The threat to Edo 2024 governorship polls

Edo 2024 governorship election may not hold in Edo Central, Edo South and Edo North senatorial zones due to the bad condition of federal roads in Edo state. The poor condition of federal roads in Edo is a threat to Edo 2024 governorship election. I am worried that the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, officials and election materials may not reach their destinations due to bad federal roads in Edo state. The condition of the roads is a threat to the Edo electorate. The condition of the roads will disfranchise the people of Edo state and it will prevent INEC from transporting electoral materials to their various destinations. The condition of the roads will prevent political parties from campaigning for the September 21 election.

Edo North and Edo Central will be cut off from Edo South if urgent action is not taken. The condition of the roads will affect the outcome of the September 21 Edo governorship election. Electoral officials and materials may not reach the two senatorial zones due to bad federal roads linking the two zones.

I am raising my concern over the bad state of the federal roads and calling for their urgent rehabilitation to save them from breakdowns. I am appealing to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to consider World Bank assessment, the poor state of roads in Nigeria which impacts negatively on cost of production, and represents a major trigger of cost-push inflation.  

I am appealing to President Tinubu to factor in, the maintenance agency’s roles in all roads investment, including, for example, the SUKUK Bond funded interventions to save the dancing bridges on Benin-Abuja road that will soon collapse. River Orle bridge and River Ejo bridge on Benin-Auchi road are dancing and about to collapse.

 According to the World Bank, “roads make a critical contribution to economic development and growth, and bring important social benefits”. The economy and a greater part of the country’s population depend on road transportation. Unfortunately, these roads are acclaimed to be among the worst in the world as Nigerians go through untold hardship moving from one part of the country to another. Indeed, it has been estimated that the nation loses about N3 trillion annually in assets value due to the poor conditions of the roads. Such a huge loss is, no doubt, detrimental to the country’s developmental aspirations. As a critical infrastructure, adequate road reconstruction, rehabilitation and maintenance have become periodically necessary. The responsibility for the building and maintenance of the road networks in the country is shared between the tiers of governments – federal, state and local. It should be noted that, out of the total road length nationwide, about 35,000 kilometres are federal highways, 50, 000km state highways and 150,000 are local government feeder roads.

I am appealing to President Tinubu that most federal owned roads are turning into death-traps and hotspot for bandits and kidnappers. I am appealing to President Tinubu to repair the roads. I am appealing to President Tinubu to hasten its intervention on the roads and due to increasing pressure on them the roads keep getting bad.  

Potholes are ubiquitous on Nigerian roads. But there are gaping holes in the road leading from Benin-Abuja which have sparked alarm. There are deep gullies on Benin-Warri road, Benin-Asaba road and Benin-Abuja road. Upon closer inspection, the depth of the hole appears are posing potentially dangerous consequences for vehicles driving past.

I am appealing to President Tinubu for Prompt and adequate road maintenancewhich is important. Once surface deterioration or destruction has started, it can proceed very rapidly. Postponing highway maintenance can result in several havoc such as fatal accidents to commuters. The goal of maintenance is to preserve the asset, not to upgrade it. I am appealing to President Tinubu that there is need for more cooperation with the Highway Controllers, even though the core mandate of FERMA is road maintenance, and that highway maintenance is very critical to increase in productivity and creation of jobs which is the goal of the present administration.

The condition of Benin-Abuja road is the consequence of years and years of neglect and that is why with President Tinubu is doing a number of road works concurrently to address this issue. The Benin-Ekpoma-Auchi axis of the road had been a recurring nightmare, dreaded by inhabitants and visitors to Benin City especially during rainy season. The attempt by the Federal Ministry of Works to shirk its responsibility to keep this axis motorable by not fixing the axis for over a decade is particularly painful to the people and residents of Benin City due to the huge economic importance of this road. Travelers have been known to spend days on the road from Lagos to Benin-Ore a journey that ordinarily would have taken a little over five and a half hours. On entering Benin, they are subjected to further logjam lasting several hours occasioned by waist deep flood waters at three particular points along the road. Shockingly, rather than redesign the road to take care of the flooding challenges, the Federal Ministry of Works has chosen to only patch the potholes, relay the asphalt overlay and install “New Jersey” median. The contract does not include drainage works in Benin City, a strange decision considering the fact that flooding remains the main cause of the road’s failure over the years.

A Central Bank of Nigeria research finding held that: “The annual loss due to bad roads is valued at billions of naira, while additional vehicle operating cost resulting from bad roads is valued at billions of naira. This figure does not take into account the man-hour losses in traffic due to bad roads and other emotional and physical trauma people go through plying the roads and the consequent loss in productivity.

I am appealing to President Tinubu for adequate appropriations and release the annual budget circles, as well as any other special interventions to enable the Agency perform at its best. Benin-Abuja road had been abandoned (maintenance wise) over the years and became particularly dilapidated during the period starting around 2003 up till now. The road has been the reason for public outcry and outrage for over a decade being the primary cause of fatal accidents and unreasonably extended journey times due to its scandalous state.

Inwalomhe Donald,

Benin City, Edo state

[email protected]