Road Construction – Edda Topography Problems
Road Construction – Edda Topography Problems
This work focuses on the challenges of Edda topography on road construction. It complements previous works on Edda history and more importantly, delves into the intricate but touchy area that has affected the Socio-Economic development of the area. To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.
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To place an order for the Complete Project Material, pay N5,000 to
Then text the name of the Project topic, email address and your names to 08060565721.
In writing this work, efforts will be made at highlighting the challenges of Edda topography on road construction, and its inhibiting effects on the socio-economic developments on one of the oldest traditional clans among the Cross-River Igbo. In all, the work is another attempt at contributing to the ongoing efforts at recon-structuring the glorious history of Igbo in pre and colonial eras. Such an attempt demonstrates how traditional principles and values have continued to challenge the efforts at socio-economic transformation in contemporary Edda society.
Again, the paucity of literature will not, in any way, stall the authenticity of this work, as heavy reliance will be made on oral interviews, site inspections, reviews and various attempts at road construction. It is hoped that from these sources and efforts, various attempts by the governments, as well as the attempts by indigenous groups in pre-colonial, colonial and post colonial eras would be identified.
Again, the various problems that constrained effective road construction will be examined, as well as the prospects for future road constructions in order to ensure balanced socio-economic development of the area.
In summary, therefore, the nature, the scope and challenges posed by the Edda topography, its implications and the way forward are the focus of this study.
Oral tradition asserts that the choice and settlement pattern of the Edda was informed by their incessant involvement in wars; they were therefore compelled to settle in difficult and near impregnable terrains as a defensive strategy against external aggressors. Today, this same topography that had, hitherto, been a blanket shield for Edda security and survival, has constituted a cog in the Edda wheel of progress and prosperity.
Without doubt, investment in road construction and transportation is a form of aid and rescue to a depressed region such as Edda clan. Unfortunately, there are many challenges arising from the nature and state of Edda topography that have made such investments and dividends in road construction and transportation difficult. Such dividends would have been evident in the socio-economic development of the area, but for the difficulties posed by the near, or seemingly unconquerable topographical challenges. The backwardness of the Edda region has therefore, been attributed to the difficult terrain and the challenges arising there from. The question thus remains, Were there no serious attempts by the indigenous people, colonial government and post colonial administrations to mitigate these challenges, and construct enduring all weather roads that would have stood the test of time? These more shall be our points of discussion in this work.
This sorry and deplorable situation which Edda topography has created against road construction needs to be evaluated in terms of the requisite political will, adequate funding, and better construction firms. It is only when this is done, that the much sought relief and succor would come and displace the numerous natural and man-made challenges arising from Edda topography.
The objective of this study therefore, is to examine and evaluate the various challenges emanating from Edda topography against road construction in the area. The work shall specifically aim at the following objectives:
(i) To identify the nature and scope of Edda topography.
(ii) To identify the challenges arising from it.
(iii) To identify various attempts at mitigating the challenges by the indigenous people, colonial government and post colonial administrations up till date.
(iv) To determine the constrains that stalled such efforts.
(v) To deduce from the findings, the implications for the Edda communities and the future prospects of road construction in the area.
The relationship between transportation and economic development can hardly be overstressed. Despite Edda numerous advantageous position, mineral deposits and favourable arable farm lands, the Edda is still basking in socio-economic doldrums, hampered by the challenges of its topography that have stalled road construction progress in the area.
As the study focuses on the various challenges of the topography on road construction, it is our belief that it will help generate empirical data that can be used to study and evaluate the challenges facing road construction not only in Edda but in any other parts of the state. It is hoped that the findings will offer insights into appropriate strategies necessary to mitigate and circumvent such challenges wherever they occur.
Similarly, it is hoped that the suggestions that may be proffered will be utilized towards improving perceptions, political will and funding, as well as the selection of well equipped construction firms that have the capability and capacity to perform
Furthermore, the results might provide workable tools for theorists in making generalizations concerning strategies for mitigating and circumventing topographic challenges.
The study covers only Afikpo South Local Government Area; precisely, Edda clan which was total population of over 400,0001. The areas to be covered also include: various attempts at road constructions by indigenous people, during colonial and post colonial eras, and by various administration.
It shall also examine the various challenges posed by topographical challenges, various strategies adopted to ameliorate them, as well as future prospects of better road construction.
The few Literatures available to us on Edda, both published and unpublished, only gave a purview of Edda history. It is heartwarming to note that as early as 1963 and 1964, such works as “Edda Nigerian magazine” and “The History of Edda” by Nzekwe O. and Okorie J. respectively, had been in circulation. These works among others, contain extensive and elaborate information that could give any researcher a vivid information and data on the origin, migration and settlement pattern of the Edda people; as well as their culture, tradition, warfare, economy and the overall inter-group relations.
For instance, Egbebu S. I. Arunsi and Egbebu J.U. Ugoji, in their book entitled “Edda Hentage” (1994), vividly revealed how the Edda people migrated. Again, they showed that Edda one of the oldest traditional clans among the Cross-River Igbos, having been declared a county council as early as 1954, with head quarters at Nguzu Edda2.
Furthermore, “Warfare in pre-colonial Edda”, a research project by Ukpabi I. Kingsley, revealed the Edda settlement pattern and reasons for such. It vividly explained the method of warfare in Edda, as well as highlighted the nature of Edda topography. The work equally posited that the incessant warfare in Edda land compelled the people to settle in areas with difficult and near impregnable terrain as a detersive strategy against external aggressions3.
It is however regrettable and surprising that despite the numerous works on Edda in general, only few authors attempted passing comments on this sensitive area: the challenges of topography in Edda road construction. It is against this backdrop, that it is viewed a lacuna in the chain of information on Edda and its people. In fact, only in few magazines and editorials could one find almost unsubstantiated highlights regarding the challenges of Edda topography on road construction. These magazines and editorials include “Edda Trumpet Volumes” I and 2; and an article titled, “Death Trap In Ebonyi!” by Michael Olughu. The latter wrote on the ravages across Edda land caused by erosion4.
It becomes more worrisome, when viewed in the light of the difficulties encountered by the entire Edda communities – regarding access roads. The ravages across Edda land caused by erosion are enormous. Road construction in Edda communities have been a problem, not only to the indigenous Edda people, but even during colonial and post colonial eras.
In fact almost all the successive administrations of Afikpo South Local Government Area (LGA), since its creation, have vigorously tried but failed in their attempts at changing the status of the roads, owing to difficult arising from its topography. Similarly, various road firms such as the Cisters and bencov construction companies, to mention but a few, have spent more than five decades working on the roads without anything to show for it5.
In summary, this work is an attempt to continue from where other literatures on Edda have stopped; delving into an area where they all failed to cover.
