A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, paved or otherwise improved to allow traveling through motor vehicle or horse as in the pre-colonial times. Roads that are available for use by the public may be referred to as public roads or highways.
But nowadays, the private sectors are beginning to take interest in the construction of roads and that explains the proliferation of many state of the art roads in developed countries including some developing ones in Africa.
Most roads being constructed by the private sectors serve the purpose of traveling and tourist attractions at the same time.But roads are best enjoyed when they satisfy the safety condition of the users through adequate maintenance in accordance with expected service life or design life.
Maintenance is considered in the whole life cost of the road with service at 10, 20 or 30 year milestones. When a road pavement fails before its intended design life, the owner may have excessive repair and rehabilitation costs. Some asphalt pavements are designed as perpetual pavements with an expected structural life in excess of 50 years.
But in Nigeria these varied conditions have not been met until 2011 when the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan took it upon itself to transform the ugly trend.Only in the colonial times were some of these technical natures of roads ever given attention. Since the military years in the history of Nigeria until recently, what was paramount and which became the determining factor in road constructions were the amount of money accruable to private pockets.
That accounts for the reason why many roads like the Benin-Ore-Shagamu road remained in permanent bad condition for a very long time. No one took into cognizance the import of the quality or effect on the motoring public.
For many years the Benin-Ore-Shagamu road was haphazardly repaired and for that reason,it never served the purpose until the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan intervened to give it a deserving technical attention.Road transportation is the most preferred mode of transportation in Nigeria, as it estimates for 98.5% of the nation's passengers and freight services. Different adjectives like bad, death-trap, valleys of death, impassable, potholes, have been variously associated with roads in Nigeria in the past.
Because of the importance of roads to our economy, hoodlums took advantage of its previously ugly trend to frequently lay ambush to collect millions of naira from businessmen, many of them who are traders going to purchase their goods. Thousands of them have lost their lives between the early nineties and until 2011 when confidence in road transportation resumed.
The axis between Mokwa and Jebba was one notorious point for armed banditry because the road was previously in horrible condition as motorists have to slow down and sometimes park their vehicles. One cannot forget the Enugu-Port Harcourt road which was regularly used by traders, especially those going to Port Harcourt or returning to Aba.
The Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomosho road is another good story of the current administration's position on transformation. In the past, the road used to be one single lane which saw high volume of traffic from Lagos and South-West moving in droves to the North even at night just like in the daytime.
About ten years ago, a student once described this road as the busiest in Africa. Bandits as well took advantage of this flourish to unleash mayhem on the innocent motorists. With the dualization of an alternative Ibadan-Oyo-Ogbomosho road, with two sections already in use, robbers who wish to mount road blocks mostly do so at their own peril as traffic is fast and security conveniently patrolling both ways. The Lokoja axis of the Abuja-Lokoja-Okene and Abuja-Lokoja-Obollo Afor-9th Mile has its own story of frequent attacks because of the bad condition especially between 1999 and 2011. Because these roads were in very deplorable condition, security operatives had tough times checking the excesses of hoodlums. Today, it is doubtful whether Nigerians realize how much contribution the new condition of roads have helped the fight against crime by the security agencies.
Strongly the Federal Government should be commended for the reconstruction and expansion of Lagos-Ibadan expressways.