A fortnight ago I was in Eket for a wedding, and to meet a few friends. My experience with roads in Eket is unforgettable. From Okon, to the city centre, to Liverpool road, to Eket-Oron road, to Grace Bill; all the roads, the shortest of a kilometre are ridden with a hundred potholes.
A cyclist, an aged man, who picked me up from the park to Liverpool road kept saying “sorry sir” as his motorcycle stomped from one hole to another. The “sorry sir” came too many, and that got me perplexed. So i asked him, “how are you coping with the state of roads here?”.
He said in vernacular “se se Ekid enie governor ekid mi ooo”. This is transliterated to mean, “see what Eket that has the governor has seen”. By that response i was careful not to say anything else. But he quickly added “mkpong do eya edimaña eyem vote”. This means, “tomorrow they will come again seeking our votes”.
After the wedding reception, my friend picked me up behind Mobil airstrip. She drove through Eket -Oron road, and kept swerving from her lane. As much as she did, her car tyres didn’t beat most of the potholes, so she intermittently said, “Abas, sorry”, “Abas, sorry”. Potholes litter like wastes on Eket -Oron road.
All the people I interacted with in Eket that day assessed the state government’s performance based on the state of roads there. All of them spoke very unkindly of the governor. In all, my friend “killed” it. She said “Udom has failed everyone, including stakeholders. Things only happen in ONNA”. Hers was a surprise to me; reasons being that, she works at Zenith Bank and has been constantly, literally harassing me to support her former boss and brother, the governor.
The experience with the bad roads in Eket is well known. Monday night, when I had a discussion with my colleague, Otobong Nsekpong, a journalist and publisher, he also reeled out how bad potholes on the road shook the shock- absorbers of his car last week.
If elections are called today, the governor would labour strenuously to get votes from Eket, headquarters of his federal constituency. There is a growing dissatisfaction with the state of development in the local government. This is without prejudice to the make- believe endorsement for the governor’s second term by Iwaad Ekid, who came to Uyo, days ago, to endorse the governor.
Governor Udom had said on February 4, 2016, a day after the supreme court upheld his election that remodelling of Eket town will be completed in six months. Progress of work there has been at snail speed.
Eket is a major town in Akwa Ibom State. It’s famous for hosting Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited. The influx of businessmen to Mobil, and tourists going to the popular Ibeno beach should make the government hasten to fix the roads in Eket. I understand the state government has many projects going on.
The state government can liaise with the NDDC to help out with fixing up the streets there. Lately, the NDDC has done a lot in fixing streets in Uyo. Its intervention would make immeasurable positive impact in Eket.
I should suggest the governor takes a working visit to Eket.