SOURCES AND METHODOLOGY
Information and data would be derived largely from primary sources – oral interviews, oral traditions and archival materials; and secondary sources – published and unpublished materials.
The method of approach s thematic, as the present writer feels that Edda people, wearing the shoe and knowing where it bites, are in a better position to give vivid and correct views of the problem in question, as well as its impact on them and their environment.
The researcher was constrained to limit the scope of this study to attempts by the indigenous, colonial and post colonial eras in the phase of the challenges posed by Edda topography.
Also because of paucity of fund, and perhaps, time factor, it was not possible for the researcher to get all the photographs and diagrams, so as to paint a clearer picture of the challenges posed by the problem in question.
Again, there was unwillingness of government officials as well as the officials of the construction companies, (including those that are currently on the job) to provide adequate data on modalities, job order, in order to identify the exact mileage and funds, expended on such road projects. Perhaps, they were reluctant because of the alleged shoddy deals, inherent in the awards of such contracts and their executions.
Apart from the above constraint, the writer, as a fresher in research work, had inadequate knowledge of how to proceed, especially in encountering officials of the construction companies.
Finally, apart from the writer’s University Identification card, he was almost handicapped by not possessing any letter of introduction from his University Department, so as to re-assure his respondents that this exercise was purely for academic purposes, and not geared towards witch- hunting anybody. This, of course, delayed and discouraged the researcher’s initial efforts and deals. However, goodwill prevailed when the air was cleared.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
In this work, the readers are bound to encounter some uncommon terms which may not be comprehendible to them. This is because they are only perculiar to the Edda clan and may not be seen or used elsewhere. Thus, the writer deems it necessary to briefly explain these terms, one by one, for better understanding of this work. They include:
(i) isiji Initiation – this is also known as Ipu Ogo. It is an initiation process, that every Edda male indigene is expected to pass through in order to be considered a bonafide member of the clan. It is conducted by the Egbela chief priest.
(ii) aji – this is an olden day type of clothe, worn round the waist by the males being initiated during the exercise.
(iii) ogo – this is an Edda term used to refer to a particular village.
(iv) ama – it is a word used in referring to a compound in the Edda.
THE LAND AND THE PEOPLE OF EDDA
Edda, usually referred to as Afikpo South is found at the Southern part of Ebonyi state. It is sandwiched between two major roads: The Okigwe – Afikpo road which runs along its northern border and the Umuahia – Ohafia – Arochukwu road at its south West1.
Edda clan is one of the largest clans in South –East of Nigeria. It covers an area of about 144 square Kilometers, and as already mentioned, with a population of over 400,000 2. Edda occupies an important place in the hierarchy of rural and urban settlement in Igboland. This large size is attributed to her great and extensive exploits in traditional warfares in the inter – tribal war era. The clan is made up of 72 villages (Ogo and Ama), with each having secondary units (ezi), which are in turn made up of a number of lineages3.
Edda is located roughly between Latitude 50 45 and 6050 North, and longitude 70 55 East. It is bounded on the North by Afikpo, Amasiri and Akaeze clans; on the South by Okon, Amangwu and Amaekpu communities of Ohafia in Abia state; on the East by Erei in Cross-River state and Unwana in Afikpo North local Government Area; and on the West by Nkporo and Okagwe Ohafia. Edda is founded about five kilometers from the Cross-River, which flows North – South wards on the Eastern border4.
Relief: Edda lies on the Cross –River basin, with an irregular and undulating topography. It is heterogeneously split into two broad spectrums by the Okigwe – Udi ranges, of which it is a plateau region in the South. Elizabeth isichei observed that “The hills in Edda are very steep and rocky, which make traveling very difficult and fatiguing”5. This peculiar feature has made and marred the history, economy and its development, especially in respect to road construction.
Most of the plains are usually flooded during the rainy season, a fact that has made most roads impassable during the period. During the dry season, the areas are covered by heaps of sand6. The various hills found scattered here and there are transverse by gulley erosions, as these long grain hills are easily prone to water run-offs. Again, these areas are characterized by lengthy deep valleys, that have made road construction, an up – hill task. This help to express the nature of the famous and great “twenty four corners” of Owutu – Nguzu road.
Drainage And Water: Edda land is made of mostly dry valleys, with poor ground water, from rocks that are usually muddy during the rainy seasons, flowing South Eastwards and empties into the Cross-River7. The Amangwu – Owutu – Amasiri, the Ebunwana – Erei, and Libolo – Erei roads are usually in a bad shape, as flood waters invade and destroy agricultural farms and products as well as sources of drinking water8. In addition, Osso Edda and Amangwu areas, apart from the usual flooding, are infested with guinea worms9.
It is interesting to note that this areas house numerous rapids and water falls such as Oloo Ekoli, Achi Ogbo, Ezi Iyieku and Ama Ichakara waterfalls, which range from heights of 50, 30, 20 and 10 meters respectively. Surprisingly, all the water falls are found within the Ekoli community. Numerous streams abound such as Idima, Ubei, Utughu, Olo Ugwoko, Iyi Nkoko, Olo Ekoli, Iyere Libolo, Iyere Oguma, Ofonyi, Isimu, Nmu and Iyere Uzo Ugwuelu Ekoli10
Climate: The climate in Edda clan still tallies with those of other South – East communities. The South-westerly winds bring the rains from April to October, while the Northeast trade winds are responsible for the harmattan with low humidity from December to February. The hottest mints are February and March, with mean annual temperatures of over 270c in the undulating plains while the plateau area is 250c11.
Vegetation: The fauna and flora of Edda area are mostly characterized by three principal zones, namely: the forest, Savannah and the swampy zones12. However, these zones have been seriously affected by natural and human influences. Galaxy of forest, the plateau areas, have shrubs and oil palm trees, as other trees found in the forest areas include: Mahogany, Iroko, cam wood, silk cotton, coconut, native pea, wild mango, paw-paw and oranges trees. Often, they are intertwined with climbing trees13. There again, many dense growth of raffia palm trees abound14.
Soils: Like all the lands of the rainy forest areas, the soils found in Edda are acidic in nature. They are composed mainly of sand, laterite, alluvial and sand stones15. While the alluvial abound within the plains, laterite dominates the plateaus area. On the averaged, about 60% of the total land area of Edda support agriculture16. Thus, such food and cash crops as cassava, raffia palm, rice and cocoa, all thrive well.
The Edda people are usually referred to as “Edda Egbebu” because of their prowess in wars. Oral history states that the Edda people were never defeated in wars; hence, they were likened to the kite (Egbe) which is so swift and precise in the capture of its preys17. Literally, Egbebu means the kite cannot carry it (Egbe adighi ebu onye Edda). Thus, it could be said that Edda people were invincible in battles and there from, the Egbebu attachment to the name, Edda. It is not peculiar to Edda, as In most Igbo communities, such as Ohatia, “Udumeze” is attached; in Igbere community, “Ebiri” is attached; and in Nkporo, “Okwe” is attached18.
