By Louis Amoke
It was a nostalgic experience for residents of 9th mile corner, Ngwo, Enugu the day Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi paid an unscheduled visit to the area to inspect and identify some roads that needed urgent government intervention to ensure free flow of traffic during the festive season.
The visit, which was barely three weeks ago, was unprecedented and signposts a new thinking of the government towards ameliorating the hardships commuters encounter on the popular 9th mile corner roads during Yuletide season due to the unbearable traffic gridlock in the area. The ugly experience road users encountered on the roads in the past was caused by the existence of dangerous potholes, inadequate availability of by-pass roads and the illegal parking of heavy duty trucks along the roads.
Consequently, the governor’s visit was not only timely but also in keeping with his campaign promise to alleviate the sufferings of the people, give them a sense of belonging and make their lives better as true heroes of democracy.
The purpose of the inspection visit was also in line with his administration’s drive to provide social services and re-position the state to be able maintain its pride of place as the economic hub of the South East, bearing in mind the economic potentials of the 9th Mile area.
Gov. Ugwuanyi who was accompanied to the sites that fateful evening by top officials of the State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure and the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Barrister Sam Ogbu Nwobodo, among others, trekked through the length and breadth of the affected roads, mostly owned by the federal government, as he demonstrated his thought for the area for easy flow of traffic during the festivities.
After inspecting the roads, he directed that the following palliative measures be carried out immediately: vegetation control on the roads from Enugu to 9th mile corner; removal of all the heavy duty trucks parked on the road sides to ensure free flow of traffic, aggressive maintenance of potholes on the roads; clearing and earthworks on the two newly awarded by-pass roads at 9th mile corner to provide alternative roads for commuters and decongest the popular roads in the area.
Other measures include: erection of directional signs to assist road users utilize the
alternative by-pass roads; and effective engagement of the services of all the law enforcement agencies such as Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigerian Police Force, among others to ensure the enforcement of traffic laws and orderly movement of vehicles.
In a bid to actualize this kind thought for the travellers, especially those returning home to celebrate the festive season with their loved ones and are bound to pass through the 9th mile corner roads to get to their destinations, Ugwuanyi also directed the immediate relocation of all the heavy duty trucks parked along the 9th Mile Corner-Nsukka-Onitsha expressway, and equally mandated the State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure to as a matter of urgency come up with the budget implication for the maintenance work on the affected roads to enable government take necessary action.
Today, a visit to the 9th mile corner shows that the area has truly felt the positive impact of the state government’s intervention as the roads have witnessed robust maintenance of all the potholes that cause gridlock.
Apart from the fact the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure has concluded the repairing of the potholes, vegetation control work and earthworks on the two by pass roads for alternative use during the peak period of the festivities, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry has also decongested the obstruction along the roads caused by parked heavy duty trucks, in line with the directives of the governor.
It is therefore, worthy of note, that the Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Barr. Nwobodo has made frantic efforts in relocating all parked vehicles along the said roads.
In this regard, a public notice he signed and issued to the press said it all: “The Enugu State Government is working hard to alleviate the plight of road users within and around the 9th Industrial zone by ensuring that there is free flow of
traffic during the festive season.
“Accordingly, the government has directed that all heavy duty trucks including haulage vehicles for the breweries and other Industrial establishments parked along the Nsukka-Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Efficient Filling Station to the New By-pass, 9th Mile-Coca-Cola-Udi Road and by-pass connecting Onitsha road from
Udi, etc, must be moved immediately.
“Consequently, government has provided temporary parking spaces for the Christmas period only at these locations: old Toll-Gate along Enugu Onitsha Expressway, or the Ajali-Owa Water Works site.
“All haulage and other vehicles parked by the road side or obstructing traffic must be evacuated immediately or vehicle will be towed at the owner’s cost. Additionally, traders must not hawk their wares by the road side. Heavy duty vehicles or trucks
coming into Enugu or traveling to Onitsha from the Nsukka must pass through the Ibute New 9th Mile By-Pass.
“These measures are put in place by His Excellency Rt. Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Governor, to alleviate the sufferings of road users within and around the 9th Mile
Industrial zone. DRIVE CAREFULLY TO ARRIVE SAFELY! MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!. ”
Ever since, residents of Enugu have commended Governor Ugwuanyi’s development initiatives and sensitivity to the plight of the people.
Mr. Chukwuma Edeh, a resident of 9th mile corner, Ngwo, described the governor as “a rare paragon and selfless leader who has dedicated himself to the service of the people in order to alleviate their sufferings.”
Hear him: “Governor Ugwuanyi has made us proud with this timely intervention on our roads. It shows that he always thinks about the people wherever he is. He paid us a surprise unscheduled visit some weeks ago, and as we saw him moving from one location of the road to another, demonstrating to the people that accompanied him, we were wondering what informed the visit. Today you can see that 9th mile corner is wearing a new look and travellers can now enjoy smooth and safe journey through these roads. We thank him for this kind gesture. It shows he cares for the people.”
Another resident of the area, Ichie Dan Obi Nwachukwu who spoke on the palliative measures on the 9th mile corner put in place by the governor, thanked him for being sensitive to the plight of the people and assured him of the maximum support and prayers of the people of the area to ensure that his administration succeeds.
In all, the governor’s intervention has made travellers who will ply through the popular 9th mile corner roads this yuletide to heave a sigh of relief.
The onus is now on the shoulders of the road users to cooperate with the government to ensure that the measures put in place yield the desired result towards a free flow of traffic in the 9th mile corner during peak period of the Yuletide, by obeying the traffic rules and regulations. Let’s continue to support the governor’s brave people-oriented initiatives for a greater Enugu State.
Amoke is the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Enugu State Governor.