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Sunday 25 October 2020
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Conceptualizing the Establishment of a Bayelsa State Road Maintenance Agency — By Ezekiel God’stime

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If you take a tour around Yenagoa, you’ll notice that most of our internal roads are in a dilapidated state. Some of them have become almost impassable, especially during this rainy season and there is little or nothing done to salvage the situation at the moment. In some streets, residents have resorted to self-help by filling the large potholes with concretes and stones so that vehicles can meander their way through. Yet, the situation keeps getting worse by the tick of time

 

It is of utmost importance and with all sincerity that I want to recommend to the Bayelsa State Government to consider as a matter of state priority, the establishment of a State Road Maintenance Agency otherwise called, “The Bayelsa Road Maintenance Agency (BARMA)” as a way of rescuing the roads in our dear state from its current deplorable condition.

If you take a tour around Yenagoa, you’ll notice that most of our internal roads are in a dilapidated state. Some of them have become almost impassable, especially during this rainy season and there is little or nothing done to salvage the situation at the moment. In some streets, residents have resorted to self-help by filling the large potholes with concretes and stones so that vehicles can meander their way through. Yet, the situation keeps getting worse by the tick of time.

In some places such as PDP road and Market Square road in Yenezue-gene and Opolo respectively, you can successfully conduct baptismal immersion on the gaping puddle of water that has collected in the middle of the road. Much of the tar used in the construction of the roads have been eroded by rain water and it has become very difficult for motorists to navigate through the roads as vehicles usually get submerged in the water. This is not to mention the likes of Okaka road, Goodnews Street and numerous other internal roads that are in such critical conditions and are getting worse daily.

One conclusion I’ve arrived at, which I believe most persons will attest to is the fact that, as a state, we have no maintenance structures in place to maintain our roads and save them from metamorphosing from tiny potholes to gaping lakes as is evident in most streets of Yenagoa. In other words, the bad roads we see today started as tiny potholes. But those tiny potholes we overlooked over the years have expanded to become the rivers we see in the middle of our roads today.

It is in a bid to mitigate such occurrences in future and to salvage our roads from the sorry state most of them are in, that I want to recommend to the State Government to pass a Bill into Law, establishing the Bayelsa Road Maintenance Agency (BARMA) to maintain all roads within and outside the Yenagoa metropolis. It is my view that, establishing this agency will help government cut cost by reducing the amount spent on reconstruction and rehabilitation of old roads, which usually takes the form of awarding a new contracts.
The Agency should be adequately funded and be given all the necessary support needed to carry out its functions.

BARMA should equally have good public relations with citizens and residents, as well as establishing good channel of communication with the people, where citizens can easily interact with the Agency and provide them with relevant information. Officials of the Agency should also move around the state and monitor all roads at least once in every month.

That should be in addition to the constant Eyewitness Report they should be receiving from citizens. BARMA’s responsibility shouldn’t be restricted to the Yenagoa Metropolis only, but across all the LGAs’ communities.

It is one thing for government to expend scarce resources to execute and complete a project. It is another for us to ensure proper maintenance so as to extend the lifespan of such projects. Which is the most important we are lacking currently as a state, that today has resulted to the deathtrap nature of a good number of our roads across the state, particularly within Yenagoa and most of the roads across the Ogbia LGA.
Hence, wee need to ensure a proper maintenance culture and BARMA will serve that purpose effectively.

I therefore suggest that this should be one of the legacies of Prosperity Government of SDD. The only way we can truly prosper as a state is to build/construct new ones without allowing existing ones to die with little or no attention.
The idea is to ensure that once a road start developing issues, which usually start from potholes, we quickly mobilize and maintain it, in order to prevent it from deteriorating to a pit, then from a pit to a pool.

We shouldn’t wait till when our roads get to a pool state before we start thinking of awarding new contracts to reconstruct or repair such sections. This will definitely keep all our roads in good shapes and save us from this current situation we are in now where most roads are getting bad daily with no proper attention. In a state where we aren’t constructing new roads like others, we must make efforts to maintain the few we have, to ensure that they’re also in good shape.

We don’t have to allow our roads to get so bad before we start thinking of what to do. With BARMA we can achieve that, save more money as well as keeping our roads always motorable at all times.

Lastly, I will also recommend that there should be some form of collaboration between BARMA and the State’s Environmental Sanitation Authority, to ensure that they equally synergize and come up with practical solutions to the issue of flooding and blocked drainages within the Yenagoa Metropolis.

Personal observation has it that about 70 – 80% of the drainages across town are filled with water and there is little or completely no movement in them most especially during the rainy season. As as result, in every little downpour, most places gets heavily flooded. These all have serious health implications too that we shouldn’t take lightly.

It is therefore a passionate appeal to His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen Douye Diri and members of the State House of Assembly to quickly look into this recommendation and expedite actions to establish this Agency in the interest of our dear State, Bayelsa.

God bless Bayelsa State.

Ezekiel God’stime, a Concerned Bayelsan writes from Yenagoa

Thanks and Happy New Month.



SAYELBA TIMES is an independent news group that focuses on original investigative reporting about critical issues facing all Niger Delta States including other parts of the world. Our contents are positive, creative, truthful and relevant.


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