Like any other pre-colonial Igbo society, Edda had its own socio-political organization, conditioned by its Religion. The latter is an integral part of human nature, as stimuli to spiritual communication is the repertoire of individuals. Religion is said to be the opium of the people. It shows man’s various reactions to fear of the unknown or man’s spontaneous reaction to his immediate awareness of a living power (a Holy Order) that is infinitely greater than him. The latter makes serious attempts at communicating with these unseen power for sundry reasons. Religion is, therefore, the phenomenon of seeking the best relationship with the super-natural being through an intermediary. For Christians, Christ is the answer; Muslims Mohammed, and for traditional worshipper – to which most Edda uneducated and ignorant folks belong – deities (chi). An Edda man, deeply rooted in his religions practices, has a strong belief that once the requisite scarifies have been performed through an acknowledged intermediary, the supernatural will be favourably disposed towards his adherents19.
The major social institutions of Edda are the Egbela cultural institution and the Age Grade system (Uke), which have direct links with the political institution of the clan20. They also provided the platform for the training and general orientation of the young ones into adulthood and full membership to Edda society.
Egbela cultural institution served a dual purpose, providing the religious and spiritual needs of the people. Every true Edda man is expected to have successfully passed through the tutelage of the Egbela cult chief priest. In fact, any Edda man who does not pass through this stage could be in trouble, as he, together with the women, is not to be seen outside during the Egbela cult traditional exercise 21. The young adults are tutored in all embracing endurance training programmes, aimed at making them daring traditional soldiers, as well as revealing the secret passwords and signals used to communicate during wars22. It is believed to afford protection to all initiates in times of difficulties.
Another socio-political organization is the age grade system, which plays significant roles in Igbo land, in general. Like all Cross-River Igbo groups, the Edda people had elaborate mitigation rites into the age grade system. All males of the same age that got initiated into the Egbela cult, as well as women that got married in the same year, belong to the same age grade23. Age grades serve as the police of the community. They are responsible for peaceful inter-group/inter-village co-existence. Similarly, they are mobilized for the various communal labours – restructuring of public latrine, sources of drinking water and the maintenance of public paths to the streams and farms. Above all, the male counterparts of the age grade provide combatant soldiers for the community in times of need. All that are born within a space of three to five years of age, fall within the same age grade.
Apart from the age grade system, the title taking institution in Edda is another important social institution in the society. Complex code of conduct was expected from all titled men in Edda community and were reciprocally entitled to a wide range of privileges and respect within and outside the society. Edda oral tradition asserts that the titled ceremony was the highest and the last within the community, which any man could undertake24. Apart from the privileges and respect accruing the recipient, it marks the degree of wealth acquired (a status symbol)
Political organization in Edda rested on four-tier arrangements. The first port of call is the Ezi (family) which is the lowest ebb of the arrangement. This is followed by the by the Ogo (village), Isi – Ogo (town) and lastly the Nguzu – Osisioma level. The Nguzu – Osisioma level serves as the federal level which holds all Edda together25. All headship in Edda is hereditary26. All decisions are reached through consensus with all the council elders, and then communicated to the people through the royal town criers.
Security consciousness propelled the people of Edda to settle on the hilly region, today referred to as Afikpo South27.
Edda is divided into eleven(11) autonomous communities namely; Nguzu, Ekoli, Ebiri, Umunna, Amangwu, Amato, Etiti, Oso, Ebunwana, Owutu and Igboroso. Nguzu, Ebiri and Ekoli are the most northerly Edda communities, found high on the hills. Their settlements afford protection to other Edda communities at the Southern tip of Afikpo South, from aggression emanating from Ohafia, Abam, Ibeku, Abiriba, etc28.
Similarly, Oso, Amangwu and Igbroso were located to ensure the protection of other communities of Edda from northern part of Afikpo South. They were to use the inhibitive topographic features (Swampy, Undulating terrain) as well as their vast vegetation to prosecute guerilla warfares against their would-be enemies from Aguleri, Nike, Obagu, Okigwe, Mpu, Uturu, Amasiri, Ezza, Izzi and Akaeze29.
In a related way, Eburnwana and Etiti were positioned to ward off all aggressions stemming from Afikpo proper30.
The settlement pattern was not only informed by military reasons but also by economic factors. The swampy plains favoured the planting of such food crops as yams of various varieties, legumes, cassava as well as fruits and vegetables. Similarly, the hilly and stony areas favour the planting of certain species of yams, legumes, fruit trees such as pears, nuts, etc31. Also, the Ekoli, Libolo, Nguzu and Ebiri communities are well positioned for the relay intra and inter communal trades, between Edda and the Abiriba, Abam, Ohafia and Aro. Again the Amangwu, Oso, Owutu, and Ufueseni are well positioned in the relay intra and inter trades between Edda and Ezza, Izzi, Uturu, Nike, Aguleri, Okigwe, Obegu, Amasiri and Uburu during the 18th century Trans-Atlantic trade, and later on manufactured goods32.
Various socio-economic activities are undertaken by various Edda groups and communities. These activities include: the production of agro-raw materials, food stuffs, locally manufactured goods, their transportation and consumption. The engagement in various aforementioned activities is determined by the nature and scope of the Edda topography. The people are predominantly subsistent agriculturists, while other trades are undertaken by different experts in the various fields of endeavours.
In economic production and development, three stages are evident. The first is the primary production activities which include the cultivation of such food crops and raw materials as cassava, vegetables, yams, maize, palm oil and kernels and forestry. The secondary production consists of the processing, fabrication and production of primary and secondary commodities, as hoes, building implements, cooking utensils, house hold properties such as furniture, guns and traps of various types, beads and ornaments. It is worthy of note that fabrics of various types were equally produced from local materials and industries such as Ogbu (ichakara barks) for the production of aji (local cloths)33. Additionally, tertiary economic activities were mainly distributive in nature.
The various Edda communities were organized and specific arrangements were made to ensure that economic activities and communications were not stalled. Royal insignia and other materials were transported to various communities in relay forms, and jealously guarded by royal warriors. They included vital royal information and instructions. For raw materials and other goods, traders trekked long distance transversing gullies and hills under the protection of able bodied age grades. Their assignments included the warding off of enemies and wild animals as well as ensuring that free movement and trade were not interrupted34.
Land Inheritance And Farming:
Farming was, and is still the dominant economic activity in Edda, as all other activities revolve around this activity. Again, as already noted, Edda occupies a vast area of land space. The vast rain forest areas, the plains and the plateaux are usually cleared and cultivated with crops best suited for the areas. Farming begins early in the year with the clearing of the forest and burning the area, while tilling follows immediately. Yams of various types are planted, including vegetables and pumpkin, maize, cassava, okra, melon and much later, beans. In the swampy plains of Ufueseni, Oso, Owutu, Amangwu and Ebunwana, the cultivation of rice, groundnuts as well as cassava and other species of yam take place. In the plateau area, various species of melon and a special type of beans – Azima – thrives abundantly; while in other parts of Edda, palm trees, kolanuts, cocoa, banana, rubber, cashew, etc. abound35.
