Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, on Wednesday flagged off the reconstruction of the Umuahia-Uzuakoli-Abiriba-Ohafia road, a major corridor linking the state capital with some strategic communities in Abia North.
It was celebration all the way from Umuahia to Akara in Isuikwuato down to Abiriba, as Governor Otti and his entourage made the various stops to formally flag off work on the 67.6 kilometres stretch which is being handled by three different reputable construction companies.
Speaking at the various flag-off points, Governor Otti said his government was in a hurry to recover lost grounds, the reason the road is divided among three companies to undertake the reconstruction simultaneously.
The stretch from Umuahia end to Uzuakoli, about 22.6 kilometres, is being handled by Craneburg, while Isuikwuato to Abiriba, 22.5 kilometres, and Abiriba to Ohafia, 22.5 kilometres, are being handled by Ferotex Construction Company and CCECC, respectively.
The Governor said he wanted the project to be completed as quickly as possible and must be delivered to specification within the next 12 months, instead of the 18 months that the contractors had committed to in their contracts with the state’s ministry of works.
According to the Governor, his desire is for the people of Abia to drive on motorable roads, and be able to easily evacuate their farm produce from the hinterland areas to the towns.
“We want our people to move on roads that are motorable. We want people who are doing business in all the nooks and crannies of Abia to be able to evacuate their produce and come to the townships to sell them.
“We want all our leaders to feel free; those who live in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Aba, and all parts of the state to feel free to come back to their villages, spend time, spend money and stimulate the economy in the villages so that our people will also have a good life, that is how economy moves,” Governor Otti said.
The Governor said that the whole idea of embarking on the road project was to strategically open up the communities so that the citizens can begin to enjoy the good life, stressing that all his administration was doing was to make Abia truly number one, not just in alphabetical order but in terms of development.
“How can you be first when your roads from every nook and cranny are in serious dilapidation? How can you be first if your hospitals are now where people go to and don’t come out alive? How can you be first if your schools are in serious state of disrepair? How can you be first if your people cannot sleep with their two eyes closed? How can you be first if the environment is littered with gabage and any time you breathe, you breathe in foul air? So, those are the things we decided to deal with as quickly as we took over office and we are very intentional about them,” Governor noted.
The Governor thanked Abians for their support and implored them to discharge their civic responsibilities to the state by paying their taxes and other legitimate levies to enable government do more for them.
In his remarks, the Commissioner for Works, Engr. Otumchere Oti, disclosed that Section One of the road construction covers Umuahia to Uzuakoli, Section Two covers end of Uzuakoli to Abiriba while Section Three goes from Abiriba to Ohafia. He thanked the Governor for his commitment to ensure that all the nooks and crannies of the state receive government’s attention, with respect to road infrastructure.
The Commissioner said that the 67.6-kilometre road is to be reconstructed into a two-lane road with 1.5 meters concrete base asphaltic shoulders on both sides, adding that the contract includes repair of failed sections, construction of culverts and drainages as well as provision of street lights in built-up areas.
Engr. Oti encouraged the communities to cooperate with the contractors to enable them deliver the job on schedule.
In their speeches, the Mayors of Umuahia North LGA, Chief Victor Ikeji; Isuikwuato, Air Vice Marshall Young Onyeike (Rtd); and that of Ohafia, Chief David Ogba Onuoha, appreciated Governor Otti for being steadfast in his vision and noted that in less than one year the Governor has transformed Abia into a huge construction site.
They said that the flag-off of the road construction is a manifestation of the Governor’s love for the people of Abia and expressed the hope that the project would enhance the economic lives of the people.
The event attracted the presence of notable Abians and government officials including the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Kenneth Kalu; Senator Darlington Nwokocha, the deputy Speaker Abia House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Austin Okezie Nmeregini; some members of the state Executive Council, traditional rulers from the various communities, among others.
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
Government House, Umuahia
February 8, 2024