This is exemplary

By John Okiyi Kalu on 30/11/2014

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Rumuagholu road in Obio-Akpor LGA of Rivers State has been in a terrible state for more than one year. Since the rain started in April residents cannot access their houses in this densely populated PH neighborhood through the Rumuokoro roundabout end of the road.  They can only approach through some complicated short cuts that offer equally pathetic prospects for human and vehicular traffic. Even government officials no longer bother to come to the area for events because there is simply no road to pass through.

It was not always that way at Rumuagholu road. Things simply went from bad to worse for a fast developing and bubbly neighborhood.

Having approached the local government and state authorities severally without any immediate remedy, the proprietors of schools along Rumuagholu road (and they are many) decided to come together, raise funds and fix the road. They have started with clearing gutters and filling pot holes. It is expected that Landlords in the area will also join them and help fix the terrible portions of the road as well as the blocked drainage system, pending when government will come to the rescue of Rumuagholu residents.

This is really exemplary and should be copied. Government cannot do everything for everyone at the same time. Self help is still better than whining and doing nothing, especially when your personal business or life is at risk.

Where I live in PH we have two major churches along our street-Redeemed and Presbyterian. The members of Redeemed Christian Church raised funds and executed the repair of the street road with interlocking stones and the Presbyterians copied them and extended the work up to their own church gate at the end of the street. Our street is now one of the finest in PH. Thanks to conscientious church goers.

I have no issue with people asking government to do blablabla for them including even preparing sunday rice for citizens. We deserve it, especially those of us that pay taxes.  But we can still help ourselves. Resources are always limited (ask Economists) and stretched towards many projects and needs. Development projects cannot just go round fast enough. Again, given that many no longer trust government to respond in a timely fashion, there is nothing wrong with organizing to help yourselves.

You only need to study enrollment figures among the schools at Rumuagholu to understand why the schools rallied to fix the road without waiting for government. In recent years when Rumuagholu road was relatively pliable, the schools in the area were the fastest growing schools in PH. They also post great WAEC results even without a single "model" school in the area. They are all private owned and used to deploy buses to ferry students from GRA and other areas of PH to their locations.

There are other businesses along Rumuagholu road but most have gone under because of lack of access roads. I can't remember the last time I visited my favorite supermarket along that road. They have been cut off by bad road. Rents have also dropped alongside value of properties all because of failed access road.

Amazingly, one big church along that road with access gates to East-West and Rumuagholu have not exactly helped the residents. They won't allow road users to drive into the "hapless" road through their massive church premises and even pedestrians have it tough with them when a church service is not going on. If only the church that boasts of thousands of wealthy members had devoted income from their "harvest" earnings to the road challenge, it would have done more work than the total contributions of the schools. May be they feel unconcerned because they have access to a recently rehabilitated East-West road that is a beau to behold.

Let's learn from the school proprietors of Rumuagholu road and support government to develop critical infrastructure in our areas. The effort of Redeemed Christian church members and their Presbyterian counterparts are also commendable. Wealthy individuals built most Igbo towns without government help. The same spirit is needed at this time of declining federal revenue and increased security expenditure occasioned by the Boko Haram challenge.

Yet I won't fail to advice governments at all levels to try as much as possible live up to their social responsibilities to the people. Balance development efforts as much as possible by building roads, providing security, social welfare including empowerment of the less privileged, renewal and improvement of educational facilities, etc. Then and only then can you make tax payment a thing of joy for the citizens.


Posted on November, 30 2014

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