Whereas, large scale production of farm produce abound, means of taking them to commercial areas are limited. The Edda topography and road problems are unfriendly in terms of movement from one place to another. This was confirmed by Oji Uduma (Afikpo South chairman, 1999-2003), who asserted that “the people find it extremely difficult to evacuate their agricultural and other products because of the nature of roads in Edda”36. Most roads are seasonal and crisscross through long, weary slippery undulating hills and gullies that have constituted the bane of progress and real development of the area, even up to the present period of writing.
Craft And Small-Scale Industries : in pre-colonial Edda, there were two types of crafts: the mechanical (skilled) and the manual. The skilled crafts included blacksmith found in various Edda villages, with the earliest, known and found in Okpuma. They produced hoes, knives and “apa” used in traditional deities.
Similarly, wood craftsmen produced items such as idols and statues, door, windows, mortar and pestles, platter, chairs, etc. The weaving industry at Ogbu produced traditional clothing materials such as ‘aji’, tree, towels, mats, baskets and back rests. Beads of various types and shades were also produced37.
However, with modern technology, the traditional crafts and industries have almost been pushed aside to make way for modern products such as clothing materials of various types, basins, roofing sheets, beads, farming implements including oil palm, rice and garri processing industries.
Mining And Quarrying:
In pre-colonial Edda, apart from white earth (Nzu) which is found at Letu, Libolo and Ekoli Edda, no serious mining activity took place in Edda. However, during the colonial period, oil and gypsum were found, though not in commercial quantity, in Owutu, Asaga and Amangwu Edda. Stone quarrying was extensively carried out in the plateau region, where stones of various types existed; while oil, temporarily mined at Owutu and was later abandoned.
Commerce plays a major role in the socio-economic activities of the Edda people. They were latter known for their spirit of enterprise and diligence. Arising there from, Edda can be found virtually engaged in all commercial activities.
The Edda, unlike most Igbo communities operate on the four-day interval cyclical market, namely: Nkwo, Eke, Orie and Afo. There are markets in all the Edda autonomous communities except Etiti, with Owutu central market being the busiest and largest. These markets attract buyers and sellers from far and near. However, commercial activities in Edda are varied, while the tempo are occasionally affected by the Edda traditional religion (Egbela Edda). As already mentioned, non-initiates cannot veer to the market during the “Isiji” initiation period.
In modern time, it is a common sight to find traders from various locations buying and transporting large quantities of food stuffs to the area cities, from the Owutu and Oso markets.
Transportation and Communications:
Transportation and Communications in Edda are seriously inhibited by its topography and there from its general development and modernization. To better appreciate the importance of road transportation and communications on the economic development of Edda, a thorough examination of the topography and how the existing road-network is disaggregated into component systems in the area must be made.
It is pertinent to note that transportation business is appreciable to an extent, even given the absence of good access roads. However, the nature of roads has necessitated mainly the use of motorcycles to transverse the various parts of Edda, as it explains why the latter has not been a fertile ground for outside investors, as evident in the absence of certain infrastructural facilities. This factor, to a large extent, has contributed in making the people operate mainly subsistence, hand to mouth and generally small scale economy. For this reason, therefore, and without a doubt, investment in road transportation is a form of aid and rescue to a depressed region such as Edda in Ebonyi State.
The pattern and extent of development of the road network in Edda are of such vital importance as they impinge on the political, economic and social progress of the area. There is, therefore, the urgent need for an improved system of road network and transportation, if the growth in population, socio-economic changes, as well as the people’s aspirations to greater heights must be achieved. Good road network provide the much needed spring board of interaction amongst the people and the outside world, so as to ensure that they are not isolated from modern development trends of the 2st century.
ROAD CONSTRUCTION IN EDDA:
A road is thorough fare, route, or way on land, between two points or places, which typically has been pared or broadened to allow travel by some conveyance. These may include the following: carts, horse, donkey or vehicle. Roads may consist of one, or sometimes two or more lanes, at times, with sidewalks or pavements. Road could be private or public. In a broader sense, the Encarta Encyclopedia defines a road as;
Path established over land for the passages of vehicles,
People and animals, providing dependable pathways for
moving people and goods from one place to another,
ranging in quality from dirt paths to concrete-paved
Historically, many roads were simply recognizable routes without any formal construction or maintenance. This may take the form of footpaths, bridge way cycle tracks gas well as tracks on private land and estates. However, when the use of road started cannot be ascertained, but it is believed that the first pathways were the trails made by animals or simply tracks frequently used by men to reach a target. Within time, these tracks became widened and thus, became permanent routs for man’s use for intra and inter places connectivity.
There are many Edda roads that need serious attention, but the major and most siginificant ones include: Owutu-Nguzu road (24 corners), a federal road, stretching up to 21 kilometers(km); Letu-Ekoli road (Ugwuiyimanu/letu road) of about 5.72 km; Nguzu-Ekoli road, with a distance of 16km; and Ebunwana-Ekoli road, with a length of 14.5 km2. The reality is that once the aforementioned roads are impassable, the entire Edda would be cut-off from her sister states and communities, a situation that must be totally avoided if the much sought development is to come her way.
INDIGENOUS ATTEMPTS AT ROAD CONSTRUCTION.
As found elsewhere, Okporie Nkama asserted, that roads started in Edda communities, not as deliberate policies but by merely following tracks made by animals. However, they were made permanent paths an time progressed. Such tracks included those used for animal traps, stream tracks as well as farm and various tracks to reach relatives and deities3. However, because of the Edda topography, such tracks/paths became eroded, as the necessity to cross streams led to communal efforts in constructing wooden culverts and bridges over such streams. It is important to understand that Edda people’s paranoia, as regards to war, ensured that such culverts and bridges were not made permanent so as not to provide easy access to would be enemies.
With the growth and expansion of Edda communities, the need arose to have intra and inter roads to link up different Edda groups. In this way, one community could easily offer assistance during attacks by their enemies. Again, farm/stream routs became gradually broadened through communal labours, offered by age grades or women associations. The road construction and maintenance were especially noticed during new yam festivals when every community ensured that all routes to the farm/streams, as well as intra and inter-routes, were widened.4
New paths or roads were also indigenously constructed, arising from excessive flooding, landslides or erosion menace, as well as from intra communal disputes. Threats of carnivorous animals such as lions, buffaloes, tigers or leopards, sometimes forced the community to construct alternative routes, thought to be safer than the previous ones. Often, the difficult terrain have forced the people to direct routes, hither to be used for communication purposes.
