By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
So many lives have been lost as a result of ghastly car accidents along the ever-busy Kaduna-Zaria Highway, but none has received much publicity as that which sniffed the lives of a Kaduna-based veteran journalist, Chief Dominic Uzu alongside four others.
Tributes have since been pouring in from several groups and individuals.
The avoidable deaths which were recorded on the cold morning of Tuesday, February 4, 2020, shook the entire length and breadth of Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.
Not that our estimated population estimate of over 200 million people will be diminished by their demise, because thousands by estimates ought to have been birthed same day, but the shocking realization that one great soul transited to the great beyond sent out sorrowful tears of loss of a man who has in no little measure, contributed immensely to the development of the country, using his ink to not only educate, enlighten and inform but to inspire hope to the hopeless in a nation that has been prioritizing the impossibilities instead of the practical necessities.
It is disheartening that his death and the other three could have been averted, if the ministry with the mandate to ensure our roads are not death traps did not deem it fit into as a matter of priority fill up the numerous pot holes on the highway even as it goes about its expansion and rehabilitation of the dual carriageway.
What would it have cost a country blessed with abundant resources needed for such priority life saving temporary measures to have embarked on filling those pot holes?
Nigeria does not import bitumen or the gravels needed for such an exercise, so what makes it difficult to acquire?
As a nation, we have to be proactive in preventing such calamities that bear far reaching irreversible consequences on our people.
Now what becomes of Chief Uzu’s widow and four children, now that the bread winner has been lost to the carelessness of a truck driver who by his own rights, was avoiding pot holes which by normal circumstances, shouldn’t have been there, if someone given the mandate, had taken the right initiative?
The family is left alone in the cold! Manner does not fall from heaven, schools don’t give a damn if the bread winner is no more, they need funds for smooth running, so how would the family fare?
The Nigeria Union of Journalist is not a money making enterprise and remain a incapacitated to take up scholarship of those innocent children left behind.
Now that another talented Nigerian has taken all his knowledge and training as a seasoned journalist to the grave, of whose benefit is it? Nigeria is once again the secondary loser, next to his family and the journalism profession.
It is high time the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Works reevaluates its priority and take immediate action in preventing such avoidable deaths. Dead men in their graves cannot in anyway contribute contribute to national development.
A stitch on time saves nine, a wise saying advises.
Farewell Chief Uzu, may your demise be a source of blessing to your immediate family, journalism and our country Nigeria.
Onjewu Dickson is the Online Editor of New Nigerian Newspapers. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or 08028332521