Ikpeazu Has Changed the Abia Narrative

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Only those who want to play politics will not acknowledge that Abia State is on the fast lane of an all-round recovery, argues Enyinnaya Appolos

A visit to Abia of today will confirm that Abia’s narrative has changed from being a pariah and non working state to a massive construction site with visible infrastructural upgrade everywhere in the state.

At a recent media parley with the state governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, an Enugu based journalist, who incidentally hails from Arochukwu in Abia State, narrated his ordeal with members of his family while travelling home to Arochukwu seveb years ago, due to the deplorable state of the road which made them stay away from Arochukwu until December 2017 when they visited.

He testified to the fact that the Okobo (Ndi-Oji/Ndi-Okereke) bridge, has been constructed by the Ikpeazu administration, and thanked the governor for “taking away the nightmare of going to Arochukwu” from him and his family.

Speaking recently with an Abia online media platform, LivingTV, Chief Tony Ukasanya, one of those that opposed the election of Ikpeazu as govenor in 2015, has this to say about Ikpeazu’s achievements in Abia.

“I saw a lot of jobs that if I start counting including erosion control projects, it will take us a whole day or more.

“The man (Ikpeazu) has been able to complete 43 road projects, both new and rehabilitated in the state. It’s on ground for anyone to see, anyone in doubt. These projects are on ground, not on television, not in newspapers.”

Ukasoanya, by this narrative, has addressed the propaganda started by a certain politician in the state who claimed that Ikpeazu projects exist only on social media.

Speaking further, Ukasoanya said: “The most interesting of all the projects was that of Faulks Road that the governor has dualised. Before getting to the terminal point of that road, you have a place popularly called Ukwu Mango or the traditional name, Ifeobara.

“I have witnessed the commissioning of that road by some former governors four times. And the road failed each time there was rain after the commissioning. I know the road was shut down for a number of years under the former governors. And that road is very important to the economy of Aba. It is a lead road into Ariaria Market and other markets in Aba.”

From Arochukwu bridge to Nkporo Road to Abiriba ring road, to Nkpa Road, to Eluama Road in Isiukwuato, Abians are at home with him and the new positive Abia narrative.

The quality of work along Aba Road in Umuahia, even made some to doubt the job is a state government project. You won’t blame them because for the first time in the history of Abia, the state government has engaged three Gtade A contractors, who are working at the same time in the state. Arab Contractors on Aba Road in Umuahia, Setraco on Faulks and Port Harcourt Roads in Aba and the Chinese Construction Firm working on the Osisioma Flyover.

For 16 years, past administrations in Abia failed to address the flooding issues at Ifeobara (Ukwu-Mango) and around Faulks Road area. The annual flooding affected the Ariaria international market to the extent that traders in the market abandoned their shops, and practically stayed at home every rainy season.

Faulks Road, from Brass Junction of Aba-Owere Road to Enugu-Port Harcourt Highway, was in such a deplorable state that no vehicle or truck could access the road.

But as at today, the road is 80 per cent completed. Setraco is on site, with a promise to deliver the 4.6km dualized Faulks road by next month-April.

To find a lasting solution to the perennial flooding problem around Ariaria and Ukwa-Mango, which spills over to other parts of Aba, including Ndiegoro, the Ifeobara Pond has been expanded to take more storm water, with a pomp pumping intermittently to takeaway storm waters from the pond through a 6.4km underground pipe, which the engineers from the Netherlands fixed, to the Aba River (Waterside).

To reopen Ariaria again for business, the Ikpeazu government is currently re-asphalting all internal roads in the market. While Faulks Road is almost done, MCC-Samek is also at 80 per cent completion. RockWaters Construction firm, one of the best indigenous Construction firms currently working in Abia, has completed the MCC end of the road while stone-basing the Samek end that terminates at Faulks Road close to Ariaria.

Also, work is ongoing on Osusu Road that also terminates at Faulks, linking Ariaria with other majors makers like cemetery and Ekeoha. Work is ongoing at Eziukwu Road which terminates at Okigwe Road linking Faulks Road and Azikiwe Road. Sixteen years after it was completed, it was not in use due to its unmotorable state, Port Harcourt Road, from Number 1 Asa Road to Asannentu by Enugu-Port Harcourt Highway has been reopened by Okezie Ikpeazu. Setraco is also on site on the road that will finish with 6 lanes.