In areas that were water – logged, indigenous technologies were applied to construct local belly bridges, using forked stakes and crossed with long durable logs that are smoothly joined to ensure stability and longevity of the bridges. In swampy and slippery routes up hills, steps were dug in, to curtail the sharpness of possible slips as well ensuring that such paths meander in order to avoid slippery and swampy areas5. Communal efforts were also mobilized to fill in gaps/gullies to ensure all season usage of the paths.
ROAD CONSTRUCTION DURING COLONIAL ERA:
The inception of colonial rule and the setting up of different administrations marked the beginning of road construction in different parts of Nigeria, including Edda. There was the need to move different administrative officers to different areas of Nigeria, especially to rural areas. Again, the need to move different military personnel to restive areas of Nigeria similarly informed the construction of roads into the interiors. The road constructions were mostly the widening of paths/routes in order to make them motor able.
With the introduction of western type of education into the area in 1938, the first Edda primary school (Edda central school at Ebunwana) by the Church of Scotland Mission was established. Later, different communities established their own schools with the aid of missionaries, and gradually roads were extended to link up these schools. Government school inspectors regularly visited schools on inspection missions through these roads. During such visits, their pick-up vans were stuck up in waterlogged roads or cut-off by landslides or erosion6. Apart from erosion, these roads were seriously affected by weathering, which involve the process of chemical or physical breakdown of the minerals in the rocks.
Since these roads were mostly seasonal, the colonial administrations established what was referred to as Public Works Department (PWD). The personnel of the PWD were stationed on the different roads where they made their permanent abodes and regularly maintained the roads in order to ensure their usage7.
One particular characteristics of these roads was their being inundated with gutters and water channels that ensured effective run-off on the roads. Potholes as well as felled parts were filled and reconstructed. It was during this period that the famous and notorious twenty four corners, of the Owutu – Nguzu road, was constructed to by-pass the steep hills and their gullies that were badly eroded. However, all efforts at making this route all season road, have failed. This is because at the base of these corners at Owutu, lay undulating swampy plains that have made road construction difficult. These plains are criss-crossed by winding streams that require long bridges, especially at Owu bridge point. The indigenes, after protracted attempts to remedy this situation, at least to make it passable, had given up.
POST – COLONIAL EFFORTS AT ROAD CONSTRUCTION:
In the post colonial era, it can be identified that a lot of educated Edda indigenes have played their parts in ameliorating the menacing nature of the roads in Edda. They have done this through writing of official letters, constant visits to the State Government, as well as using any medium and opportunity available to communicate their ill feelings. For instance, the people of Etiti Autonomous community in Edda, led by their Community Leader, Reverend Aso Oji (an intellect), made a clarion call to the State Government to come to their aid in the aspect of road construction. This urgent call was contained in an address read by reverend the Reverend on behalf of Etiti community during the visit of the then State Governor, Dr. Sam Ominyi Egwu to Edda on the 29th of September, 1999. He, through the address, reminded the Governor that his visit to Edda during the rainy season should have given him a better picture of what they (Edda people) suffer to come to the state capital. In fact, he used the medium to thank the Governor for bringing the Federal Government to approve the construction of Abakaliki – Afikpo road, while at the same time implored him to also forward the Owutu – Nguzu road to the Federal Government for same8.
Colonial administrations were known for their interest in the construction of road that ran North – Southwards. That is to say that roads were constructed, that carried all the products of the interior towards the Southern coast. However, at independence, different administrations put up stout efforts at road constructions in order to open up the rural areas for socio-economic development, as well as maintenance of already exciting roads.
As already mentioned, Edda clan is found in-between two major roads, and successive administrations ensured that the products of the various Edda clans were transported to rejoin the two major roads. Edda road during the Eastern Nigerian government received little or no attention. In fact, the little work done by the regional government coincided with the outbreak of the 1966 Nigerian-Biafran war and so was aborted prematurely9. It is necessary to examine some administrative efforts and the extent of work done, as well as the challenges encountered.
Before the creation of Afikpo South Local Government(LGA) Area in 1988, there was an attempt made by the then chairman of Afikpo, Chief Nnachi Ukpai to connect Edda to neighbour states. Because of lack of adequate fund, he was only able to tar half of the Letu-Ekoli, road up to the hill10. That attempt helped to ease off transportation then. However, because of the topography, the road did not last.
Following the creation of Edda, Afikpo South LGA(September, 1991), serious attempts began to be made. From 1991-1993, during Sunday Ogbuoji regimes, the construction of Letu-Ekoli road, a distance of 5.72 kilometers was awarded to Bill company limited, at nine million, six hundred and nineteen thousand, six hundred and sixty five naira (N9,619, 665.00)11. it is worthy of note that though the job was confirmed uncompleted, and the little that was done, substandard, yet huge sums of money were paid out to a construction firm that had no evidence of being a registered company. It is equally worthy of note that the road did not last more than a year.
Similarly, during the regime of Major Grace Okoro (1993-1995), the construction of Enyaeba bridge was awarded at a value of N4.6 million to an equally unregistered construction company. In 1994, the construction of Nguzu-Ekoli road was awarded to Bonk Engineering and was paid a total sum of N2,213508.80. Rocky Engineering Company Limited was paid N2, 466, 175.00 for the construction of Ogbu – Owutu road; while kenakro company was paid the sum of N4,481,750.00 for the re-construction of Letu-Ekoli road, out of which, N1,743,831.85 was paid without commensurate job done. Also, Ibiam Bros Enterprise was awarded a contract for opening up a new water-way at Enyaeba river, along Ogbu-Owutu road. This colossal job was not registered and the job not done, but payment made to the last Kobo.12
Again, during the regime of Barrister Livinus Irem(1997-1998) the following contracts were awarded: Amaiyi Nta Amangwu gutter protect, at a cost of N290,980 (completely paid); while Ukpoghoro culvert was awarded at N503886 (no amount paid). However, the Ofoi road in Owutu (draninge system) was awarded to Toneck Engineering at a cost of N450000. The work was partly done but no payment made, as the council board claimed the little work done was poor.13
In all, the pathetic and sordid Edda roads have been exploited by the Local Government Area administrators. Thus, it is not surprising that over 42 million naira is claimed to have been expended on road construction and re habitation alone in the LGA14.
In addition, there were also, attempts by the successive State Governments at road construction. For instance, the first military governor of the State, Walter A. Feghbor, embarked on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Owutu – Nguzu, stretching up to 21km. His efforts were stalled by paucity of fund and the enormity of the job involved15. Again, during the governor Sam O. Egwu Administration, the Brass Construction Company was awarded the construction of Ebunwana – Ekoli road. This project was not completed before his Administration was ended. However, Governor Martin Elechi has re-awarded the construction of the road, a distance of 14.5 kilometers to Brass construction company. This project is currently on-going as at the time of writing of this work, with real progress being made.
