Nigeria Matters

Highlight On Traffic Challenges In Rivers

Governor Chibuike Amaechi topically said that his administration has
achieved in building of roads in Rivers State. Customarily, this means that
the Rivers State government said that it has put its head in curbing the
man-hours’ stalemating traffic state-of-affairs in Port Harcourt, the
capital of the state.

Traffic circumstances in the state had several times compelled the governor
to be an emergency traffic controller. One of such incidents was along
Chief G.U. Ake-Eliozu road. He even arrested traffic offenders. It could be
recalled that the discharged Managing Director of Niger Delta Development
Commission, NDDC, Mr. Chibuzor Ugwoha, when he was in office was stopped on
the road and was asked to reverse his car when he was driving against the
traffic and ran into the convoy of the governor. Ugwoha was not only in
that idea of riding against the tide, his rebellious against the traffic
order is how most of the powerful in the society who were supposed to be
role models to those who had looked up to them also do.

Traffic situations in the City of Port Harcourt can never abate if the
residents do not obey traffic orders. Though, who wears the cap wears the
blame. But there is no how Amaechi can oversee what is happening in his
kingdom at a go. It is the duty of the residents to assist in being orderly
to the orchestrated rules of the government. It is becoming a culture among
people in the state to disobey traffic rules and several other rules. One
group that this ugly attitude is fad with is the company executives. They
foil traffic rules with reckless abandon, not blinking to know the effect
of their behavior to other road users. They forgot that disobedience of
traffic rules (by anybody in the state no matter how highly place) is seen
as a crime. There is no provision in the laws of the state that permits
anybody or group, whether moving in singular or convoys or the escorts of
policemen and soldiers, to frustrate traffic rules.

It has been observed that policemen and soldiers in their official vehicles
hardly obey any form of decorum on the roads in the state; hence they
complement to worsen the traffic situation. How could a citizen of Nigeria
who was supposed to obey the law now becomes the law breaker? Security
agents are the arbiters that recklessly and disobediently go against the
laws traffic wardens are fighting to maintain than any group or persons.

Officials of The Rivers State Road Management Agency, TIMARIV, and
volunteers who direct traffic in Port Harcourt and its environs should be
commended. TIMARIV may be losing focus why it was created as residents have
complained unremittingly of one intimidation or the other in the hand of
its workers. This agency should understand that law was supposed to remain
static, not principle. So, it is crucial that TIMARIV does not change from
the established laws to work on human principles. It is on the premise of
the laws that Amaechi, around June, ordered that motorists driving against
the traffic their car keys should be seized. Many drivers were victims
unsuspecting that Amaechi was on his way for the not-in-the-diary
inspection tour of projects. Traffic offenders were aghast when they saw
him controlling the enormous traffic-jam to ensure a free flow of traffic.
His aides and security men were not left out of the exercise. They helped
to ensure a sane traffic movement.

There could be bad roads in Port Harcourt, but how overwhelmed are the road
users when they go contrary to traffic rules? Dissidents on the roads of
Port Harcourt have always made the governor to appear numerous times on
live radio programmes in Port Harcourt and appealed that the residents
should comprehend with the government on the gridlock traffic situation
that is continual in the city. Without exonerating the government’s
perceived flaws in the maintenance of roads in Rivers State, one does not
think that Amaechi is on the road every day. It is the residents that cause
the untold traffic-jam on daily basis.

Therefore, it is an appeal that the government should put in place bad
segments of uncompleted roads in Rivers State. This will help the residents
to understand the traffic congestion as something not caused by bad roads
and help subside the suffering of the people plying the roads as residents
are no longer entertained by the bad state of roads and the attendant
traffic jams they cause. The state government should do something urgently
if it was serious about attracting investors. With good roads and investors
trooping into the state, revenue that could be generated from them might
spur the State government not to have the approval of the state House of
Assembly to borrow N100 billion which was intended to help fund its
infrastructure projects. The bulk of the loan which was aimed at making
down payments for power distribution projects that will ensure
uninterrupted power supply in Rivers State by 2012 would have been gotten
without the government sweating much in the stock market.

Distribution of roads will never be sufficient in Rivers State, no matter
what has been perceived as “enough generation capacity” the state has. The
state government’s plan to issue a shelf registration for N250 billion at
the capital market would have been stalled if all the ministries in the
state are efficiently working and earnestly contributing to the wellbeing
of the Amaechi-led government of Rivers State. As was defined by experts,
shelf registration is a procedure that allows corporations or government
(as in this case) file one registration statement covering several issues
over a period of time.

Amaechi should worry the Ministry of Works not to allow contractors that
were given the contracts of re-constructing the Rivers roads relax on their
responsibilities. He has to always remind those working with him of the
joint Press Conference three commissioners in the Ministries of Works,
Information and Communications, and Culture and Tourism, conducted. This
was held on Tuesday 4 October 2011. Victor Giadom, the Works Commissioner
pleaded with the people of the state to be patient for the next 30 days.
The plea was that when the rains will subside and dry season sets in there
will be a comprehensive construction of all the major roads initially
started but stopped at the peak of the rains in Rivers State.

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