By: Salvation OsazenayeFor over a decade, the people of Ambassador Leo Okogwu Street, which is a link road between the popular Jesus Saves and DLA roads in Asaba, the state capital, Delta State, have been crying to both the state governments to help them repair the only access road leading to other communities.
The road has been destroyed by erosion and is impassable to the extent that walking through what is left of the track is like passing through the shadow of death. Only strong youths can summon courage to pass through the road, and they often times end up in traditional bone-setters homes. Old people and school children are locked down at home.
Following the community’s discovery, it was alleged that the contract for the road project was awarded to a prominent son of the state by the state government, the community sent a save-our-souls (SOS) to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa,to come to their rescue.
Ambassador Leo Okogwu Street people at home and in the Diaspora are appealing to Okowa to declare a state of emergency on the road. The people are also making a passionate appeal to the state government to assist in the road repairs while investigation into the contract award is on.
Chief Andrew Okocha,who spoke from the United States of America, wanted Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to quickly intervene: “My governor, the contract of this road has been awarded many times to a prominent son of the state, the last being in
2015, and till date the job is not done. All we have there is abandoned equipment and serious threats to my people.
“Each time we make noise about the road, either the government or the contractor would send a few worker to grade the road and leave it in a worse condition, as they did last year. The road is in a more terrible condition than it used to be before they came to grade it.
“My people are living in fear because of his threats to deal with anyone who dared to report him to the authorities. My
people are helpless. Your Excellency, my people voted for you and we believe in your leadership; so, it will be
appreciated if you declare state of emergency on Ambassador Leo Okogwu Street road.
“Use your good offices to ask why the person this contract was awarded to is against the good people of Ambassador
Leo Okogwu Street Asaba and what he stands to gain with all the threats to deal with my people. We are aware that the
road contract has been awarded many times to someone. He is not ready to do the road, as he is just using the road as a
conduit pipe to siphon money from the state.
Human Rights activist and convener of #SaveAmbLeoOkogwuStreet,Barrister Andrew Okechukwu, spoke from the United Kingdom: “We all know that the contract was awarded about four times to a prominent politician who has been looting Delta State. He has been looting the state Government through the projects. But what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?
“Why has PDP government of Delta State decided to pay Ambassador Leo Okogwu Street with evil and wickedness? The politician has bitten the fingers that fed him by abandoning such a long street that link to DLA road and Koweh shopping plaza. The entire Ambassador Leo Okogwu Street will never forget such criminality and wickedness.
“We are calling on Delta State government to look into the issues raised on Ambassador Leo Okogwu Street. I also call
on my people to place curses every day on those who the road was awarded to and those who partook in one way or the
other in sharing the loot. We also appeal to Governor Okowa to wade into the matter.”
Madam Jane Ofili, 90, also appealed to the government to urgently fix the road before she joins her ancestors: “My fear is that when the Lord calls me, there is no way for sympathizers to pass to come and give me a befitting burial. I have
been confined at home, I can’t go out. Even though I am old, God gave me strength and I am physically strong. I used
to trek to visit people, but now I am down and weak because I can’t go out for exercise.
“The worst of it all is that the Reverend Father who used to bring communion to old people has stopped coming here
because the road is impassable. He nearly broke his legs the last time he came.
Asaba communities of Ambassador Leo Okogwu Street in Oshimili South Local Government Area, recently joined the list of
communities that have protested abandonment of road projects in their domain by the state government.
Residents of Ambassador Leo Okogwu Street – the aged, women, men, youths and children took to the street to express
their grievance over untold hardship and excruciating pains the abandoned roads have subjected them to.
What aptly captures the experience of these people could be likened to J.P Clark’s epic poem” The
casualties” where he described a category of the Nigerian civil war victims as” those buried by installment”
True to Clark’s description, some folks from both communities have lost their limbs courtesy of road mishaps recorded
on those roads. It will be an effort in futility to enumerate the fortunes lost in replacing motor, motorcycle,
tricycle and bicycle tire lost by the members of those communities on those roads. It is even easier for the Biblical
proverbial horse to pass through the eye of the needle than residents of Ambassador Leo Okogwu Street to ply on the road
To say that the roads are in bad shapes is an understatement. Unfortunately, the contractors handling the roads could
not go beyond the stone laying and as the rains continued unabated over the seasons, the stones are exposed rendering
the roads precarious.
We are using this medium to appeal to the state government to declare state of of emergency on Ambassador Leo Okogwu
Street Asaba because the road is now a big embarrassment to the state government because nobody believes that the state
government can tar roads from Koweh plaza to Jesus saves road and refuse to tar the almighty Ambassador Leo
Okogwu Street , one of the longest street in Asaba and a road named after a prominent son of Asaba who has served this
nation in various capacity only to be degraded in his own state. Governor Okowa must write his name in gold by honouring this great Nigerian by tarring the road named after him.