To sum it up, from 1975 till date, no fewer than 6 different companies have been awarded road construction in Edda. They include: Votunisky, Hispacon, Cistar, Bencov, Brass, Bonk Engineering, Rocky Engineering, Kenakro Company, etc. These contracts were either halfway or out rightly abandoned, and no probe by the government was initiated, either by the Local, State or federal Government.16
PROBLEMS AND PROSPECTS
Road construction in Edda has been considered a top priority by both Edda indigenes and the State Government. This consideration is based on the understanding that it is only when these various roads are well done, that relief and succor, as well as investments and developments would come the way of Edda community. However, the constructions of these roads, despite efforts by all and Sundry, have been restrained by certain factors, which we shall be discussing in this chapter.
PROBLEMS OF ROAD CONSTRUCTION
Problems associated with road construction in Edda, revolve around the topography of the area. Topography in a restricted sense, is the study of the Earth’s surface, shape and features. In a broader sense, topography deals mainly with local details in general, including not only relief, but also vegetative and human-made features, even local history and culture1. However, for the purpose of this work, topography is used to represent the three-dimensional quality of the identification of specific land forms.
Edda topography are the elevations of the land in relation to each other and includes all the hills streams, plains and any sort of rise and dip in the ground as well as the vegetative and human-made features of the area. A topographic study of an area is informed by the desire to determine its effects on economic development of the area; military planning; and geologic exploration as well as planning and construction of any major civil engineering, public or reclamation projects 2. Topography poses severe challenges to different environments. Such inhibitive challenges are many, and vary especially in road construction in general, and in particular, in Edda. Topographic problems create a number of hazards in road construction. These hazards could arise as a result of the slant of the area, the swampy terrain, the thick jungles and the various hills that make free movements difficult.
Continuing, the topographic nature of Edda has made it easily prone to gullies and weathering. As such, it requires heavy equipment and advanced machineries that could withstand the wear and tear of the terrain. Apart from the acidic nature of the soil and the constant heavy rains resulting in areas being water logged, the roads are usually slippery and are flanked on both sides by deep dry valleys. These, therefore, have compounded the problem of road construction in the area. This assertion was well agreed upon by Oji U. Okoro in an interview. In his words, he said, “you know one funny thing, I always look at the ‘topography’ of this headquarters and ask myself, if one wants to start work here how could it be done”3. Again Engineer Ndukwe Udume, in a dialogue with the researcher said “there is no big deal in the construction of Edda roads, but the problem is the topography”4. In fact, the nature of the topography of Edda, devoids any average experienced construction company of the knowledge and wisdom of where and how to proceed. No wonder most of the construction companies, that were awarded the contracts of the roads, abandoned and left the works unfinished. In addition, some of their equipment which could not withstand the topography, were damaged and equally abandoned (see figures below).
I (a spoilt tractor) II (an abandoned pay loader)
Erosion menace (a topographic factor) has also been a major cog in the wheel of progress of road construction in Edda. Roads, graded and filled with laterite are usually washed away by erosions and water. For instance, the Nguzu-Ekoli road under construction have been stalled by incessant erosion menace at the Nguzu junction end (about a pole from the Abiriba-Ohafia tarred road). Such erosion problem has resulted in the diversion of road construction work to other areas, not affected by the gully erosion. (see figures below)
III (Nguzu-Ekoli Road cut-off by erosion) IV (a diversion created at the road in question)
By this means, the budgeted amount is eroded by unforeseen extra cost. At times, construction equipments are swept off by flood erosion and/or gullies, resulting to stallment of road construction progress. In another instance, the Ugwuiyimanu road which was tarred by Chief Nnachi Ukpai, was washed away by gully erosion and made has been made almost unmotorable. Again, at the Ebunwana-Ekoli road, gully erosion has significantly slowed down the road project, as tons of laterite and bitumen are washed away as soon as they are laid. This has made the construction company, currently on the job, to abandon the route and creating a temporally one for road users until a permanent solution to this topographic problem is found. (see figures below)
V (the road at the right abandoned for the one VI (another view of the Ebunwana-Ekoli road)
at the left).
On the 24 corners road, the story is the same. Erosion, compounded by dry valleys have made alternative road diversion impossible. No wonder the road has remained in a sorry state, both in pre war and post war era, even up to the time of writing this work.
Furthermore, there had been corruption at high places. Money meant for such projects was either not released or the little that was released was done late. Alternatively, the money meant for the job (road construction) was misapplied, misappropriated or blatantly looted for self aggrandizement, leaving the construction companies with little or nothing to complete their works. Again indebtedness to the contractors often stalled the road construction in Edda, as they were forced to stop work and take away their equipments to other locations. This fact was also well supported by Agwu O agwu, saying, “you see, sometimes I do not blame the Government, for the money they have released so far have been selfishly channeled into some people`s pocket(sic)”5.
Apart from corruption on the part of the authorities in charge, the construction companies have also been guilty of corruption-looting of resources meant for the roads. Often times, they were records of payments received by the companies, but no work done or jobs not done according to specification. Edda Trumpet recorded that:
Between 1975 and 1993, five different construction companies with the inclusion of votunisky, Hispacon, Cistar and Bencov had been awarded contract for the construction of some roads and each had colluded with appropriate(State and Federal) government officials to get paid for Job not executed6.
The most lamentable case is that of Bencov Construction Nigerian Limited, Aba, Abia State. This company was awarded the Osso-Owutu/Ohafia junction road at a sum of seventy-five million, three hundred and fifty-one thousand, one hundred and eighty-two naira (75,351,182.00) by the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing on 17th August, 1993. Regrettably, the contract was terminated by a letter dated 11th August, 1998, as only a fraction (five percent of the job) of the road was graded.7 These corruption practices are partly encouraged by the insensitivity of the part of the government, as no thorough supervision was ever carried out to ensure that the jobs were done. Worst still, most of the road construction firms, as already mentioned, were not even registered and were awarded the contracts as compensatory/sympathy bases, for political patronage and/or filial relationships.
Also, budgetary allocations often provided for the Edda roads are usually poor and inadequate. It is argued that because Edda a had no political heavy weights, either at the State or Central level, to bring pressure to bay on the powers that be, to provide adequately, funds for construction, paltry sums are often provided for such challenging roads. This is because the nature of Edda topography and the enormity of work to be done have made the construction of the roads, a task that is almost financially beyond the reach of the Afikpo South L.G.A. this assertion was authenticated by Ufiem Irem, in a dialogue with the researcher. He said In his words, “… If the Local Government is left alone to handle the road projects, it means the workers would be deprived of their salaries”8 . Thus the dependency on the state and central governments, of which Edda has a few political representatives. In a related way, the laisser-faire attitudes of the few Edda sons and daughters in positions of authority have not made matters any better. They either connive or pretend that the effects of lack of good roads do not concern them. They, therefore, turn blind eyes to the realities on ground.
