The poor in Nigeria are facing miseries and untold difficulties, despite every pretence of government of providing dividends of democracy to the populace.
In the matter of roads, hundreds of billions of Naira have been budgeted and spent by government in Nigeria (Federal, States and Local Government Councils) in road construction and maitenance. Despite, the huge sums deployed, the road network in Nigeria has remained a disaster. Many lives have been lost and several persons maimed in avoidable road accidents caused by the dangerous situation of our roads. As you travel the length and breadth of Nigeria, you will notice avoidable accidents and find vehicles that are broken down, especially heavy duty vehicles engaged in haulage businesses. These have a lot of implications on the socio-economic situation of the country.
The pitiable situation of the roads in the country has more impact on the poor. The rich travel in good cars, like Hilux jeeps, and other good cars that go through the bad roads without a lot of jerking on the occupants. In many parts of the country, the poor travel ‘jam packed’ like sardines in vehicles, usually, with open roof thereby subjecting them to sunshine and rainfall. This is still the situation in many rural areas. In the urban areas today, tricycle, popularly known as and called Keke, has taken over as intra-city means of transport. As it is cheaper to buy and to maintain. also, they ply routes that taxi cabs and buses do not ply. They equally render road to house service.
The triicycles in the countty are low and carry four passengers, excluding the operator. So, traveling with ‘Keke’ during the raining season is an experience. In many States, like Imo State, they are not allowed put any improvise blinds that shield passengers from rain. So, if it is raining, the operator and the passengers are ‘beaten’ by the rain. They are also splashed with water from numerous deep potholes on the roads and from the flood that transverse the roads after rain fall due to the poorly constructed or absence of drainage system in many parts of our urban areas.
Interestingly, the issue of poverty alleviation is one that is always mouthed by politicians and those in power in Nigeria. Sadly, there are no good efforts to truly or in real terms alleviate the miseries and poverty of the wretched of our nation. Many Nigerians still live on picks from dust bins. Corruption and ethnicism and sectionalism have blinded our politicians and leaders.
The time has, therefore, come for the poor, the oppressed and the marginalized in the country to work with genuine progressive forces for a true change. The ripe off must stop now. When the political elites want to loot and squander our commonwealth, they don’t talk of religion and ethnicity, they are one. When they want to access power to position them for looting, they invoke religion and ethnicity to divide our people. We must stand to be counted now in moving Nigeria forward.