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Opinions of Friday, 9 November 2018

Columnist: Anna Esi Hanson

Funny country, governed by a funny system

It was lunch break, and so as we left site for the closest town, Agona Nkwanta, for lunch, all we did was fantasize about the meal ahead. As we hit the main road, we sat in anticipation. Moving further and further, our stomachs rumbled and churned at an increasing pace, and with increasing intensity. Until...

Further down the road, a long build-up of traffic was spotted, amid a thick mass of smoke. Alarmed and yet hopeful, devoid of any negativity, we drew closer, joining the trail of vehicles that had already built up. Curious, we got out, to realize that our dream would be almost squashed.

Ahead of us, about a 100m away was an accident between a tipper truck, and a Kia truck carrying a huge pile of logs. The vehicles were in a headlock with smoke emanating from one.

As a result of the collision, the road had been blocked. No vehicle could move, either to, or fro! Our joy died out immediately. Our reverie, crinkled. Of course, the hunger remained. Lingering with each swallow of saliva.

For a while, we sat in traffic since there was no way out. There was no alternative route to get to our destination. The queue kept building up. Passengers sat in wait, high and dry and frustrated. Several trucks sat in wait, with their loads, trailers, taking up more space. Those on the way for various pressing needs or assignments could only pray that the road cleared soon enough. Of course by who, no one knew.

In all this, one thing became clear. Western region had a serious problem in terms of road network. There were no major alternative routes linking Takoradi to the immediate and remote towns apart from the main routes. From Takoradi to Tarkwa and beyond, had no alternative route apart from the Agona Nkwanta route. In the event of any unforeseen occurrence or accident, as did that gloomy afternoon, the consequences would be unfathomable.

Eventually, people joined forces to clear the road off the pile of logs that had blocked the way for traffic to move. A portion of the road still had the accident vehicles in a head-lock.

And when everything was done, our gallant fire service showed up, siren blasting... As we moved further along, it was the turn of our police, who seemed in a hurry to exercise their mandate. The mandate, of which your guess, is as good as mine.

All we could do was to have a good laugh... At least, we still had some energy left to do that. I could only think of how crazy the system is, in this country.

Here I was in a city with a one-directional road network. In the event of any emergency, what would be the option?

Again here I was, having witnessed at first hand, the response time of the police and fire service to an accident scene. Even for the fire truck, accessing the scene of the accident seemed to be a hurdle since this very road, was not wide enough. Can you imagine what would have happened, had there been several casualties, requiring prompt or emergency medical attention? Sadly, one person perished. Hmm…

Did I fail to mention that this particular route was also an international route, linking Ghana to Cote D-'Ivoire and its immediate countries?

If I should start describing the nature and current state of roads and road networks within Sekondi-Takoradi, we would spend a decade. Governments have come and gone, and yet, things seem to only worsen. Of course, my fellow westerners seem to be in no hurry. My paddies are cool, chilling in the elusive Oil City!

I live in awe of the day there would be the unescapable reason to reconstruct the Takoradi-Agona Nkwanta stretch of road. Although I speak of western region, I speak not only of my region, or for my region. I speak of yours, and for yours, for such are your soliloquies.

But hey, what do I know? I live in a funny country, governed by a funny system.

Anna Esi Hanson (