For some years now, especially since the advent of Ika Weekly, the community tabloid wholly dedicated to promoting the interest of the people of Ika ethnic nationality, there has been unrelenting clamour for the rehabilitation of the old Lagos/Asaba road, which has fallen into a state of total disrepair.
The road which can be said to be the only major entry and exit point into Orogodo and Boji Boji metropolis, and the commercial hub of Ika nation, has been left unattended for so many years. In its current state, it is littered with dangerous potholes and gullies that remain a threat to motorists and other road users.
Severally, motorists have complained of the huge burden and cost the bad state of the road has placed on them. Some of them have disclosed that they visit mechanic workshops on weekly basis to effect repairs on their damaged cars, caused by the poor condition of the road. Vehicles which are supposed to last longer hardly survive a few years after purchase due to the destructive consequence imposed on them by the gully-ravaged road.
That was why the residents and people of Ika nation, both home and abroad heaved a loud sigh of relief at the rumoured announcement of award of contract for the reconstruction of the road a few years ago. The job which was reported to have been given to ROTECH Construction and Engineering Company Ltd was later bastardized by the said company, which manifested abysmal lack of engineering competence. Even the patch work Rotech claimed to have been instructed to carry out was a disgraceful reflection of the company’s poor attitude to work and total inexperience on road construction.
Not long after, it was again announced that the state government had awarded the contract for the dualization of the road to Hi-Tech Nigeria Limited. Ika people have, however, received what is supposed to be good news with a high sense of skepticism, as many of those interviewed have expressed reservation on the genuineness of the exercise. The contractor should therefore do a very good job to disabuse the minds of Ika people of the inhibition created by long standing shoddy and questionable execution of past contractors so that they can enjoy the traditional hospitality of Ika indigenes.
This is where the pro-active role of the people of Ika nation is needed to forestall past disappointing exercises, where road projects were either poorly executed or totally abandoned. It is the strong view of this paper that for any meaningful job to be carried out on the old Lagos/Asaba road, all hands must be on deck to see to its conclusion.
We are therefore calling on our revered traditional rulers, Onu Ika Nigeria, elected and appointed political office holders of Ika extraction, Ika indigenes in the cooporate world and indeed anybody that wishes for the advancement of Ikaland, to join in the call for the speedy execution and completion of the dualization work on the old Lagos/Asaba road. We are at the same time seriously pleading with the state government, most especially the Executive Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Martin Okonta and all civil commissioners of Ika extraction to use their exalted offices to ensure that the road project is fully executed and to specification.
This project should be of particular concern to Ika sons and daughters in government, if only to show that they care for the overall well-being of their people. The appreciation of Ika people will be long lasting, as these public officers would have, through this project, shown that they truly care for Ikaland. It must be strongly emphasized that our people are looking up to them to ensure that the dualization of old Lagos/Asaba road sees the light of the day. Infact, this creates an opportunity for the people of Ika nation, particularly the political class to speak with one voice for the good of Ikaland.