By Ushang Ewa
The announcement by the Cross River State government that the Odukpani-Calabar road will be rehabilitated this year is generating mixed feelings amongst users of the road.
The governor, Ben Ayade and Speaker of the State House of Assembly, John Lebo made this announcement while speaking at an event organized by the member representing Akpabuyo in the State House of Assembly, Elizabeth Ironbar where Ayade said he plans to rewrite the history of Cross River State, describing it as the reason why he tours the world, shopping for investors.
Represented by his Chief of Staff, Martins Orim, Ayade said that, “We are aware of the state of the road to Akpabuyo local government area, at the point we are moving to do an intervention on the road for it to be a little passable for you to be able to access the state capital.
“I want to assure you today that with the support of your beloved daughter (Elizabeth Ironbar), the governor is determined to construct this road this year. The road is captured in the budget.”
The Speaker on his part, disclosed that the inclusion of the road in the budget came as a bill sponsored by Ironbar.
Extolling her virtues, the Speaker said Ironbar sponsored a private member bill for the support and empowerment of women in less than three months in office, which was happening for the first time.
“She has brought two bills to the House, 1 on the road and 1 on the security situation in Akpabuyo. We have passed a resolution and we have asked the government to include (the Akpabuyo road) in the 2016 budget.” he said.
However findings by CrossRiverWatch reveal the announcement is not been taken in hook, line and sinker by users of the route as some express optimism, while others are pessimistic about it.
“Na today them start to talk that one?” queries Essien, a motorist who plies the route. “Every year them go say them go do the road but no be naija we dey? Bros na political talk, na only God fit help us for this country” he adds.
“It is sad that over the years, the road which is a major entry and exit point for goods and services to and from Akpabuyo and Bakassi local government areas has been neglected. However, I just hope the state government’s decision is followed up with real action and not just radio talk as usual” says another motorist who preferred anonymity and lives in the housing estate built for civil servants.
For Goddy, a staff of UNICEM who says he uses the road often, “if this road is tarred, it will be good business as there will be less man hours wasted.”