By Newman Ubani
Infrastructure refers to the fundamental facilities and systems serving a country, State, city, or other areas. These include the services and facilities necessary for a functional economy. Infrastructure also, comprises public and private physical improvements such as roads, bridges and water supply amongst others.
Excerpt: “THE RAINS ARE OVER AND WITH THE DRY SEASON DOMINATING OUR CLIMATE, IT IS HEARTWARMING TO KNOW THAT OUR CONTRACTORS HAS RETURNED TO SITES AND ARE SET TO DELIVER SOONEST.”
Road infrastructural panorama of Abia State stood the major area she has been very retrogressive and unlucky in development since its creation. This is due to neglects and lack of maintenance of existing road infrastructure, and non-construction of new roads by preceding governments after Late Sam Mbakwe of old Imo State. The effect of this misadministration affected the people’s livelihoods and brought an economic downturn as companies and potential investors fled the State in droves.
On assumption of office, the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu Ph.D, made road infrastructure a cardinal development enabler of his administration as good and quality infrastructure, especially road, drainage and bridge remains the engine or driving force of rapid economic growth.
On his first day in office as State Governor, Dr. Ikpeazu prioritised fixing the dilapidated roads in Abia State immediately. After being sworn-in on Friday, 29th May, 2015, he started with flagging-off constructions on Abia roads the preceding Monday.
Now, three years and still counting, the Governor has shown seriousness of purpose rather than what is usually referred to as “initial garagara”, that is, pretentious display at the initial stage. His commitment and resolve to make a difference in Abia roads has been noticed by all and sundry.
Perhaps, what could be seen as Ikpeazu’s selling point is road infrastructure, an enabler he sees as indispensable to the developmental pillars of his administration. The Governor introduced ‘Caterpillar Revolution’, a project aimed at reaching out to all nooks and crannies of Abia State. His ‘Caterpillar Revolution’ as it is called has affected all areas of the State, especially in Aba and its environs.
So far, not less than 64 roads has been constructed, reconstructed and rehabilitated – with most of them, done through cement pavement technology, a road construction technology he pioneered in Abia State. This technology gives guarantee that the roads would last for 25 years before requiring any major work, as they are being solidly built. Currently, 94 roads are under construction. Particularly, the Brass/Faulks/Ariaria/Ukwu Mango and Aba Roads in Umuahia, (which has defied construction by successive administrations in the State), has been tackled by Governor Ikpeazu.
The ugly story of Brass/Faulks/Ariaria (and especially, Ukwu Mango) axis has been legendary. This is because, it collapses during any rainy seasons not minding the gravity of work or attention
Governor Ikpeazu was able to realise the road by involving engineering experts, who did soil analysis to find out what the problems were and how best to tackle them. The engineers involved, took time to study the actual problem associated with the Ukwu Mango flooding and the entire Faulks Road. It was after the findings that it was discovered that Faulks road is located somewhere around a water body known as the Ifeobara basin. And it was also revealed that, the solutions to the perennial flooding in Faulks Road was among other things, to install a 6.8km drainage pipe to take water from the Ifeobara basin straight to waterside Aba. Dr Ikpeazu did not hesitate to comply with the advice from experts, hence the road project was realised.
Ikpeazu’s ‘Caterpillar Revolution’ has also extended to the Rural Roads Project which involves the construction of 10 kilometres of roads in each of the 17 Local Government Areas in the State. The Governor intervened in several federal roads such as Port Harcourt Road, Arochukwu Road and Aba Road as well as his intervention in construction of a new access road from Abia to Akwa Ibom.
It is on record that Abia State is probably one of the few States in Nigeria within its economic bracket that has three ‘Grade A’ contractors working simultaneously: the Arab Contractors in Umuahia, Setraco in Aba and Chinese contractors building the flyover at Osisioma interchange. The Governor approved construction for the Okunu and Nneato bridges and is delivering others too. The Osisioma flyover is on course and must be delivered for Abia people.
It is a well-known fact that Governor Ikpeazu is the only Governor in Nigeria that battled his election mandate in the Supreme court three times within three years of his tenure. If he could achieve all these in spite of obvious distractions, how much more when he is given another chance by Abia people? It is certain that he will perform even more and leave Abia much better than it was when he assumed office.
It is important for all to sustain the joy of good governance in Abia State, occasioned by many things including the good road networks brought about by Governor Ikpeazu. The simple way to support the Governor is by voting him once again in the 2019 elections. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is more determined to continue fixing the infrastructural challenges of the State and improve the economy for the benefit of all and sundry.