From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
When a monarch cries, his subjects must have been wailing to the high heavens because it is very unusual for a monarch to cry.
This is the case for the Igwe of Igbo-Ukwu, His Royal Highness, Igwe (Dr) Martin Ezeh in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State, who recently cried out in an emotion-laden voice for the federal and state governments to come to the rescue of his people who have been cut off by dilapidated road network and flood disaster.
In Igbo-Ukwu, which has one of the biggest local markets in West Africa, several federal institutions are sited there.
The town has houses the National Gallery of Arts, Centre for Black and African Arts and Culture, the Yam House, and Old People’s Home and Botanic Garden.
They are sited in Igbo-Ukwu because of its historical importance which stretches back into antiquity as the origin of all migrants, including the Igbo race, according to history.
But this ancient community, which is the home town of the first civilian Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chukwuemeka Ezeife, who did his bit in his own time, has suffered neglect in the hands of successive administrations in Anambra before Governor Willie Obiano came in with little or no significant change so far.
Apart from a lot of dilapidated infrastructure or non-availability of them, the major concern of the Igbo-Ukwu people now is the state of Nnobi-Awka-Etiti-Igbo-Ukwu-Ekwulobia road.
The road in Igbo-Ukwu connects Imo and Abia states and these are federal roads.
There is a particular portion of the road from Awka-Etiti axis that cuts across the entrance to the palace of the Igwe of Igbo-Ukwu, which is now completely impassable even on foot, especially when it rained.
Motorists and other road users now have to divert into village track roads to burst into Nkwo Igbo-Ukwu market in order to avoid the portion of the road that has constituted a death trap.
The Igwe said that many lives have already been lost on the road because of its dilapidation.
“That road has been a thorn on our flesh. It has been bad for quite some time now and I have drawn the attention of the Anambra State government to it severally. When Mr Peter Obi was the governor, I drew his attention to it on six several occasions, but nothing was done. Governor Willie Obiano has come to see it, but unfortunately nothing serious has been done to address the problem.
“We learnt that the governor did not agree with the Federal Government. We do not know what actually the problem is. You know this is a federal road and it is now abandoned. I think what Governor Obiano should have done is to do the road and may be present his bill to the Federal Government instead of leaving it in this state. We are suffering terribly. Besides, we are still grappling with erosion menace in our community. A lot of houses have been pulled down in some villages within my domain by flood because of the bad road. When it rains, flood overflows the drainages resulting in the destruction of domestic animals, cash crops, economic trees and household property. We are finished. We appeal to both the federal and state governments to come to our rescue urgently. We have used the little resources we have to control the flood to no avail”, the Igwe lamented.
Igwe Ezeh wondered why his community would be neglected and subjected to hardship despite its traditional and archeological importance in Anambra.
The traditional ruler said he had been restraining the youths of the area who were boiling not to take laws into their hands.