One significant thing about reopening Port Harcourt Road is that Ikpeazu has reopened fabrication factories that were forced to close for over 10 years. Again, life has returned to the ever busy area.

Aba-Owere Road from Railway Crossing to Osisioma is getting attention, as the road is being expanded by Track-Care Construction, another indigenous firm. Also, Track-Care is expanding and dualizing Ururuka Road from Obikabia junction to Umuobiakwa.

I should not forget to mention that so far, the following roads have been completely reconstructed with drainage on both sides, and commissioned for use by the governor.

They are: Omeni Drive, Seventh-day Adventist Close off Udeagbala Road, Kamalu Street, Chima Nwafo Road, MCC Road, Umuehilegbu Road (erroneously called Tonimas) Umule Road, Umuocham Road, Umuatako, Owere road off Okigwe road, Ochefu Road off Azikiwe Road, Weeks Street off Ochefu Road, Owerenta Street off Ochefu Road, Ukaegbu Road, umuola road, Ehere Road, Ovom street off Ikot Ekpene Road.

At the popular Ama-Nmoho area off Ngwa Road in Aba, the following streets have been done; Aharandu Street, Emejiaka Street, Ibadan street and Victoria street. Let me note here that Okezie Ikpeazu is the first governor in the history of Abia to fix a road at the Ama-Nmoho area off Ngwa Road. I didn’t forget to tell you that Ibere Road which will terminate at Port Harcourt Road is ongoing too.

History will also remember that Okezie Ikpeazu is the first governor in Abia to construct the first ever state road in Ugwunagbo LGA of the state. The Asa-Umunka road that terminates at the council headquarters in Ugwunagbo has been completed. This road is among the 10km road per each LGA in the state which the Ikpeazu administration started in 2017.

Other roads in the 10km per LGA which are still ongoing include, Umunkpei-Umuehim Road in Isialangwa South, Ntigha-Nsirimo in Isialangwa North/Umuahia South, Umuocheala-Ihie Road, Isialangwa Ngwa South/Isialangwa North, Owerenta-Mbutu Road in Isialangwa South is completed.

Because the federal government’s contractor on Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road has abandoned the road, making life difficult and unbearable for traders who come to trade in Aba from Akwa-Ibom state, Cross River State and Cameroon, the Ikpeazu administration decided to construct two alternative roads into Aba through Ururuka road, bypassing the FG abandoned Aba-Ikot-Ekpene Road. The roads are the Owo-Onicha Ngwa Road and Ekwereazu-Nto Edino road, both roads are over 70 per cent completion.

The opposition in Abia are aware of these facts, they know, but chose to lie because they want to play politics. The Ikpeazu administration will not play politics with development of the state.

At the beginning of his tenure Ikpeazu said that he would not complain about the things which previous administrations failed to do, but that he would do what he could to reopen and reposition Abia.

At a recent meeting with some journalists, he said: “From the onset we had a proper understanding of our job, proper description of our assignment and we went for the job immediately.

“Certainly we have not done everything but am pleased and happy that we are on course. We will not dwell in complaints of what the past administrations failed to do, we are here now to do what we can to improve the life of Abians by providing leadership that is people oriented and democracy dividends to our people.

“My work will speak for me. I am focused on that assignment and will continue to work. We are not election politicians, we are politicians that are concerned with the delivery of democracy dividends. In fact if it were possible to find me on project site on that election day, you will find me on site. Let the people judge for themselves.”

According to the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, Ikpeazu is a silent achiever and a performer. Secondus wondered how Ikpeazu is doing so much with little in terms of revenue. He spoke when he led the NWC of the party on a tour of projects in Abia State.

His words: “Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is a silent achiever, and a performer. This man has achieved the best for his people.

“We went on tour to various projects done by Abia State Government. My surprise is that Abia State is one of the states that get the least revenue, but with the number of projects I have seen today it is overwhelming. Which means that the governor is working. He has performed very well and prudently too. Abia governor is a silent achiever and he has achieved so much for his people. He has delivered the desired goals through projects.”

Politics aside, Ikpeazu, in less than three years, has surpassed previous records. He has unarguably changed the Abia narrative.

• Appolos, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, wrote in from Umuahia

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The opposition in Abia are aware of these facts, they know, but chose to lie because they want to play politics. The Ikpeazu administration will not play politics with development of the state.