-OSELOKA. H OBAZE by francis okoye
A 3 times secretary to state government of Anambra state, author ,seasoned administrator and former gubernational candidate in Anambra State, Hon Mr. oseloka H. Obaze has described Nigeria as a grave yard for abandoned and uncompleted infrastructure.
He said this while presenting a paper titled infrastructural development: A panacea for economic and social well being at the Nigeria institute of Architects (NIA) Anambra state chapter 2016 conference at Emmaus House, Awka.
According to Hon obaze, the biggest challenge we have in our infrastructure is three fold :open sewers, a stinking environment resulting from open defecation due to death of public conveniences and negligence of the rights of the handicapped. Today Nigeria ranks fourth in the highest number of people defecating in the open, trailing india (190 million) Indonesia (54 million) Pakistan (41 million) and Nigeria (39 million)
Common sense as well as expert opinion informs us that public buildings should be accessible and barriers free to able and disable people’’ yet as a nation ,we rank very low in proving access to public and private buildings for the handicapped persons who comprise some 18% of our national populations .In a 2006 study of 164 public buildings (in Nigeria) only 40 had access ramps and at entrance ,only 45 buildings (18%) are with ramps and steps for access to able and disable people.
In the paper, he explained that our national infrastructures are decrepit and crumbing. Think of the Enugu Onitsha express way or the old road, our airport and national railway: think of national electric power grid, the national grid recorded eight system collapses in one month in 2015, resulting in national power outages. And think of our ill-maintained public housing and schools across the federation.
He recalled the 2012 flooding that wreaked great heroic on business in Onitsha industrial Harbor layout, with damages of N26 billion-till date they are no discernible embankment infrastructure put in place to stop flooding reoccurrence, while the flood embankment at Onitsha main market built by the colonial masters in 1950’s sufficiently prevented the 2012 rising flood from surging into the market.
On the fifteen core in infrastructural areas, only one ,creating of free trade zones and industrial parks, could be said to be exclusive preserve of government, because they entail legislation.
Government according to him is suppose to make laws regulating sectors in which we must build critical infrastructure, but professionals have a role to play in upholding extant laws.
Collapsed building, bridges or road ways are indicative of structural failure, as well as the collective failure of our mind set as a society. The same goes for our pothole-ridden roads and streets across the nation,he observed.