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Thursday, 22 March 2018

S/East Governors And The Proposed Regional Ring Road

S/East Governors And The Proposed Regional Ring Road

Governor Dave Umahi

Governors of the Southeast geopolitical zone under the aegis of South-East Governors’ Forum recently unfurled plans to jointly construct a 430 kilometre ring road that would connect the five states within the Southeast.

In a communiqué made available to the media at the end of a meeting in Enugu, the chairman of the Governors’ Forum and Governor of Ebonyi state, Dave Umahi hinted that the governors initiated the multi-million naira project to ease transportation and promote economic development of the region.

There is no doubt that the decision by the governors to construct a link road to cut across states in the south-east is a right step in the right direction considering the far-reaching socio-economic benefits.

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Indeed the prospects of a modern ring road networking to usher renewed hope of strategically repositioning the entire landscape of the Southeast region in conformity with the long anticipated regional cooperation and integration.

Considering the serious challenges confronting state governments in meeting up with the demands of recurrent and capital expenditures as a result of shrinking revenue accruable from the federation account, investment in road network that opens the Southeast to wide-range of opportunities has become essential and imperative.

Nevertheless, it would be a welcome development if the project is pursued with sincerity by the governors.

While the euphoria of proposed initiative should not be allowed to be  mired by momentum of political activities, it is expected that the unlikely scenario of political differences in the event of change of baton of power in any of the states’ post 2019 elections would not constitute drawback that could threaten or eventually abort the dream of this lofty idea.

Certainly,the need to ensure the project is delivered according to plan has become of utmost necessity if only to demonstrate that the Southeast is capable of pursuing a united agenda beyond the exigencies of politics.

More importantly, governors of the Southeast should appreciate that the new initiative presents huge opportunity in evincing a bold legacy of service which will restore confidence in political leadership amongst the people of the Southeast.

If the Southeast Governors Forum succeeds with the initiative; irrespective of political differences and notwithstanding the shades of political leadership in post 2019 elections, there is no doubt that perception about governance would have significantly been positively imbued with renewed confidence.

To avoid the pitfall of misconstruing the initiative as solely the idea of state governors, it has therefore become imperative that appropriate measures are put in place to make the Governors Forum function properly as institution rather than being perceived as time-serving agenda of the present dispensation.

There is no doubt that delivering on the initiative by the Southeast governors would serve as wake-up call for governors in the other geopolitical zones across the country.

If the laudable ideals of integration which now appears a cardinal agenda of the various Governors Forums must succeed beyond political rhetoric, massive investments in road networks as well as provision of other relevant infrastructures has become compelling and must be accorded utmost priority.

It is however hoped the governors would be committed to the implementation of the project to a logical conclusion in view of prevailing economic and political challenges confronting the states.

Notwithstanding the initiative, there is also the need for the governors in Southeast to demonstrate commitment in addressing the prevalence of abandoned projects yearning for resuscitation and completion across the states in the the region.

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It is therefore instructive to emphasise that while the proposed link road is desirable and offers huge impetus for unleashing the economic activities of the Southeast as a region, the governors would be complementing the new initiative by ensuring that several inter and intra communal roads that are either in serious state of disrepair or total abandonment in their respective states are accorded required attention.

While we commend the proposed initiative which promises to deepen the quest for socio-economic integration in the Southeast region, we nonetheless charge the Governors Forum to remain committed to providing necessary infrastructures to accelerate development of the region.

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