WHAT difference would it make that 70 people died on a pothole riddled road in Anambra State? Who are these people anyway? Are they not the ordinary people whose high numbers are truly irritating our governments?

Government’s reaction to these deaths has been grave silence. Years back, government officials would have responded to this tragedy by blaming the people for not staying in their homes.

Ours is a country where government is for those who manage to get their fat fingers on the reins of power. They would do everything to stay there, including making their importance known by ignoring the people, especially the ordinary people, whose major offence is that they were born in these parts.

How can 70 people perish in one day and our governments are busy talking about election, the same election that has given them the powers to preside over this perfidy called governance?

Every year in the past 10 years, we have had a Minister of Works, usually one of the most highly ranked Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The budget for his office to fix roads is considerable.

What happens to this budget? What is our unfeeling governments thinking about tragedies like these that pointedly indicate failure of governments to fulfil their obligations to the people?

Our governments are uncaring and they have feasted on this unconscionable attitude for years. It has become a part of government to neglect the people, after all, the votes that count at elections may not come from the people.

The Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway on which the 70 died was once one of the best roads in Nigeria. It was built as part of the Tran African Highway that runs from the ports in Port Harcourt through Enugu to Abakiliki to Ugep in Cross River State to Bamenda in Cameroun.

Nigeria’s neglect of this road has resulted in constant deaths, there are of course no concerns about the businesses that the expressway was supposed to enhance in Aba, Umuahia, Okigwe, Owerri, Onitsha and the hundreds of villages that are off this massive road.

The 70 are dead, now lying in their mass graves. Nobody knows who they are, what their hopes were, what missions  they had that had been aborted by the negligence of governments that are out of touch with Nigerians.

A massive crater that resulted from years of nobody caring unturned the fuel tanker, which burst into flames, threw balls of fires into other buses that were waiting to take their turns through those gullies that are part of this highway.

The condolences, the recriminations, the pretences of regret over these deaths would solve nothing. If we had governments that cared, the endless deaths that past administrations have decreed for Nigerian road users would have been enough grounds to prosecute those who presided over these affairs.

Governance has be reduced to winning elections – even 7,000 cannot stop those determined to win the next election, that really is the tragedy.


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