By Odimegwu Onwumere
In 2011, Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State took the bull by the horn in Obigbo, Oyigbo Local Government Area of the state, by deploying bulldozers to the Old Aba Road in Oyigbo that leads to Afam Power Station.
That was following his promise in the media in March of that year to take over the construction of the Old Aba Road, Oyigbo, from the Niger Delta Development Commission. Amaechi made this statement of re-constructing the road, during his campaign rally in the area.
Amaechi saw how people in the area were suffering and pitied them, hence that promise. This reporter was among the persons who praised Amaechi for coming to rescue Oyigbo, when there was the sight of bulldozers everywhere.
But those bulldozers now have belonged to the gimmicks that politicians in this clime play with the electorates when they are on electioneering campaigns.
Today, like the reporter had noted in some treatises, Oyigbo is left to its ugly stage after Amaechi was declared winner of the 2011 gubernatorial elections. A tour of the town brings tears down the jaws, as businesses are shut down and movements snailed due to dilapidated roads that cut across the streets and venues of Oyigbo.
The present state of Oyigbo before Amaechi sent his optical-illusion bulldozers in the town was what had propelled the writer then to write that this place is an eyesore and mindsore. It is like a town that is left to the ruins of wars. Whether the government has good plans for the town in the future is left for Amaechi; what is today seen in Oyigbo is a dilapidated town. The roads are hellish, no government, NDDC or SPDC presence.
Over three months (in 2011 counting from January), there were road constructing equipments on the major road of Oyigbo – the Old Road – yet, the roads had refused to have a human-face. What were seen on this road were demolitions by the machines, without repairs.
The people of this area were wearing nose-cover to prevent the (much) dust from entering their nostrils, because it was dry weather. Now, it is rainy season and the people cannot even wear rain boots because there is hardly any good ground in Oyigbo that one could march his or her leg.
Oyigbo is a pity sight. This reporter had in that year wondered what could be the fate of the people living in this area when next the rains come. Oyigbo, “which is one of the oil producing areas in the State, was denied the benefits of oil revenue.”
During his campaign in the area in 2011, Amaechi cried about the state of the road and, he said: “One thing that touched me this morning when we were coming was the nature of your road. I called the Commissioner of Works and have asked him to send a company to measure the road so we can fix it. I just heard that it is an NDDC contract. No more excuses, I will call the NDDC MD to hands off so we will do our road. This is not politics win or lose we will do the road.”
When on November 6 2014 that this reporter was making a tour of the city, one woman who claimed anonymity said that her worry was that weather the roads in Oyigbo belong to the Rivers State Government or the NDDC or SPDC or whoever, Amaechi should be blamed for the rot that Oyigbo has become.
The woman said: “Do you know that the Internal Generated Revenue of Rivers State as of February, 2014 was 9.5 billion naira, while the January – June, 2014 Federal Allocation was 99.67 billion naira?
“The recent Federal Allocation to Rivers State was 24 Billion Naira. Compare that with how many allocations that the government of Amaechi has collected and, you would believe me that Amaechi is just whitewashing the elephant projects he is executing in the state.”
Oyigbo is known as the province of a major power station, the Afam Power Station, apart from being the second largest oil producing areas in the state, yet, it has become a sorry tale.
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Coordinator, Concerned Non-Indigenes In Rivers State (CONIRIV).Tel: +2348032552855. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org