Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The prospects to enhance the economic activities have been brightened for communities in Abia State North, as the state Governor, Alex Otti, yesterday flagged off the reconstruction of the 67.6km Umuahia-Uzuakoli- Akara-Ohafia road.
The strategic road linking the state capital to the Abia North senatorial zone of the state traverses four local government areas – Umuahia North, Bende, Isuikwuato and Ohafia – has never been reconstructed since after the second republic.
Otti said the time come to recover the lost grounds in infrastructure development after decades of neglect by past governments.
At the three points of flag-off, crowds of people gathered to express their happiness over the new turn of events, while motorists and commuters passing on the ever busy road waved frantically in appreciation.
The governor explained that he split the stretch of road into three sections with different construction firms working simultaneously on each section in order to quicken the completion date.
From Umuahia end to Uzuakoli, which is about 22.6km, would be done by Craneburg with Ferotex Construction Company working on 22.5km Isuikwuato to Abiriba section, while China Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) got the 22.5 km Abiriba to Ohafia portion.
Otti reiterated that: “We are committed to our promise to fix Abia State economy in order to wipe away our tears of several decades shed due to dilapidated of physical infrastructure.”
He made it clear to the contractors that he would like the road project to be ready in 12 months as against the contract duration of 18 months, adding that the road would be dualised.
Alluding to the economic importance of reconstructing the road which leads to the food belt of the state, Otti stated that he was desirous of giving Abians motorable roads across the state.
This, he said, would make it easy to evacuate farm produce from the hinterlands to the urban areas thereby boosting the rural economy.
The governor acknowledged that the rising inflation rate has made it “more difficult to achieve anything” in terms of infrastructural projects.
“But we are going to do our best,” he assured Abians, adding that “this is just the beginning” as his administration is committed to holistic transformation of the state.
“We want our people to move on roads that are motorable. We want the people who are doing business in every nook and cranny of Abia State to be able to evacuate their produce and come to the townships to sell them.”
Otti further stated that he was rebuilding the state because “we want all our leaders to feel free to return home with their money and stimulate their village economies.”
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Works, Otumchere Oti, said the 67.6km road would become dualised with 1.5 meter shoulders on both sides.
He said that construction of culverts and drainages as well as provision of street lights in built-up areas were included as components of the road project.
The Mayors of Umuahia North, Chief Victor Ikeji; Isuikwuato, Air Vice Marshall Young Onyeike (rtd), and Ohafia, Chief David Ogba Onuoha, whose local government areas are connected by the road, commended Otti for his vision of transforming Abia State.