Lessons of Leadership Series: The Deplorable State of Ekiti Roads

Akinwumi Akinniyi

Public Affairs Analyst,

Author and Poet,

Lecturer and Management Consultant
Tel. No.: 08162983687
E-mail: akinwumi2001@yahoo.co.uk

 

I have travelled the length and breadth of Ekiti state recently, being ‘the son of the soil’ who is at absolute liberty to transverse the state. I clearly understand the extreme situation and deplorable condition of roads network in the state.

From the Western part of Ekiti to the extreme East and from the Southern axis to the core Northern part, the state of our roads has become a shadow of normality, urban reasonability and totally laced with sheer abdication of infrastructural development by the government. In terms of roads construction and maintenance, the score card of former governments have been abysmally low.

It’s rather immature to apportion blames to any particular state government in this regard, as they all have fulfilled self- interest and jaundiced management purview in power. Our deplorable state of roads resulted from lackluster maintenance attitude, poor quality construction, ineffective control and timely mitigation of wear and tear of tarred roads over-time.

The present bad condition of roads in Ekiti has been the consequence of governmental neglect over-time. This deliberate neglect dates back to the past three successive administrations in Ekiti. Again, planlessness and cluelessness for developmental finesse in Ekiti has brought our major roads to the present ridiculous state.

Furthermore, lack of proper communication, workable understanding, mutual zeal and enthusiasm on the part of Ekiti state and federal governments to ensure quality construction and consistent maintenance have aggravated the awful conditions of our roads. Also, the lack of planned alternative approach by political leaders to achieving credible infrastructural growth have been our ultimate undoing in the drive for infrastructural development.

Hence, non-existence of meaningful developmental plans, resolute agreements and workable strategic developmental application between our state and federal governments to ensure continuous construction and maintenance of major roads have hibernated Ekiti state to seemingly jungle and abode of aborigines scampering on tree tops without clear road paths for movement.

Developmental plans for roads construction and maintenance are quite essential for political leaders with reasonable foresight. As we used ‘to do it’ approach to managing social challenges and conflict resolution must give way or transform to contemporary dynamism of crisis and conflicts resolution. Our political leaders, saddled with the responsibility of state governance should imbibe the foresight of developmental pursuit rather than operating as ‘roller-coaster’ in power with diminutive societal goals attainment.

Workable agreements should be fostered to ensure that Ekiti roads (within the purview of federal government responsibility) are constructed in qualitative manner and also regularly maintained. It’s quite abnormal for the Federal government to build access roads and railway network to connect Niger Republic only to abandon internal or major federal roads and condemn them to becoming death traps for Nigerian citizens.

Apart from the cumulative man-hours lost by Nigerians in transit on these major roads, private and public cars on regular vehicular movements, and other heavy duty automobiles subjected to stressful movements, quickly become rickety and wane out of normal lifespans. We must remember too that the cost of sourcing foreign exchange for spare parts are exorbitant. Easy funds don’t come really handy to Nigerians for vehicle maintenance at this time.

I won’t be too concerned about presenting grammatical semantics and political conditioning for eulogizing political leaders in Ekiti state. I will not also trade lopsided blames on present and past governors of Ekiti state in respect of our bad roads condition. However, I will observe strong ethical rules of ‘calling a spade a spade’ without minding whose Ox is gored in the attempt to douse general awful feeling about the present deplorable roads in Ekiti state.

I’ll say without an iota of doubt and mincing words that our past and immediate governors, with the cluster of their I’ll-motivated and myopic advisers, have daringly ‘goofed’. They have disappointed us in not providing needed and timely pro-active measures for resolving the cluster of road connectivity quagmires in Ekiti state. They have subjected our governors to doing keen strategic thinking solo while they gallivant around town with ‘chest-out’ machoism.

Small and heavy vehicles from northern part of Nigeria, central part, Abuja and close neighbouring states have plied Ekiti roads and constituted heavy traffics in the process. Our leaders, political appointees and ruling allies should have developed core strategic management approach to opening up and
maintaining these roads before the present ludicrous roads situation get to the irredeemable mess.

