The state of roads from Gonu junction all the way to Agbokope through to Sukladzi and other adjoining communities in the South Tongu District of the Volta Region are in its deplorable state that, no vehicles can use during the raining season.
The nature of the roads is making lives of residents unbearable in the community thereby retarding the development of the Gonu enclave.
In a report put out by the Community Watch news crew of Metro TV Intercepted by Coverghana.com.gh saw in video deplorable state of the roads connecting the eighteen (18) communities of Gonu enclave, especially Gonu-Agbokope and Gonu-Sukladzi, a suburb of Sogakope in the South Tongu District.
The current state of the roads, according to reports and available records show that, education and businesses among many in the area have been largely affected and causing series of damage to the residents and the community.
The Assembly Member of Gonu-Agbokope Electoral Area Mr. Raphael Nani Dakpo, expressed worry and disappointment in key stakeholders within the District, previous govermment and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government for failing to construct the roads in Gonu communities as of now.
Describing the nature of the deplorable road situation, the Assembly member noted that, during the raining season, the roads become muddy, water lodged etc. thereby making it difficult for vehicles to use the roads to transport residents and their foodstuffs to and fro. According to him, any vehicle that try using the road will have to get stuck in mud.
Citing an example, he said, students from the University of Ghana, LEGON who visited the area recently to do some research had their vehicle stucked in the muddy water and have to be tolled out of the mud.
EFFECTS OF THE DEPLORABLE ROADS ON EDUCATION
Explaining the effects of the deplorable roads on education, Mr. Raphael Nani Dakpo said, during raining season, schools within the area are being cut-off from the living homes of students/pupils/learners by flooding water making them unable to access their schools.
According to authentic reports and evidence available, students and teachers in the Gonu communities occasionally abandoned school because they are unable to use the roads linking their various homes and the school compounds.
On the contrary, any student/pupil who wants to go to school during the raining season will either have to pass through the flooding water and muddy spots to school or choose to abandon school entirely.
The visit by the Community Watch news crew of Metro TV to the area soon after a heavy downpour confirmed that, students of Comboni R/C Primary and the Junior High School (JHS) at Gonu abandoned classes. They met empty classes on their arrival. This was mainly blamed on the nature of the roads.
The Assembly Member also noted that, sometimes, when it rains, schools have to be closed down for at least six (6) weeks which always interrupt the academic calendar of schools in the Electoral Area. He further disclosed that, students and teachers are also living in deplorable structures which need urgent attention by government. Some students also dropout of school because of the deplorable state of the roads. This revelations were also buttressed by the Head tecaher of Sukladzi D/A Basic School Mr. Frank Mammattah.
Meanwhile, the residents of the community who are result oriented have put up a temporal JHS block and kitchen to support the school’s feeding programme for effective academic works to take place.
The residents are therefore appealing to the stakeholders in the District, the Regional Minister Dr. Achibald Yao, president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s govermment among others to assist them put up a befitting classroom blocks and construct their roads for them.
EFFECTS OF THE DEPLORABLE ROADS ON BUSINESSES
Information picked also revealed that, the deplorable nature of the roads is affecting businesses in the area. Business tycoons are unable to carryout their business activities within the area. A few who started something eventually abandoned that along the line. Residents who manage to keep their small businesses (petty trading) booming are heavily hit by the bad state of the roads leading to collapse of their business.
Mr. Heckings Kwesi Glover, a concerned citizen of the area said, the community has a very vast land that can be use for productive investment especially agriculture purposes such as onion farming, tomatoes farming, sugarcane farming among many, but due to the deplorable roads, nobody is willing to venture into such agricultural activities.
He disclosed that, some investors visited the Gonu community and secured about 150 acres of land for onion farming but since they left, they couldn’t come back to start their farming because of the bad roads. The people lost many investors because of the nature of the road.
Mr. Heckings Kwesi Glover stressed that, students in the community are unable to use the roads to school, motorists who manage to use the road have to drop passengers including student on their way because they fear of being stuck in the muddy water.
He believes that, if the roads are fixed, students, community members and motorists will be relieved off the daily stress they go through while using the roads and investors will return to carryout their businesses.
