By Paul Nwosu
It has become fashionable to ceaselessly bash the government when our roads fail. Government takes the whole blame and the governed are innocent and sanctimonious. But it takes two to tango. Our polity is gradually shifting from the days when people believe that government’s property is nobody’s property. When according to an Igbo adage: the goat that everybody owns usually dies of hunger.
Such precepts tend to belong more to the rentier economy which had all along been supported with crude oil money. This has become out of tune with an evolving tax driven economy such as ours where everybody who pays taxes and legitimate levies are stakeholders in the system. What this invariably means is that everybody has a sacred duty to protect (and not to damage) government assets because everybody contributed to building and emplacing them. Yes, you paid for that road; you paid for that public building; those public facilities and utilities were provided with your money. So you have a responsibility to protect them just like the property in your private homes. When government is compelled to rebuild, replace or repair these facilities before they are due, the public is denying themselves of other new infrastructures and amenities that government would have provided for them with *their tax money* .
Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo CFR has repeatedly sworn that he will account for the last Kobo paid to this government by way of taxes and levies. He has continued to make-good this pledge by the quality of the infrastructure that are coming up in addition to roads that will unprecedentedly last a minimum of 20 years. But all that is dependent on how well we take ownership and care for them as a people.
The recent survey by the Ministry of Works on causes of roads failure clearly shows that it is largely in our hands to stop our newly constructed roads from failing. Ndi-Anambra must make the required commitment for these roads to last long.
There is the flagrant issue of silted drains and culverts. People must put a stop to indiscriminate refuse disposal that always end up blocking drains and culverts thereby causing run-off water and ponding on the road pavement. This makes road failure inevitable.
Sundry economic activities on the pavements such as car wash services, water vending, trading of perishable items on the pavement, offloading of heavy machine parts and goods, and the burning of tyres and other materials on the roads and pavements all cause water infiltration into the pavements, leading to the deformation of the roads and eventual failure.
Repetitive heavy traffic loads when the roads are not designed for such axial loads are the causes of tearing and wearing, and resultant road failure.
The illegal activities of private developers are also dangerous to our roads. It is so saddening that most developers in urban areas use road pavements and drainages as dumpsites for their building materials thus causing ponding and run-off on the pavements.
Unauthorised and indiscriminate construction of bumps on the highways by communities and laying of water pipes to private properties interferes with roads integrity thereby accelerating its deterioration and subsequent failure.
It is incumbent on all of us as Ndi-Anambra to take good care of all our roads by reporting anybody who engages in any of these activities that jeopardise our roads.
As Governor Soludo has repeatedly stressed that, “If you see something going wrong, you should say something!” It is the product of your tax money that is being damaged.
*** PAUL NWOSU is the Commissioner for Information, Anambra State.
-November 13, 2023 @ 08:20 GMT |