Intelligent and vibrant special advisers to past and existing governors who could reasonably think-out-of-the-box should have produced tenable and sensible salvaging plans for maintaining despicable ‘risky points’ of our roads. They should have posited infrastructural bailable options for proper presentation and approval to salvage our decaying infrastructures. The state governor cannot definitely do it all alone. No wonder that he appointed special assistants.

Instead, what do we have as special advisers to successive Ekiti state governors? Loafers, lackeys, desperate political schemers, myopic reasoning group, glorified ‘sit down look’ politicians, power mongers, endemic pepper soup consumers and specialists in ‘laying’ with decent gentlemen’s wives in the name of arrogant puffy, ludicrous pomposity and ‘I have arrived’ syndrome imbued in village mentality. However, a few of them have reasonably justified the opportunities given them to serve the government in different capacities.

Okay O! Immediate options presently exit to eliminate existing awful circumstances and degrading hullabaloos of our roads. Long-term planning suffices (but may not be discussed at this point) to nip our awkward roads scenario in the bud. The combination of tactical knowledge and opinions of developmental gurus will count a lot in this regard.

Pursuing the administrative channel of reporting road damages to federal government in Abuja for re-construction reprieve will lead to mockery of the situation. Going cap in hand to beg the Federal government for funds needed for repairs and reconstruction is mere time wasting. The turn around timing will never meet with exigent maintenance of roads already in terrible shape as presently on hand. Ekiti state government should consider alternative options posited by immediate ways out.

1) Put the existing government Works Department to immediate task through the management dictum of GIOTI (goals, instruments, objectives, targets and indicators). Understanding of this developmental concept is a great factor of success (please refer to my previous write-up on GIOTI).

2) Engage jobless youths with specialists as mentors in social service approach for immediate construction projects. GIOTI is also applicable.

3) Immediate construction or reconstruction of special or major roads by formal contractors, if the required funding is available. GIOTI is also necessary.

4) Partnering with willing private bodies, establishments, companies and foreign agents to construct major roads and erect toll gates (if workable) to recoup deployed investments over reasonable time and in accordance with properly sealed agreement.

The dictum of developmental dichotomies should suffice in building Ekiti state roads network. Apart from federal roads criss-crossing the state, Ekiti government should have constructed network of internal roads connecting major exit routes from the state. Hence, the North, south, east and west alternative exit routes should have been conceived and constructed as a matter of urgent priority.

As it is, the incoming Ekiti governor should have learnt a good lesson in engaging developmental dynamism and credible foresight from intelligentsia perspectives for governing Ekiti state. Bruttish Utopianism for power control and dominance by self confessed wizard of resources management, tossing up and down the state’s resources in pursuance of selfish interests, will not augur well for the incoming governor with good developmental foresight.

The current parlous state of Ekiti roads is a direct pointer to BAO (elected APC governor) to tighten his knickers very well for decisive and credible performance in office. He has a lot of developmental works to do so at to elevate Ekiti state from the present infrastructural doldrums to a state of our collective quest and dream.

Hence, it’ll not be for BAO’s overall interest to nominate clueless political appointee as to fill tactical positions at the corridors of power. Also, he should not consider and adopt the ruling approach in governance of ‘Lord of the Manor’ and ‘I know it all’ syndrome. It’s good to settle daring and popular politicians with juicy appointments. However, enlisting hangers-on who do not have requisite functional capabilities for achieving remarkable results in political positions will lead to direct plunge into the ocean of abysmal non-performance.

If BAO desires to perform exceedingly well as Ekiti governor, he has to appreciate credible developmental minds and bring them on board for their already garnered experience, exposure, tactical finesse and developmental magic wands that can elevate Ekiti state. Again, he must reverse the lackluster approach to executing developmental projects. He must think reasonably out of the box to achieve monumental infrastructural growth.

We’ll continue to pray for BAO that God will guide him to take positive steps that’ll lead to remarkable success, good governance and leadership relevance than his political mentor and predecessors. BAO should fulfill the ‘manly man’ in him after the swearing-in ceremony to achieve greatness instead of towing the discredited political path.

We know and believe, with God on his side, BAO’s in-coming administration will be a ‘New Dawn’ of greatness and developmental renewal for our Dear State of Ekiti.

 

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