By Loveday Chidi
“As government, we are aware that the task before us is to develop Abia and we know that it is indeed an enormous one. We will do our best within the confines of what our resources can achieve but we cannot achieve this without the support of the people. We will do one project after the other”.
The above is the statement of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who believes that development is a process which moves along a period of time and regimes; and patience and support of the people are essential for its actualization.
Some schools of thought believe that one major factor that led Aba to a situation of yawning infrastructure deficit was that since the inception of the present democratic dispensation in 1999 roads built by successive administrations were devoid of quality. They were not built to last and therefore turned out to be nine- day wonders. It could be true to some extent.
Aba, the commercial nerve center of Abia state has over 434 roads before the emergence of Ikpeazu as governor, and Ikpeazu was expected by his critics to reconstruct these roads at once.
Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu while campaigning to become the governor of Abia in 2015 had promised that as an Aba boy(Nwa Aba), he would rebuild the city if given the mandate.
He started cleaning the aegean stable during his first tenure but the decay was so massive that even when his administration said that it had built over 60 roads in Aba it was like a drop in the ocean.
However, ast road rehabilitation continues to spread around the commercial city, residents are beginning to appreciate the extent of work already done by the chief executive of Abia in making the city of elephant stand on its feet again.
Expectedly, the pressure is on the governor as an Ngwa man to turn around the ugly situation, but things are done one after the other. But because of the enormity of the task of clearing the city, the efforts so far made by the present government in fixing Aba seem unnoticed by the people especially or particularly those who vowed not to see good in the administration of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu and had gone down to the nooks and crannies of Aba, telling the people that ‘Nwa Aba ga aru Aba’ campaign of Governor Ikpeazu is only a fleece.
When Ikpeazu Kinetic Abia sprang up, when the ‘Baba’ in cement technology moved in action, the detractors seemed to halt for a lack of stone, the inferiority complex inherent in would always tell them to look for an invincible stone to add to their self instituted fences.
No wonder, the state commissioner for information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu had said, “In 2015, Dr Ikpeazu’s opponents made Aba roads the theme of their campaign and those of us who knew the man told them that “Nwa Aba will fix Aba.
“Today, they are now asking is it only roads? Not even minding that just recently America voted billions of dollars to fix roads and other infrastructure.
“Let me show you why they are now looking for rural roads to campaign on, as if Governor Ikpeazu should have fixed all Abia roads in 3 and half years. They probably don’t know that the Governor is fixing 10km of rural roads per LGA in addition to his “one ward one project” initiative.
“Kindly note that the same people who are now looking for bad rural roads to publish opposed the government’s plan to obtain a $200m AdDB facility to fix Abia rural roads and others.
“They traveled to far away Abidjan and visited the National Assembly many times, as well as all offices in Abuja involved in approving the facility for Abia and 10 other states”.
To put more confusion in their already confused camp, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu most recently, inaugurated 1.5 km Egege and 2.3 km Osusu roads in Aba with a promise to continually build roads that would outlive his tenure.
The governor had while inaugurating the road in Aba, said that the state government remained committed to building roads to make up the infrastructure deficit in Abia.
He said that the economic significance of the roads could not be overemphasized because of their contributions to the socio-economic development of the state.
According to him, by 2014 there was no inroad for people coming into the area from Akwa Ibom to perform commercial activities.
“The reason for these projects is to ventilate the city for easy flow of traffic in and out of Aba.
“Rigid pavement technology was chosen to ensure that we deliver roads that would not develop issues of perennial failure,” Ikpeazu said.
He said that Abia Government was desirous to deliver high quality infrastructure, saying that its development agenda was focused on transforming Aba into an investors’ haven.
Ikpeazu urged the people in the area to create a neighbourhood watch that would ensure that there would be no act of vandalism of the projects.
The political detractors who refused to come out from their confused state, instead of joining hands with the governor to build the state, insisted to toe an unpopular path to seek relevance through constant disparaging of the performing Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu.
But in all these, Governor Ikpeazu has always extended an olive branch to his detractors and those hell bent on refusing to see anything good in his administration.