The Ekpoma portion of the Benin-Auchi Expressway has been a topic for discussion in recent times, owing to the harrowing experiences of users of the road which is currently in a deplorable state.
The significance of the road cannot be jettisoned as it serves as a major route for travellers going to the Northern part of the country.
A common phenomenon is the traffic congestion on the road often witnessed as heavy-duty vehicles carrying both foodstuff and other materials line up to navigate the failed portions of the road to their destinations.
This brings to bear the pivotal role which the Benin-Ekpoma road plays for both commuters and the economic fortune of the State and Nigeria at large.
It is pertinent to state that though the road is a Federal Road, the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has over the years made frantic efforts through engagement toward finding a lasting solution that would ameliorate years of neglect of the road by the Federal Government.
This point has become necessary, owing to the grave misunderstanding of the issues in some quarters about the State Government’s role in the management of federal projects.
A testament to these efforts are the series of engagements by the State Government with relevant Federal Government agencies in charge of Federal roads in the State, with particular reference to the Federal Ministry of Works and Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) to find a lasting solution to the age-long nightmare occasioned by the deplorable condition of the road.
The outcome of such engagements has led the State Government to commission a consultant in collaboration with the State Ministry of Roads and Bridges which has since submitted a report on workable designs that will serve as a blueprint for the rehabilitation of the failed portions of the Benin–Ekpoma Road.
The findings of the report as disclosed by the Commissioner for Roads and Bridges, Engr. Okojie Nosawe Newton indicates that the team discovered that there are four major low points on the 14kilometers stretch of the Benin-Ekpoma Road and has mapped out strategic flood run-off areas for the project which before now was a major issue.
In addition, the State Government has fine-tuned plans to acquire the rights-of-way where these flood waters will be channelled to.
Similarly, the Edo State Government has mapped out flood retention points that will later be linked to the river (permanent discharge point) as a solution to the incessant flooding in the locality which had worsened the deplorable state of the road over the years.
Flowing from the above intervention efforts by the Obaseki-led Government in finding a solution to the deplorable state of the Benin-Ekpoma Road which in actual context is a Federal Road, one will not be adjudged to be doing justice if proper recognition or commendation is not given to the State Government’s effort in this regard.
Consequently, attention should now be focused on the Federal Government to commence drastic efforts towards mapping out modalities for the implementation of the State Government’s designs aimed at ensuring a lasting solution to the deplorable condition of the Benin-Ekpoma Road.
Relevant stakeholders both within and outside Edo should join the clarion call for the Federal Government’s drastic rehabilitation of the road as this will go a long way in averting needless traffic gridlock, saving human lives and properties, and restoring the economic fortunes of Edo State and Nigeria at large.