By Charles Okogene
At the outset of the present democratic experiment, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was elected the second democratically elected governor of the state after the late Olorogun Felix Ibru. He governed for two terms of eight years.
After his tenure, he handed over to his first cousin, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Udughan, who held sway for another eight years. Uduaghan who claimed to have ‘finished strong’ handed the ‘turn- by- turn’ baton to Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa.
Okowa, had against what they call ‘run off the play’ in football parlance, snatched the PDP ticket to fly the party’s flag to contest the 2015 governorship election, from Uduaghan and the last minute Ibori anointed candidates, Sir Tony Obuh and David Edevie; eventually he cruised to victory, became the first Anioma son to govern the state since its creation by Gen. Ibrahim Babangida.
With their son now firmly sited on the driver’s seat, Adontens had thought that few, if not all the developmental projects that had eluded them will become theirs; though, Okowa had said during his electioneering campaigns that he was not going to be an Anioma or sectional governor, that he will be a governor of the entire state.
That, however, did not dampened their expectation that now that a ‘home boy’ whose country home of Owa Oyibo, is just few kilometres away from Adonte, is in charge, he will not hesitate to right all the wrongs of the past governments in the state.
For the 20 years and some months the PDP has governed the state, Adonte, like most other towns and villages in the state, has voted PDP, this last February inclusive. To show their love and commitment to PDP/Okowa, they rejected their son of the soil, Chief Ndudi Adolue, who contested for the vice chairmanship post of Aniocha South Local Government Area at the local council election conducted last year by the state government just because he did that on the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC). Instead, they gave their votes to an Ogwashi Uku native who flew the flag of PDP. To them they are not yet tired of shouting PDP, power!
Despite that, what have they gained for over 20 years they been queuing behind one party? The answer is an emphatic, nothing!
The town cannot boast of even a police post, especially in this era of insecurity, to protect it from the havoc of herdsmen, kidnappers and cult members.
The only primary and secondary schools (built in the 1980s through communal effort) in the town are not better than the Okotie Eboh School made famous by Blessing ‘Dem go flog taya fame.’ No teacher, not even NYSC teachers want to be posted to the school because the town lacks simple basic amenities that makes life worth living.
The only government owned primary healthcare centre in the town that has one nurse, is only good in paint. It is a mere consulting clinic that is not stocked with the commonest drug like pain killer.
The water project in the town, which was started by the then military government of Brig John Inienger has long been abandoned. It was initially conceived to supply clean, fresh water to neigbhouring villages and towns like Nsukwa, Abbah Unor, Ukwu Obah et al. The site, the generator and pipes supplied then, have been overgrown by weeds while land speculators are encroaching on it.
What of access roads to the village from Ogwashi Uku enroute Asaba? That remains the biggest worry of an average Adonten. The two access roads to the town, one from Abbah Unor through the Ugheli/Asaba Express Road and the one directly from Ogwashi Uku to Asaba, can at best, be described as footpaths that is dusty in dry season, muddy and flooded in wet season. Head or tail, the people suffer. No right thinking native organises social ceremony like burial, marriage or birthday during the rainy months and which he or she wants an outsider to attend.
What is most pathetic about these roads is that they are just less than 20 kilometres from both ends. From Abbah Unor, which was recently blessed with a 3.5 kilometre road by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), it is also 3.5 kilometres and from Ogwashi ì 10 kilometres. No river on the road to necessitate construction of bridge or culvert. No hill or mountain to level. Just a low level ground that cannot take any construction company worth its salt months to complete.
The community is mainly an agrarian one and without motorable roads, they can hardly transport their agricultural produce to the urban centres were they are most needed and command good prices. Their produces like oranges, mangoes, pawpaw, pear, corns, cherry, yam and so on, rot away in the farms and homes while waiting for vehicles to transport them to urban markets in Asaba, Agbor, Ogwashi Uku or even far flung Warri. Yet, Okowa stands aside and look. Though, he is referred to in the state as road master, most Adontens want him to prove that he merits such title by blessing the town with asphalted road, a town that is reputed to be the headquarters of the state’s political Ward 10.
In all of these, somebody had once asked me, of what economic benefit will a road to Adonte be to the state? And my response was, must there be an economic benefit in terms of natural resources accruing to a state before a motorable road is extended to a community? Even at that, Adontens are predominantly farmers that can contribute to food security of the state and the nation at large if good access road that can help in evacuating their agricultural produce to urban markets is provided. With a good road, the town will attract investors to invest in the town’s very fertile land and even buy lands for property development, settle there and pay all the necessary levies to state and local governments.
And the clincher is that the village boasts of oil wells long discovered by the international oil companies (IOCs), though, yet to be put into commercial production.
So a road for Adonte now that Okowa has been returned for the final and second term, now that Hon. Austin Chikezie, a native of Ejeme Aniogor, who also represents Adonte at the state house of assembly and Ndudi Elumelu with Peter Nwaoboshi, both of whom represents the area at the National Assembly and Hon. Pascal Adigwe’s second coming as an adviser, is not a road to a bush and it is my fervent hope, that they will nudge Governor Okowa to do something before 2023.