You ‘found’ cash to fix lights, bridge only after riots; why wait till you are ‘forced’? – Government ‘bashed’
If solutions were viable, why wait for lives to be lost and tempers to rise before action is taken? This was a question posed by Private Legal Practitioner and NDC Member, Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo during discussions on Citi TV’s ‘Big Issue’ Saturday.
His question follows the recent deaths on the N4 Highway, particularly, the Madina-Adentan stretch and government’s swift response to the issue. Though he lauds government for their timely intervention through the provision of street lights, police personnel to control traffic and funds for the construction of 6 footbridges along that route; he is equally perplexed about the fact that processes were dragged till protests emerged.
“I think Government has also reacted with a bit of speed, given the measures that have been outlined but did we have to get to this point? That is the question everybody seems to ask. If the streetlights could be fixed the next day, if contracts could be given in a week and 6 contractors are supposed to do this work, then what was the problem, where was the excuse?”, he quizzed.
According to him, government ought to be keen about responding to the needs of the populace regardless of whatever ‘mess’ they inherited because they owe it to them. Shifting blame on the other hand he says, will do very little to change the fortunes of Ghanaians.
“At the end of the day, people have been voted into power to solve problems and this is what Akufo-Addo said when President Mills of blessed memory said that he had inherited [I say to President Mills today; if you say the system is broke, fix it!...excuses can never be a substitute for vision and purposeful action and can never lead to the better Ghana we were promised], that is the situation. When you are voted in power, you inherit both liabilities and assets, if the past government has failed to put up the bridges, you are now in power”, he said.
“We have a ministry for inner cities and Zongos, we have a road ministry. The problem and if you want to be very honest, the problem is a funding issue. The road fund has been cupped, it is not as if there’s no budget for this issue, it is a funding issue. Where are the funds? If the funds are not released to the technocrats, there is no way they can fix it but when the people demonstrated, the political authorities were forced to realise that they can no longer sleep on this issue, and therefore we have to find the money and so three ministers put their heads together one afternoon and were able to find the money, and within one day, the lights are back on, and within the week, the project is supposed to start”.
Government has revealed six contracts have been awarded to different companies to fast-track the construction of some six uncompleted footbridges on the N4 highway, streetlights have also been fixed and orders have been made for road markings and road signs to be fixed.
The action comes on the back of violent protests by residents of the Madina-Adentan area after an 18-year-old student was knocked and killed by a taxi driver on the highway on Thursday.
The first-year West African Secondary School (WASS) student was on her way to school when the unfortunate incident occurred sparking the riots that left motorist in traffic for hours.
Police put the death toll on the highway, this year alone, at 24 with 164 injuries.
Many months of protests by the residents for streetlights, road signs and the footbridges to be completed in order to save lives were ignored by government but the death of the female student was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
The residents in anger blocked the highway and burnt tyres to register their displeasure at the unnecessary deaths on the road.