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Neglected Benue Communities That Need The Ortom Touch



(Clockwise)Road leading to Benue State Polytechnic (BENPOLY); heart of Naka town; rounabout to BENPOLY PHOTO: MSUGH ITYOKURA

SOME communities in Benue need the touch of democratic dividends, having suffered neglect over the years. As a result, the residents are calling on state governor, Samuel Ortom, to come to their rescue.

These communities have lacked good roads, potable water and electricity over the years, even as infrastructure in their primary and secondary schools are dilapidated.

They include: Gbajimba, headquarters of Guma Local Government Council; Naka, in Gwer West; and Ugbokolo in Okpokwu Local Government Councils. The areas mentioned might be described as the worse affected in the state.

Guma, for instance, has never had a single tarred road, making the council dusty during the dry season and muddy in the rainy season. A journey that ordinarily should take 30 minutes from Makurdi, the state capital, to Naka, now, lasts an hour and 30 minutes, due to the deplorable condition of the road.

The story of Ugbokolo, headquarters of Ukpokwu Local Council and home base of former Minister of Interior, Patrick Abba Morro, is no better.

Major streets, including the one leading to Benue State Polytechnic, are particularly frustrating during the rainy season. “It is like driving through a stream.

How do you expect our vehicles to last long under such circumstance? And don’t fail to remember that hardly a day passes without an accident on this road,” said Oche Abba, a commercial driver in Ugbokolo town. Calling on the governor to intervene, Abba noted that over the years, politicians in the area have used the road as campaign tool, wondering what it takes to construct a good road when those responsible are serious.

At the Polytechnic, students sleep in hostels with torn window nets, have poor toilet facilities and rely on wells for everyday supply of water. Lecture rooms are also congested, as hundreds of students often put up with spaces meant for far less.

Succour, meanwhile, might have come the way of people with the award of a contract for the construction of the Daudu/Gbajimba road by Governor Ortom.

The governor has also promised to award contract for the construction of Gbajimba road from the Uni-Agric axis in next year’s budget, to facilitate easy access by road users. Laudable as this is, people in the area say there’s still a lot that needs to be done to put a lasting smile on their faces, a lot like receiving a full measure of the Ortom touch!

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