Two weeks ago, I was returning to Ho at about 5pm and chanced upon an accident at Asikuma junction. Two fully loaded articulated trucks had overturned. Both trucks about 20metres apart, lay sideways by the road, and with some assistance from some locals who unload timber from one of the trucks.
A junction I passed through barely 2hours ago to Akosombo and with no sign of accident.
Unknown to most of us, Asikuma junction has become one unsafe spots that since I realized it, I am almost always filled with trepidation, and just as I always do when traveling along the route; praying that commuters are able to move by the junction unscathed.
So far, it is by God’s grace that nothing more disastrous had been witnessed as the possibility for such trucks to ram into other vehicles, creating a catastrophe is so high. That clears the doubt that not only a single articulated truck head has been lying down at the junction all this while.
The accidents which eye witnesses describe as a weekly occurrence is due to the fact that the constructed portion of the Eastern Corridor road has neither road signs nor speed ramps. The situation is also exacerbated by the absence of the contractor on the road – no other form of alert.
For instance, between Peki and Asikuma junction lays a curve which is less than 1km to the main Ho – Accra highway. The fully loaded trucks whose drivers appear unfamiliar with the road are able to overcome the curve with speed but not the junction hurdle.
Almost always, at the sight of the main junction, the only option left is to safely steer to hit the Ho – Accra road which hardly is successful because of the quantum of load in the trailer, always forcing the trucks to overturn to the side of the road, thankfully not crushing into oncoming cars.
Observing the two separate accidents which I chanced upon, it looked obvious that as the first truck failed to successfully maneuver onto the Accra direction of the road, the other one also tried his luck in the Ho direction but couldn’t also succeed.
According to the eye witnesses, since the inception of these avoidable accidents nearly 2 years ago, only one articulated truck had survived the danger, that witnessing wild jubilation and the driver being powdered. But the question one would like to ask is till when? That we await a disaster much more than the weekly ones at Asikuma junction before taking action?
President Akufo Addo, we were told has approved and ordered the release of funds to implement an action plan compiled by Ministers of Interior, Transport and Roads to deal with the upsurge of road accidents in the country. The three-pronged approach involves Education, Enforcement and Engineering. Is this one too going to be one of those usual things we are fed? PR? Talk Only?
Sadly, it is not only about unavailability of road signs on the improved sections of the road, it has also to do with un-motor-able nature of other sections which is having a toll on vehicles plying the road thereby increasing the cost of transport as well as aiding criminal activities.
In October 2017, I journeyed from Accra – Brewaniase in the Nkwanta South District to join an MP friend in a program. I have not done that full journey in a while particularly so because Nkwanta is like a second home, a place I did my National service and worked for some years.
Aboard 2 different vehicles, I heard unsolicited accounts of robbery cases. The first one was at the Police check point near South Dayi District Assembly, Kpeve, as our car meanders its way through the bad road from Peki Adzokoe, an elderly co-passenger pointed to a spot near the check point where a Kia truck full of yam had overturned as a spot he said a robbery occurred 3 days ago at about 9pm and that the police patrol team only surfaced after the robbery.
The other account was on the Hohoe – Nkwanta road when a Policeman in a distance scampered out onto the road from a nearby bush around Bueman [Jasikan] SHS, flagging down our car.
His action got a female passenger fuming that “…you are not prepared to combat armed robbery but here on the road demanding money from drivers.” Her comment attracted the support of others but quieted as the Policeman drew closer to the side of the driver for the obvious.
Less than five minutes’ drive from where the Police flagged us down was a dangerous spot that a vehicle requires time to overcome, that spot, according to the lady who fumed is a robbery zone and the latest was just the night before. Per her narration, passengers suffer all kinds of attacks including armed ones and the option that bandits quietly climb onto loaded but moving vehicles to untie, drop personal belongings and food stuff.
This engaged my mind for a while and I was left asking myself what the crime of the people is? The Eastern corridor road, the NPP in opposition said they will fix much better than the NDC.
There is a picture that I hardly forget – John Peter Amewu from Hohoe and Joseph Booker Denteh from Shaire, near Nkwanta, either by design, both sitting on the Eastern corridor road for the shot and on behalf of candidate Akufo Addo promising Ghanaians a much better road.
After they got the power, their tunes dramatically changed including one that Volta Region produces no cocoa to benefit from Cocoa Road projects, leaving the road in such a terrible state.
As if that is not enough, it has emerged that portions of the $1.3billion cocoa syndicated loan Government sourced for the 2017/2018 crop season was used on free SHS, leaving Government with no option but to credit cocoa beans from farmers. Since January, many farmers who tendered in their produce are unpaid. It is all stories from the local produce buyers.
The saddest part is that persons including clerics, chiefs who criticized President Mahama over matters such as poor roads, access to potable water, livelihood etc are today grinning from ear to ear as though there are no challenges confronting the very people they are representing.
The situation is dire today. Potable water is more than lacking, health and educational facilities are needed, roads are requiring urgent attention. Suhum – Nsawam dual carriageway due to lack of funds saw only one lane fixed but has been witnessing unreasonable accidents and deaths.
That the other lane of the road is badly needed to eliminate the countless accidents cannot be over emphasized. I do not want to believe that all the people including chiefs who were on President John Mahama’s neck to fix the road did so just to satisfy a parochial interest.
I am sure they mean well. They must join us to get Government to for once prioritize important but challenge associated roads, particularly, the abandoned Eastern Corridor and Suhum – Nsawam dual carriageway for fixing.
For President Akufo Addo, I doubt if he remembers this favorite quote of his in opposition that “God did not put us on this rich land to be poor. It is bad leadership that makes us poor.”
Today, it is much worse than bad leadership. The only thing he could do best is scripting and reading nice speeches. The outcome of asking to be tried as President.
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