The Abia State governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has promised to take advantage of the coming dry season to fix up major roads in Aba, the commercial city of the State.
This is even as the Governor charged the Federal Ministry of Works to hasten up completing road projects linking Abia and her neighboring States.
Mr. Ikpeazu, who assured that important roads in Aba, like Eziukwu, Cemetery, Ozuomba and Azikiwe Road will get fixed by his administration, revealed that his money had been paid to asphalt one lane of the deplorable Port Harcourt Road, and that the government will release additional funds for the second lane asphalt with drainage system.
Ikpeazu made the statement in Aba, while addressing newsmen on the condition of roads in the city and the way forward. The governor said “there is a plot to isolate Aba”, despite being the commercial nerve center of Southeast.
In his words; “if you can let me and my people receive visitors and patrons from neighbouring states who come to buy our goods, what you’re doing is to isolate my people.”
“At some point, I began to feel that there is a conspiracy to stagnant the economic life wire of a state like Abia. Quickly take your mind back to 2014, which road would have used to Ikot-Ekpene?
“You’re in Aba you can’t go to Ikot-Ekpene, Port Harcourt and Enugu. You’re in Umuahia, you can’t go to Ikot-Ekpene. So, we’re supposed to have been isolated as people living in Siberia and left to die?
Ikpeazu said that It took the wisdom of his government to open up an alternative route that now brings people from Akwa-Ibom State to Aba who constitute 60% of Aba’s clientele into the city.
“Cut off that alternative route, you cut off oxygen from this city and everybody will start crying. At a point, I threatened to roll out machines to get the road from Aba to Port Harcourt fixed because of how important it is.
“Our people who go to the Oil Mill Market in Port Harcourt cannot go again. Anybody who goes from Aba to Port Harcourt cannot come back that same day.”
The governor said that it is worrisome that contractor mobilized by the Federal Ministry of Works stopped the state government from reconstructing the Old Aba-Owerri Road, but has refused to work on the same road.
“I mobilized a contractor for N3 billion to do the Old Aba-Owerri Road (Ekeakpara Road). The idea was to do the first three kilometres with rigid pavement technology from Osisioma Junction to the NNPC Depot because of the heavy-duty vehicles that stay there.
“Then the rest of the road will be done normal very well too down to Umuikaa. Midway to that project, somebody came that he had a contract to do that road from the Federal Government. And up till today, nothing has been done.
“We’ve written more than six letters on that. Our plans on that road were better and more cost-effective yet nothing is coming out of it. We left to avoid litigation from their contractor, but they’ve refused to do anything.
“You wouldn’t do the work, you wouldn’t let me do the work, so you want to create a Siberia here. However, as I heard in South Africa, we’re the children of those who refused to die.
“I’ll keep pushing for the interest of our people. And let me say that if that NNPC Depot stops working, the entire South-East not just Abia will suffer from the supply of petroleum products.”