Furthermore, the indigenous people are often hostile to construction firms because of the land tenure system. In this situation, a parcel of land may belong to several families and they must be negotiated with and agreements reached before any construction is carried out through their land. Contra wise, such families usually disrupt the construction of project or may resort to stealing or damaging the companies’ equipments and properties. In some instances, personnel of such construction companies were kidnapped, as fear of such scared away other personnel9.
Continuing, Edda road construction has been politicized. As soon as road contracts had been concluded and awarded, tussles begin for points where the projects would start. The construction of Nguzu-Owutu-Amangwu road was stalled because of the political tussle between Nguzu and Owutu. While Owutu insisted that the work should begin from their Amangwu end, those from Nguzu insisted that it would start from Nguzu area10.
In addition to these problems, the inaction of Edda development union and technocrats, serving or retired, have done little as regards to initiating maintenance culture. Because of their selfish and personal interest, they have failed to maintain the already existing roads, by way of regular supervision. In this way, little potholes that usually emerge with time should have been controlled and nipped before manifesting into deep gully sites, thereby cutting off either the old road or the ongoing construction works. The case in point is the aforementioned Nguzu-Ekoli road, that have turned sour cutting off the road in construction and leading to diversion of the road (see figures III and IV).
In summary, after a proper examination of these problems, it can be deduced that topography is the root of all the aforementioned problems. For instance, the topography of the area has made erosion to become a constant feature of the roads in Edda; construction companies usually abandon the jobs because of the technicality, arising from the topography; the enormous work to be done as a result of the topography has made budgetary allocations, which under normal circumstances would have enough, to be become inadequate. In short, the topography of the area is a root challenge that has generated other challenges
Prospects of Road Construction in Edda.
Road Construction in Edda is really difficult but not unattainable. The natural factors, which outweigh man-made ones, could be ameliorated through concerted and determined efforts by all and sundry.
Furthermore, Edda sons and daughters have taken up more responsible political positions, both at the state and Federal level, who have Edda’s progress at heart. In any budgetary provisions, they hopefully will inadvertently play a role that will influence the appropriation of funds that will be enough to handle the roads. Again, there is a wind of political change, as regards to the perception and conception of Edda indigenes in the political sphere to change things for the better, through conscious and concerted efforts.
In this regard, a new official organ of the Edda people referred to as the Edda trumpet is actively in action. This was born out of the desire to give qualitative and theoretic attention in intellectual content and dimension, to the re-definition and strengthening of Edda personality and development. This official organ is geared towards crystallizing the collective and individual perception of Edda people, to the improvement of the physical structures, as well as road construction in Edda. It, therefore, looked at new approaches and ideas towards ensuring effective and enduring road construction. This yearly feature magazine has, therefore, come to fill a vital gap in the development and renaissance of Edda perception and personality in the 21st century and beyond.
Also, several governmental officials entrusted with the disbursement of funds for road construction in general, and Edda in particular are now more conscious of the way they handle money related issues. They are now conscious and afraid of being caught in the web of the Economic and financial crime (EFCC) and its agents that do not compromise with any financial defaulter, for misappropriating or misapplication of funds meant for any project. This has, therefore, greatly reduced the tendency towards self-enrichment, bringing in unqualified companies and the use of poor construction equipments, as well as presentation of shoddy jobs and deals.
At the local Government level, Afikpo South Local Government Chairpersons are now developing new perceptions of “what do we do for our place of origin”. Hitherto, the rule rather than the exceptions, had been self consciousness and self aggrandizement, and this was the bane of development in general and poor road construction in particular. Arising there from, the counsel of Afikpo south elites is usually sought after in order to move the young Local Government Area forward. This is an opening of a new chapter in the road construction efforts. The little fund made available is judiciously channeled to developmental purposes in order to fulfill the people’s mandate and campaign promises.
Allied to the above prospect, is the dawn of a new era of consort in order to ameliorate the dichotomy that had, hitherto, been the bane of progress in Edda generally, and road construction in particular. As already mentioned, one of the greatest obstacles that had militated against effective commencement of road construction and supervision had been the dichotomy between upper and lower Edda. Ekoli and Nguzu in upper Edda and Owutu Amangwu in the lower Edda. This hydra headed problem had tended to rent the entire clan into two. This dichotomy caused by topography is reinforced by political bickering which ended up destroying the Edda unity. For this singular reason, the struggle for supremacy between one faction and another stalled all efforts at either getting government’s attention to commence effective work on the roads, or to report to the authorities, where the road construction firms failed to deliver, as enunciated in their contract terms. With this new awareness, Edda could speak with one voice, about what they want and how it should be done, at a level that would bring succor and relief to their road problems.
This new awareness has equally brought a new dawn in the relationship between the indigenous land owners and the government, as the both now mutually agree, with the indigenes granting access for roads to pass freely through their lands. In this way, long drawn litigations, pilfering, kidnapping and the destruction of construction equipments have been stemmed. Every one now agrees to the dire need of road construction in the Edda development project and therefore, has disassociated themselves from being cogs in the will of progress.
On the part of the state government, there is more awareness and willingness to come to the people’s rescue, in an attempt to fulfill the campaign promises made to the people. This is witnessed in the current road construction project by His Excellency, Governor Martin Elechi, who has graciously awarded and ensured that the Ebunwana-Ekoli road, which had been one of the banes of Edda road, is made motor able. For the first time, deliberate and conscientious efforts are being made at ensuring that broad minded road inspectors enforce construction according to specification and the time frame, inherent in the terms of agreement. Requisite fund are being provided, and the contract awarded to Brass Construction Company, a firm that is hoped would deliver at when due.
Therefore, it has been proven beyond any reasonable doubts that Edda road challenges cannot be ascribed to any spiritual problem, but rather to callousness, lack of diligence, lack of political will, paucity of fund, political wrangling, dichotomy of Edda villages and corruption in high places.
Now mobilized and provided with requisite incentives, construction firms are now willing to deliver. Assured of the safety of their equipments, security of their lives and the requisite fund, they are bringing in better construction equipments and personnel that would handle Edda roads, hitherto thought unachievable.
Topographic challenges as enunciated in this work, are many and have posed various challenges to different governments. However, these challenges are not insurmountable, as conscientious and deliberate policies would bring succor and relief to road construction in Edda
Lack of political will had been a militating factor, with its hydra headed problems associated with the inability to provide the requisite funds and personnel. Ukpai N. Ukpai deductively supported this opinion. In an interview by the researcher he said, “the people who call themselves Edda people at the helm of government are not doing well. In short they do not care about our development but policies aimed at enriching their pockets”1. Also in support of this view, Ufiem Irem asserted, “we should look beyond the Local Government and seek help from the State and Federal authorities, our people there are the ones who can render help to us once they eliminate their selfish interests”2. From these views, therefore, it is recommended that more and more Edda sons and daughters at the helms of power should eschew selfishness, avoid corruption and work towards the general development and well being of Edda, instead of self.
