Rural areas in Imo State are neglected in terms of roads construction and infrastructural development. The roads are death traps as human and vehicular movements are not anything to write home about. Agricultural products from some of the rural areas are now hardly transported to the urban and other areas where they are most needed due to bad roads.
When the Okorocha led government took over power in its first tenure in 2011, he branded his administration “Rescue Mission” and promised, not only to transform the urban centres in the state but also to move the government nearer to the people by developing the rural areas, but more than seven years into the administration, the rural areas are seriously begging for attention. The government, when it introduced the fourth tier government known as the Community Government Council, CGC, hopes were raised that the communities would be speedily developed but some years after its introduction, nothing tangible has been done in the rural areas in terms of development especially roads.
The Okorocha administration has so far engaged itself in the massive urban development while the rural communities are left without attention. The local government system which brings government presence nearer to the people and is meant to bring development to the rural dwellers is in limbo as the governor has refused to conduct local government elections in spite of several promises, even as he unconstitutionally sacked elected chairmen and councillors he met when he came into power.
People in the rural areas are suffering a lot as a result of bad roads especially now that the rainy season is at the peak. Some rural dwellers have so far embarked on self-help effort to cushion the effects of bad roads by engaging in manual labour which is in some cases have worsened the condition of the roads.
The governor and his men should do well to visit all the rural areas to see things for themselves. For the administration to allow the impact of its governance to be felt positively only in the urban areas especially the state capital, Owerri leaves much to be desired. Majority of Imolites lives in the rural areas and to stem the tide of rural to urban migration, the infrastructure in the rural areas must be developed especially the roads.
The Okorocha administration can revive the Imo State Rural Roads Maintenance Agency, IRROMA, established by the former Ohakim administration to take care of rural roads. Government is a continuum, therefore jettisoning a good programme or policy embarked upon by a previous administration is not the best. IRROMA collaborated with communities in building and maintaining their roads. The rural dwellers are yearning for a better life which the rescue mission administration can do well to provide them.