By Peter Duru
Again, after 45 years of being without motorable roads and electricity, residents of communities on the Apir-Tse Poor stretch of Makurdi town have been in euphoric mood following the completion of a 9.4km asphalted road that has opened up the communities for easy accessibility.
The road is also complemented with a 12-km stretch of power transmission line that electrifies the communities on that axis of the town.
Arewa Voice gathered from residents in the communities that the projects, which cost the state government over N1.4billion have completely transformed their lives by linking and opening up the communities in that part of Makurdi town for social, business and economic activities.
The residents of the hitherto forgotten communities who could not hide their excitement narrated how that axis of the town was abandoned for decades by successive governments and how life was so undesirable for them due to lack of a motorable road and power supply despite being situated in the state capital.
For 70-year-old Mrs. Eunice Afo, who said she had lived at Apir for close to 45 years, recalled how she had lived in the community for decades in darkness without access roads and social amenities.
“But all that has changed today because this government has the interest of the people at heart. And that is why we now have electricity and a good road that we never dreamt of before now.
“Even if I answer the heavenly call I will go home a happy woman because my children can now proudly say and claim that they are in Makurdi town. We thank this government for giving us this gift and not making empty promises to us like other governments.
“What this road and electricity has brought for us is unimaginable. As a trade-in food items, people now come from neigbouring communities to patronize me.
“Besides, we can now easily move into nearby rural communities to buy items that we sell in town here instead going far away to buy goods because we now have a good road that cut across several communities where we can access the goods we sell.
“So we cannot thank his government enough for what they done for us. Our children will eternally celebrate this government for remembering that human beings also live in this part of the state capital,” she said.
On his part, a patent medicine shop owner, Richard Ikechukwu who explained he had lived in that part of Makurdi town for close to five years said since the completion of the electricity and road project his business had witnessed unimaginable patronage and boost.
According to him: “When work started on the road, most of us never believed it would be completed. But Governor Ortom has proved us wrong. In fact, I have been living here for about five years; when I came here it was very difficult passing through the stretch of road, especially during the rainy season because the place usually turned muddy.
“But today we can see the dividends of democracy; the community has been opened up and whoever wants to bypass Makurdi main town if you are heading towards Ikpayonge from Gboko and even Taraba State all you need to do is to detour at Terwase Agbado and enjoy a smooth drive through our community and you are in Apir.
“We cannot thank the government enough because aside giving us that sense of belonging as a people living in Makurdi, the state capital, the road has boosted our business activities.
“We can also enjoy constant security patrols because we have almost 10 kilometres of asphalted road that stretches through several communities who now easily come to our community on this part of Apir to patronise our businesses.
“We now have night life in our communities with the coming of electricity as well as several other businesses that rely on electricity unlike what obtained in the past when such businesses never existed in this part of the state capital.
“Aside recording bumper return in our businesses, we now can feel like people living in a town after several decades of neglect by successive governments in the state.
“The completion of these two projects clearly shows that we have a listening government that places premium on the wellbeing of the people who by this gesture will remain indebted to the government,” he added excitedly.
As for Joseph Patrick who owns a retail shop in that part of the town: “At last after several years of being forgotten, a king that remembers forgotten people has finally come to Benue state and we are elated that our condition has also change.
“After living in this community for several years without a good motorable road that runs through the communities we now have every reason to proudly say that we also live in Makurdi town.
“And our businesses have suddenly turned around because people can now easily access our community and the level of patronage we now enjoy is unprecedented and this is a function of the special gift of electricity and road from a listening government for which we will remain an grateful.”