As earlier mentioned, the topography of Edda perplexed the construction companies, previously invited, on where and how to even begin the road constructions. This explains why most of them either could not finish the jobs, or disappeared without doing anything at all. The researcher also came across Nnachi Nkama who opined, “our roads are definitely bigger than some so-called companies we have seen so far. Not that they are not trying but they lack capable equipments”3. Again, Agwu .O. Agwu supported this assertion, saying, “giving our roads to these companies is like asking David to fight Goliath without God’s help”4, he mused. With these established facts, therefore, now is the time to invite road construction firms, who would show no mercy to the topographic problems of Edda roads. Notable among them is Julius Berger Construction Company, a sophisticated, reputable and fidelity firm that is widely recognized and accepted, at the national and international level. In fact, with better equipments, experience and dedicated personnel, Edda people would say farewell to their bad roads, in exchange for brand new durable all weather roads that would have stood the test of time. The question thus remains, can the government be willing to budget mega sum of money so as to afford the aforementioned construction company? Well, the answer to the question has to be a ‘yes’, if there is a genuine desire on the part of the government to alleviate the degrading status of Edda Community.
Similarly, after a close examination of the 24 corners road and other Edda roads of similar nature, it is recommended that in order to avoid the meandering of the roads, construction firms should rather embark on earth/laterite filling of dry valleys or landslides arising from split erosion and/or effects of weathering. Though this might be cost draining, in the long run, it would be cost effective and more enduring.
Also, the rocky-hilly nature of the upper Edda, down to the plateau region could be handled using heavier equipments such as dynamites for breaking the rocks and heavier bull dozer that have chainlike tires. This would enable the bulldozer to penetrate the valleys and gullies as the needs arise, without fear of somersaulting, or being buried by landslides. The use of crane propelled belts could be useful in filling the gullies and slides from self-distances.
Furthermore, any road construction work on Edda, devoid of adequate channelization can be said to be almost a waste of time. It is hereby, suggested that the colonial system of establishing Public Workers Department (PWD) workers along the road should be resuscitated, while requisite equipments should provided for them in order to sustain them. This would provide regular and effective constant road maintenance. Borrowing a leaf from this colonial system would save cost and ensure all season motor able roads in Edda.
Also, it would not be out of place if Edda Improvement Union is re-organized in order to provide qualitative and effective leadership that is development conscious, especially, along the line of road construction. Constant synergy between the improvement union and the Local Government Area as well as the State Government will help bring pressure to bay on Governments to execute road projects, year-marked for Edda projects. Regular visits and discussions on the way forward, in achieving their goal target – breaking the jinx of road construction in Edda– would be achieved.
It is also recommended that roads through water logged area could be diverted or earth-filled, while those running through slippery steep areas should either be excavated or diverted. In rocky areas, explosives should be used to reduce such rocky heights. It is only when these are done, that cases of vehicle accidents on these roads would be reduced. (see figures below)
VII (a bus that crash-landed into the valley VIII (a car that could not survive the rocky nature
of Ebunwana-Ekoli road) of the road)
Again, prior to embarking on road constructions, adequate arrangements should be made between the indigenous people and construction firms in order to allow safe passage of their equipments, as well as ensure effective co-operation with indigenous land owners.
The dichotomy which had tended to stall development efforts in Edda should be discouraged through re-organizing the development unions, as already suggested, in order to achieve peace. This is because of the general fact that any community without peace, cannot move forward. Peaceful co-existence is, therefore, a sine qua non for effective and collective Edda progress in general, and road construction in particular.
There is also a view that government had simultaneously embarked on too many road construction projects, which of course stalled the efforts of road construction in Edda. In his assertion, Ugbo Irem (75 years) opined, “one road should be done and finished at a time, for attention would be channeled on that road. Instead of being distracted by too many uncompleted ones”5. Thus, it is hereby recommended that if embarking on too many road construction projects at a time had tended to stall the efforts of road construction in Edda, piece-meal fashion should rather be adopted. This will ensure that enough fund and personnel are mobilized within a period for a particular road project. Once the people are assured of the goodwill and sincerity of the powers that be, that in the long run, most of the roads would have been done, the feeling of marginalization ,inherent in this recommendation, would be reduced to the barest minimum.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, all road contracts on Edda should be adequately funded; as well as timely release of fund meant for such road contracts. This opinion was strongly supported by Ugbo Irem, saying “what Edda road need (sic) is adequate attention and fund. If the government wants to help us, they should release money and on time”6. In short, as the problems of Edda road revolve around its topography, so do almost all the recommendations rely on proper funding. For instance, enough fund is required; to invite Julius Berger construction company; to settle and compensate indigenous land owners, so as to ensure their full co-operation, in order to make use of their lands as a passage way, etc. To sum it up, it can be said that without adequate funding, Edda people will forever continue to dream of good roads and development; a dream that will never come true.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
In this work, attempts have been made at complementing previous works on Edda history and more importantly, delve into the intricate but touchy area, regarded as a Lacuna in the Edda history. This area is the challenges of Edda topography on road construction. Also in this work, attempts have been made in unraveling the mysteries behind the stagnation of Edda community, both economically, technologically, as well as all round development. This is evident, as at the time of writing, no single external investment as banking system is
found in Edda, as a whole.
In carrying out the research, heavy reliance was made on material information and data, derived largely from primary sources, such as the people’s oral tradition, archival material and oral interviews; while secondary sources was less relied upon. Therefore, it was necessary for thorough examination and evaluation of the materials available in order to ensure that they are in tune with the subject matter. In this bid, several site inspections, evaluative assessment of records on various attempts at road construction were made. Also, photographs of some of the challenges, such as road slides, land locked areas, denuded areas, as well as areas affected by weathering, in order to capture vividly, the effects on the people and their environment.
In order to ensure their correct perspective, there was a synergy of the people’s origin, settlement pattern, socio-economic activities, political setting, as well as the various attempts at road construction by the indigenous people and successive administrations during the pre-colonial, colonial and post colonial eras.
Also, success was made in identifying the challenges, which were, in one way or another, linked to the topography of the area. These challenges were identified, examined and x-rayed in order to ensure a balanced view of the situation at hand.
Arising from these extensive analyses of the events, recommendations were made that, if heeded to, are hoped will go a long way to bring relief and succor to the challenges and stagnation in the Edda, as a result of its topography. These recommendations have also been supported by Edda indigenes, to ensure effective all weather road construction.
Road Construction – Edda Topography Problems
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