our moral values that were undoubtedly stable and stronger before the civil war and immediately after the Nigerian civil war and in the 1970s and 1980s. Some of our states are in shambles: infrastructure in disrepair and need total overhaul no matter how viewed.

Politically, we have lost our stronghold and are struggling, looking for a place to lean-on and most times, blame others for our mistakes.

Economically, some of the states are not in the position to sustain themselves, yet we do not have enough job creating businesses and some of us within the privileged class have succeeded in moving their production and economic base outside the boarders of our states and by so doing, enriching other states, yet we complain that our states are not doing well.

Socially, we are not doing enough to retain and maintain the social safety net we once enjoyed in this country.

The security of some of our states have been a laughing stock within the last couple of years, yet our privileged class found comfort in making foreign lands with minimal to adequate security services their home base. Academically, I do not know of any state in Nigeria with adequate or perfect school infrastructure and facilities.

We have forgotten the fundamental mission of education and are destroying the entire generations of our growing children. Our young and supposedly, the generations to take over from us, are not receiving the best education we can afford and their teachers not properly paid and cared for. If our states are in shambles today, what would they look like when today’s children, we are denying fundamental educational facilities, take over the mantle of leadership and running of the states?

It is true that each member of our society has a civic responsibility to do all that he or she can to make life comfortable for both himself and his family, but it is equally true that it is the absolute responsibility of our government to start addressing the needs of our people, providing the necessary facilities for the citizens to help themselves.

Given our limited infrastructure and facilities, many people are already doing more than what they must to survive within the current structure of our tough economic situation. An average Nigerian man strives in adversity to sustain his family, but how long would that continue?

We must not continue hiding behind the shell in denying ourselves and our generations to come the opportunities and privileges due to us and them because we have not been blessed with good governance. The governments in some of our states, to some extent, have failed our people and we condone that.

We must stop living in denial and start facing the challenges among which are: to tell our governments that it is their responsibility to make provisions for adequate security services within the states, create and encourage facilities that would boost jobs for both our young school leavers and anyone that wants a gainful employment, build standard and motorable roads, educational facilities, factories, industries, health care facilities, ventilated and habitable market facilities for our business men and women, affordable housing, water, electricity, etc.

When in this life time can we buy lands to build our dream homes without first designating areas for electric generators and boreholes? We give priority to ancillary support services (generator houses and boy’s quarters) instead of the primary unit which is the main building and it is a scam because the primary unit should come first.

As unfortunate as it may sound, those of us within the intellectual class have not done enough to challenge our governments despite our personal concerns and interests. We have always rushed to identify what our governments are doing and have failed to identify and tell them what they are not doing that would impact and advance the standard of living of our unprivileged class. Some of us are only interested in echoing the songs of our governors, especially after listening to their well written speeches and campaign gimmicks.

Our intellectual class has forgotten that it is only through them that we can bridge the gap between the governments and the poor people of our states and only by integrating the debates and allowing the governments to consider the people’s needs and their day to day struggles can we start formulating agendas for the growth and development of our states. Our governments have formed the habit of taking advantage of our intellectual and savvy class in subduing our needs.

I will not denigrate the accomplishments of some of our governments and some of our past governments except that they have not done enough to embrace the common man’s needs, yet our intellectual class found comfort flirting and affiliating with them, giving them undeserved credence without knowing what it takes to live with relations who are jobless.

They do not have family members who could not afford one balanced meal a day, have children in the family and community who attend schools without decent chairs, windows and even their teachers have to borrow chalks to write on charcoal boards.

Because they are privileged, they do not have family members and members of their communities who could not afford taking their sick ones to private hospitals and ended up in our poorly equipped and staffed public health centres where the governors’ family members would never go when sick. They never had any reason to ply our major roads.

Most times, they were flown from point A to point B and used government escorted siren motorcades that never exposed them to the dangers of the roads.

While some states and communities around the world are harnessing the creative abilities of their well trained engineers and tapping into their innovative capabilities, some of the Nigerian states seem to be promoting quacks and businessmen who can manipulate the process in securing contracts to build our roads.

A close observation of some of our roads under construction or constructed would reveal unbelievable number of problems detrimental to us, the road users and our lives. The elevations of the roads are out of order, drainages and retention ponds not properly built, if built, and we keep awarding contracts to quacks.

A great majority of our community roads are poorly constructed by unqualified engineers and road contractors some people called, “Eze-Eze and Co” (one Man Company). Unfortunately, most of those engineers and contractors may not be able to explain the difference between composite and tensile strengths yet, they are building our roads.

A majority of the roads were built without adequate considerations for runoff water and flood drains, as a result, accumulated water from those poorly constructed roads end up in our homes and in most cases, pulling down family compound fences and leaving poor people with unexpected bills and expenses.

Within a kilometer from the Nkpo – Nnobi road, in a small town, Ideani, in Idenmili local government area, the road was built not too long ago and without adequate considerations for runoff and heavy water coming from downhill slopes.

The water, without anywhere to go, ended up in area compounds, pulling down fences, flooding homes and destroyed properties in millions of Naira. The devastations and expenses were unbearable and occur almost on yearly routine.

Some of those community roads, when not completed, would be abandoned. Our communities go through insurmountable hardships one could blame on poor management styles by our people. Poor management styles in the sense that our community leaders have not formed the habit of reviewing or questioning projects coming to us, especially, federal and state government projects, attracted by our politicians.

Some of our community leaders are afraid of asking questions and questioning the qualifications of the contractors coming to execute projects in our communities. They are afraid of asking to know the extent, quality and total projects coming to them.

They have failed to realize that it is their civic responsibility to know what is coming into their communities and to their people. This lack of interest and concerns have resulted in unqualified contractors been awarded contracts that are in most cases, abandoned or finished unsatisfactorily and no one questions the contractors and their motives. If this is not a scam, what is it?

BONS OBIADI, an architect, wrote from Awka, Anambra State.

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