SENTIMENTS OF SOME RESIDENTS
A resident of Gonu-Agbokope Mr. Mattey Wisdom Klutsey in an interview said “our worry here is our roads, even though we have some more serious issues, the roads are our major priority now. We feel that, the people of Agbokope Electoral Area have been ignored. During raining season, we face a lot of problems, sometimes, when our women are in labour and wanted to deliver, we are unable to transport them to the hospital. As a result, some women died through labour since we could not transport them to the Sogakope District Hospital and Richard Novati Comboni Hospital at the District capital in Sogakope.” He explained.
He further explained that, it appears they are not part of South Tongu District, Volta region and by extension Ghana at large because they have been totally ignored in term of developmental projects especially construction of roads.
He again said, “we vote massively during elections but when ever we share our problems with politicians, they only go and sleep on our problems.”
Suzy Tordomefla, on the other hand recounted the stress they go through on the roads to access Dabala market, Sogakope markets among others for a living. The people of Gonu appeals to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s government and the Minister for Roads and Highways to help fix the deplorable roads for them in order to improve their standards of living.
RESPONSE BY SOUTH TONGU DCE ON THE DEPLORABLE STATE OF GONU ROADS
The District Chief Executive Executive for South Tongu District Mr. Emmanuel Louis Agama addressing the issue said, the Gonu junction road to Agbokope through to Sukladzi is a dicey one, on the table of stakeholders with the District and beyond.
According to him, the problem was in existence before ex-president John Agyekum Kuffour came to power. Recounting past initiatives to address the road conditions in the area, Mr. Agama said, “I could remember those time, l was the assembly member for Sogakope Electoral Area. The issue came to the assembly and the then District Chief Executive (DCE) Hon. Kate Aku Aglah. lobbied for the road to be constructed.”
He noted that, they started the construction of the Gonu roads but unfortunately when the New Patriotic Party (NPP) govermment lost power in December 2008 general Elections to the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the contract was terminated. He added that, the NPP government started the construction of the roads but when NDC came into power, they did not do anything about it until NPP took power after the December 2016 elections. “When we came to power in 2016 and I was confirmed the DCE elect, the issue was brought to my attention for work to continue.” He said.
According to Emmanuel Louis Agama, the District Assembly could not construct the road due to insufficient funds in the assembly’s coffers. He noted that, though past management could not meet the plights of the people, the District Assembly under his leadership was able to award the contract to contractors to construct the roads for temporal use.
He hopes that, since Ghanaians have given President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo another four years tenure, the roads will be constructed before the end of the second term in office. This is because, Fider Roads Department in the Volta Region, Ho was approached, consultants were sent to the area to ascertain and survey the nature of the road for a proper planning and subsequently its construction.
He further said, his outfit has written letters and proposals to the Volta Regional Minister Dr. Achibald Yao Letsa and his response confirms that, the roads will be tackled. The DCE promised that, by the end of 2021, works on the Gonu-Agbokope roads among many will commence.
On the scale of preference, he has confirmed that, Gonu-Agbokope junction road through to Sukladzi is the worst in the entire South Tongu District. This, he is hopeful that, the road will be fixed sooner since President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has declared 2020 the year of roads construction before outbreak of Covid-19 which distorted adminitrative plans of the government.
GONU AS A COMMUNITY
Gonu is a compound name that comprises of eigteen (18) communities in South Tongu District of the Volta Region. The 18 communities include Gonu-Ahiatrogakofe, Negbenu, Adadzikofe, Havorkofe, Deykofe, Kwakuvikofe, Agbokofe, Kpota, Kojokofe, Gatikofe, Avedzikofe, Akpesekofe, Sukladzi, Abletorkofe, Tsinuto, Gborgblenukpo, and Ashiagborkofe and Agbokope.
Agbokope is the capital of Gonu. Gonu is a very strategic community because it joins/connects Keta and Anloga to South Tongu District. It has a very vast acres of land that can be used for commercial farming. The settlement of Gonu came as a result of their forefathers who settled there to fish and farm due to the presence of the water and fertile land. According to reports, they were the major suppliers of fish and foodstuffs to the people of South Tongu, part of Volta region and Ghana as a whole. But these tremendous contributions of the community have been trancated due to the deplorable roads. The Gonu communities have about 30,000 residents.
Watch the full video on the state of the roads and its effects on education and businesses among others as filmed by the Community Watch news crew of Metro TV.