By Saviour Ekpe
This writer is neither from Oro Nation nor married there, he does not at present, have any confidant in Oro Extraction but his concern is about the people of Oro as they are generally been described as the ‘third son’ in the hierarchy of seniority and bonafide citizen of Akwa Ibom State. The title of this article has little or nothing to do with the present administration of Pastor Umo Eno since he just assumed office a few months ago.
This article christened, “Lip Service, Hypocrisy And Deception Of Akwa Ibom State Government On Oro People” comes on the heels of the perennial neglect and abandonment of the Oron road from Nsit Atai roundabout to Oron local government area. The said road that has been One step forward, five steps backward has greeted four successive governments ranging from that of Obong Victor Attah as the progenitor; Chief Godswill Akpabio, the uncommon Governor; Mr. Udom Emmanuel and the present innocent and incumbent of Pastor Umo Eno who inherited the spot, which he was used for his campaigns.
Originally, the road was to be divided into two sections, one section was from Nsit Atai to Okobo junction while the second section was from Okobo junction through a virgin land using a different route to Oron. The contract was given to CCECC by the government of Chief Godswill Akpabio, the work kick-started, it was to be a-2-lane dual carriage road and at a certain point, no contract sum was paid to the contractor, they started and abandoned as it is now. But during Gov. Udom Emmanuel’s administration, he promised to dualize the road and that is what all eyes see now. The government kept perambulating from one contractor to the other, to prove that there was no genuine and sincere effort on the part of the government to do that road, from the very first contractor, ‘Renaissance’ it was discovered that the company was never a road contractor after many years, the company was found not competent to do the job and it was re-awarded to another contractor, ‘Aquatic’ that was also found not capable of doing such job and the contract was later re-awarded to the present contractor, which is alleged to be incompetent because when part of one lane is partially done, the next moment, that lane spoiled and they just rigmarole.
This same abandoned road in question harbours more than fifteen Police check points and every time one drives through the road, scores of vehicles are seen by the road side as a result of the condition of the road and those who managed to escape with their cars in a good condition while singing Hallelujah song will need to branch a nearby car wash for a cleanup of their cars and this goes on for almost twenty-five years of the road debacle.
Oro has so far produced prominent sons and daughters who have contributed in one way or the other to the development of the state. Not necessarily because the current Deputy Governor is from Oro, after all, they have had other Deputy Governors, Speakers of the state House of Assembly, Senators, SSG, etc, yet nothing changes. Some superstitious people reasoned and alleged that the Mermaid spirit from the water hindered and confused the government from taking a firm decision to complete the road, others say if it is so, why such spirit did not stop building the airport and other infrastructures found in those areas?
All other ethnic nationalities and major cities in the state have direct access roads but Oro people who are made up of Oron, Mbo, Udong Uko, Urue Offong Oruko and Okobo local government areas are completely cut off from the commonwealth of the state despite their contributions in terms of human, economic, intellectual resources; politically and otherwise should not be allowed to vanish to the air but must be reciprocated by the Akwa Ibom State Government especially, now that a man of God devoid of biases, His Excellency, Pastor Umo Bassey Eno is leading the ship of the state. Posterity, history and God, Himself will vindicate Pastor Umo Bassey Eno for taking a bold and sincere step of awarding a fresh contract to a seasoned and competent road contractor and mobilizing them to the site with a full monitoring mechanism to ensure that the road is completed on a record time, which by a layman estimation may not be up to fifteen kilometers as a single lane road.
Your Excellency, Pastor Umo Bassey Eno, kindly extend your good start as governor to the road under review, if this will be one of the good things Oro people that is blessed with over four hundred and thirty-five thousand (436,026) in terms of population and indeed, the entire people of the state who use the road remember you as the SAVIOUR OF ORO PEOPLE and a keenly look at the governor’s body language indicates that he is waiting for rain to subside.