From Aloysius Attah, Onitsha

A flurry of reactions has trailed the viral video which circulated on Monday night about a portion of the Ochanja Iweka road project which reportedly washed away after a downpour.

The narrative attached to the video was that the road was poorly done and hastily inaugurated by the Soludo-led Anambra government.

The video has been debunked and the records were put straight on Tuesday when reporters accosted government representatives and the contractor handling the project at the site.

Ifeanyi Okoma, Commissioner for Works in Anambra, said the video was the handiwork of “detractors”.

Christian Aburime, Press Secretary to Soludo, clarified that the road has not been inaugurated by the governor contrary to the claim in the video.

Aburime said heavy rainfall on Monday impacted only a small section of the Ochanja-Iweka road that is currently under construction.

He said the online mob, fuelled by incomplete information and unchecked biases, launched into a frenzy of outrage.

“Yet, as the dust settled, the truth emerged: the video was misleading footage, a capture of half-truths and misrepresentations”.

“What transpired was not an exposure of government negligence or incompetence, but rather a proof of the dangers of a single story. The road in question was neither poorly constructed nor has it been commissioned as alleged. It was a case of misinterpretation, fuelled by the insidious spread of fake news because the road is still under construction.

“In reality, the alleged damage to the road was a mere consequence of inclement rainfall and construction procedures,” Aburime stated.

But not done yet over the anger of misrepresentation in the viral video, traders at Ochanja market and residents of the Fegge community within the area of the construction site staged a solidarity rally yesterday for Chukwuma Soludo, governor of the state.

The traders and residents carried placards with various inscriptions to protest against those they described as desperate politicians attempting to discredit the works of Soludo in Ochanja.

Speaking during the protest, Okwudili Obinwanne, leader of the traders, said they were out to show support for the governor over what he is doing in Onitsha, Ochanja and Anambra as a whole.

Obinwanne said the contractor had only put the initial layer of asphalt on the road when the rain fell and washed it away.

He added that the road was in a poor state before Soludo came into office.

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“For over four decades, subsequent governments have come and gone (including this opposition government) without thinking of reconstructing or doing any meaningful palliative on the Ochanja road. Before now, the road was one dusty and cratered stretch that never crossed the previous governors’ minds,” he said.

Obinwanne said they are protesting against the antics of desperate politicians who are sparing no effort in an attempt to discredit the good work that Governor Soludo is doing in Ochanja, Onitsha and Anambra State as a whole.

He said that as far as they are concerned nothing is wrong with the road.

“The contractor was putting the initial layer of asphalt on the road when the very first major rain in Anambra fell with the attendant flood unseating the hot asphalt that is yet to settle on the stone base and cement stabilization components that had earlier been compacted on the stretch of road.

Chief Obinwanne disclosed that for over four decades, subsequent governments have come and gone without thinking of reconstructing or doing any meaningful palliative on the Ochanja road.

“Before now, the road was one dusty and cratered stretch that never crossed the previous governor’s mind. But within two years of Soludo’s administration, our story changed in a manner that beat our imagination. More so, the quality of the roads is of a high standard with street lights to match.”

The Chairman said the people will not tolerate any politician who dares to play dirty politics with their welfare.

Mrs Imelda Akunobi from Fegge said that since 1999, no governor has remembered the road until Governor Soludo came in. A retired teacher, she recalled how harrowing it was going to work through that road.

“We carried spare shoes and dresses to change when we get to school because of how bad the road was before now,” she said.

Another prominent orange merchant in the market, Mrs Eucharia Chukwuma (alias nwanyi Achalla) said Solution is a game changer. She said that flood water used to carry children when there was rain but all that has become history.

The excited market women sang the praises of Governor Soludo as they matched up and down the Ochanja road under construction.

Still reflecting on the distorted viral video, Aburime said the incident serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of critical thinking and responsible journalism.

“In an era where information is disseminated at the speed of light, we must exercise caution and discernment. We cannot afford to be passive consumers and spreaders of information, blindly accepting the narratives thrust upon us. As Nigerians, we bear a collective responsibility to combat the scourge of fake news.

We must question the sources of videos, scrutinise the validity of claims, and demand accountability from those who seek to deceive us. We must resist the allure of the single story and embrace the objectivity of the world around us.

This also applies to political rivals in Anambra State who are subjective single-storytellers, intentionally reinforcing false narratives against the leadership of Governor Soludo just to score cheap points. The dangers of a single story are manifold, but so too are the opportunities for enlightenment and understanding,” he said.