By Atty Philip N. Wesseh (PNW)
When I heard that the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) was going to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County for its first congress, I was fraught with joy and happiness, not because of the venue, but no matter where the PUL decides to go, I would always be there as a member. Even though the cardinal reason for the Buchanan trip did not materialize because of a court order ordering the electoral process of the Union to stop, until a complaint filed by some of its members with the Civil Law Court is heard, I heard of this while en route to the congress and still decided to leave because of information over the issue of the writ. Because the information I received was not pleasant and may undermine the respect for the due process, I decided to move on to be a part of this process for the respect of the court.
Shortly, upon my arrival, the president had not acknowledged receipt of the writ. Therefore, I thought this was an opportunity, for everything to be done to receive the writ, even though the process was cancelled because of the court’s order, the signing of the writ for the sheriff’s returns was necessary. Fortunately, after few minutes, the sheriff returned and the president of the union, whose members were in high gear for the electoral process, Peter Quaqua signed the writ.
How-be-it, this article is not intended to dwell on the drama that characterized the electoral process because of the filing of complaint by some members of the union, as it was respectfully handled by the union, thus indicating its respect for the due process, as we all must respect the court, no matter our status in society or professional affiliation, as this is the last resort that all of us at times would seek to get redress for justice. Today, it could be someone else or an organization, tomorrow; it could be another organization or another person therefore there must always be respect for the due process.
As I stated earlier, my joy and happiness was based on the fact that this was an opportunity to drive on and also see the much-talked about Monrovia-Buchanan Highway, which was dedicated several months ago. The last time I drove on the road was when it was under construction and had not reached the prefabricated Bridge on the road. But this time around, I knew that I was going to drive on a completed paved road from Harbel to Buchanan.
Last Saturday, as I was driving on the road from Firestone Plantation, I, intuitively, knew that we were heading for a paved road as roads in the Firestone area have also been rehabilitated. And truly to the information that this was one of the best roads constructed by this government under the supervision of the Ministry of Public Works, then headed by Minister Kofi Woods, I noticed that indeed, this was one of the best. What impressed me was the construction of the new bridge, by-passing the old one, which I feel should have remained for tourism purposes. In the Buchanan City itself, it was very impressive, in that stopping points and sidewalks were considered to avoid traffic congestion.
Interestingly, building of roads, which is an important public asset for a country, is one thing and the benefit of building such a road is another thing. As it is said, “roads are important for development.” That is by constructing better roads, this would indeed enhance development. One research on road maintenance plainly states that “roads, and means of transport, make a crucial contribution to economic development and growth and bring important social benefits.”
On the other hand, the research went on to say that ”poorly maintained roads constrain mobility, significantly raise vehicle operating costs, increase accident rates and their associated human and property costs, and aggravate isolation, poverty, poor health, and illiteracy in rural communities.” In other words, by constructing roads, this brings about many benefits, regarding the growth and development of a nation and its people. This means that the citizens who are the beneficiary of such a project, should engage in projects that would also bring about development. This could be the construction of better homes, business centers and other in-coming generating facilities.
Today, the people of Grand Bassa County can vaingloriously brag of a paved road after many years of a deplorable road that caused them longer hours to travel, unnecessary repairs to their vehicles and hurdles in development project, but the million dollar question is this all the people of that county can boast of, or the development that would follow after such a paved road. Certainly, I say A BIG NO! With this project, the leadership of the county should begin to initiate projects that would add to the beauty of the road.
In the first place the leaders and people of the county should have ensured by now that the road leading to the Fair Ground, on which the Administrative Building of the county is situated, is paved too. It is sad to note that the main road of the county is paved and the roads leading to its political building is in a deplorable condition. This should have been the first challenge, to be followed by other roads, built many years ago that really need rehabilitation. The situation of the road can be likened to building a house outside, when in fact, the inside of the house is not good looking, as many who think upon viewing the beautiful look of the outside.
I take specific interest in the Buchanan Road because of maternal connection. Because my late mother was some one of the Bassa Ethnic group, I feel obligated to hail this project, and at the same time urge the leadership and people of the county to make use of this for their benefit and that of the country. With such a paved road, the enormous benefits should be exploited by the citizens. The road should not only be seen as something that has reduced the number of hours to get to Buchanan from Monrovia and also for the lifespan of vehicles, but mainly for other benefits that would obviously bring about growth and development, that would potentially improve the welfare and well-being of the people.
This road which is a pride of this county must be used to boost agricultural production, fishery, since the county is blessed with waters as well as the promotion of tourism and others. Additionally, the county should begin also to plant trees and landscape areas that are necessary to add beauty and look as people drive through such an important road that serves as a link to other counties like, my mother’s home, Rivercess and even Sinoe. I am concerned about beauty because my late mother, nicknamed, “Neepue,” which is also referred to by the Bassa people as “Marpue,” for her bright complexion, was a woman who admired beauty.
Lastly, the road should be maintained, as this is a major problem in this country, for which major structures and roads are left to ruin in deplorable condition. As research has shown, poorly maintained roads, cause “constrain mobility, significantly raise vehicle operating costs, increase accident rates and their associated human and property costs, and aggravate isolation, poverty, poor health, and illiteracy in rural communities.” Therefore, the issue of maintenance should be considered always to keep the road in good shape, to avoid the mistake of the past for which some roads are today in deplorable condition that make them impassable for vehicles. I Rest My Case.