By Chuks Nwokeji
According to the Holy Bible ‘better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof’ when Imo State Governor, Owelle Anayo Okorocha, started his urban renewal program, by demolishing shanties and illegal structures along Orlu, Amakohia, Akwakuma Road, many did not understand him. He was tongue lashed. His critics did not mercy for him when they landed heavily on him and his urban renewal program. It could be recalled that the Nigeria Bar Association also joined forces with his critics against him. They went further to sponsor a phone-in program in an Owerri based private radio station just to lend their voice against the program.
Unfortunately; they were tackling a man who has seen the beauty at the end from the beginning, the gains and not the pains. In the face of obvious verbal attacks and challenges, he proceeded because of his strong believe in a better end, today the rest is history.
Few months ago, the residents of Orlu, Amakohia and Akwakuma Road appeared to be highly affected by the pains of urban renewal, because most of them whose illegal structures and shanties were affected could not control their anger against governor, but the matter gradually died a natural death when he called them to present building approval plan to back up their claim, unfortunately; nobody came out, then it became clear to sentimental sympathizers and opposition voices that what the governor of Imo State demolished were illegal structures.
Looking at the beauty of roads like Mbari Street, MCC Uratta Road, Okigwe Road, Orlu, Akwkuma, and Akwakuma Road and others that underwent urban renewal program, any unbiased observer can now see the beauty and gains of that difficult task carried out few months ago by the visionary and courageous governor of Imo State.
Truly speaking; the urban renewal program of the Rescue Mission Administration of Imo State Governor has brought out the beauty of the roads and elevated its standard, it has added value and advantage to city beautification. There is no doubt that the roads are now better than before.
The outcome and gains of urban renewal will meaningfully reduce untold hardship the residents and commuters pass through whenever it rains, due to floods and erosion. Now the urban renewal is completed, the era of continuous ugly experience caused by flood that has always destroyed people`s property and jeopardize their health condition will be a thing of the past.
One of the significant impact of the urban renewal program of Governor Okorocha, is that it will go a long way to eliminate hazards and ugly conditions that jeopardize safety of the roads. The urban renewal project has tremendously made good impact on the road and has drastically reduced the rate of crashes like, head-on crashes, run off road crashes, sideswipe and other crashes. Now that some of the roads are widened and completed, it will enhance traffic flow because there is more space for maneuverability.
The impacts on reduction of Pollution is not left out; the widening of Orlu Road will reduce the rate of pollution as vehicles are major sources of pollution. Now that the projected is completed, there will be less air pollution from motor vehicles since they will arrive their destination at a much faster rate, leaving less pollution from the vehicles. It is a well know fact that auto mobiles cause acid rain and more environmental problems which have adverse effect on the people’s health. Now that the Orlu Road is finally widened and is effectively in use, it will lower the probability of acid rain and other environmental challenges associated within that locality since the vehicles applying that route will consume less petroleum and gas because they are able to reach their destination much quicker. Now the people have seen the beauty and gains their views have and comments have changed. Residents of Owerri and their visitors are fully enjoying the widened roads and its benefits, it is no longer condemnation but commendations to Owelle Anayo Okorocha the visionary and courageous governor of Imo State
Written by Chuks Nwokeji