There have been three excuses from the current administration in Abia State led by Okezie Ikpeazu on why the state roads are dilapidated and practically inaccessible for both vehicular and human movements.
Since 2015, the three major excuses have been the paucity of funds, the level of decay on the ground when he took over and constant rainfall that, Abia witness which is not different from other states within the rain forest zone.
However, on many occasions that the Abia State government has repeatedly said that funding is not a problem in some projects, the rain will be the only excuse for such projects.
A few days ago, Governor Ikpeazu told Abia people that he has fully paid for the full asphalting of at least one lane of the proposed six lanes and is now reduced to four lanes on Port Harcourt Road.
He also confirmed that he has fully mobilized the contractor handling the ABSUTH Road where the state’s biggest hospital, Abia State University Teaching Hospital (ABSUTH) is located. Another Road is Aba-Owerri Road which is still under Ikpeazu’s ongoing projects.
Other roads he said he has mobilized contractors to go back into included: Omuma Road and the embarrassing situation at the 4.7km Faulks Road constructed with N6.8 billion which collapsed within a year and will now require another N2 billion to fix.
News Echo moved around all these listed roads that Abia government is responsible for the full payment of their reconstruction and confirmed that works are ongoing in all of them except Eziukwu/Cemetery Road that looks practically abandoned.
However, News Echo can confirm that all the ongoing road reconstruction projects under the Nigeria Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) projects are moving faster than that of the state government.
The roads under NEWMAP projects included Ngwa Road down to Orji Uzor-Kalu Bridge at the Aba River, Agu Road, Obohia Road and Ohanku Road.
Other adjoining streets within Ndiegoro that are feeling the presence of NEWMAP construction included, Ogwo Road, Item Street, Awkuzu Street, Mbaise Street and Dikenafai Street.
News Echo also visited some of the roads that the government announced it will execute like Azikiwe and Ehi Road. The situation in Ehi Road shows that no work is ongoing there.
While on that of the Azikiwe Road shows a little sign of work as the engineers have only succeeded in escalating the old demarcation on the dual carriage road built far back in the 80s by Late Governor Sam Mbakwe.
Work is also ongoing at the seven years old Osisioma Flyover, as well as the Ekeakpara Road that connects the NNPC Mega Station and other major industries around the Osisioma Ngwa Industrial zone.
Some residents who spoke to News Echo said that they are seeing this dry season period as the last chance Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has to correct all the mistakes he made in the last seven years.
“I’m not expecting much because I’ve given up hope on Ikpeazu’s administration. However, when I went around town last weekend, I saw serious ongoing projects across Aba.
“I felt a little bit okay. However, I want those close to him to inform him that this is his last chance to either be a complete failure or a little bit successful.
“In my eyes, he has failed but he could redeem himself by completing some of those major roads,” Emeka Ngendu, an Aba resident said.
Ambrose Anaegbu, another resident said that the body language of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu does not look like one who’s serious about his projects.
“Didn’t you hear what he said on the radio a few days ago? He said that the Port Harcourt Road which he publicly boasted that he’ll make six lanes is no longer six but four.
“He even went ahead to say that if he only succeeded in completing drainage in Port Harcourt from Asa-Nnentu to Number One Junction that it’ll be regarded as a success without working on the road.
“I stay at Port Harcourt and even the four lanes he’s talking about is not possible on that road. What’s possible is just two lanes.
“What they want to do is to build a two-lane road, then use some road signs, put in the middle and tag it four lanes. That’s not fair. However, contractors handling Ngwa Road are very serious. I commend them there.”
Pastor Caleb Orji, a resident of Omuma Road said that the residents have already forgotten about this administration, as they’re hoping that whoever comes in next will complete the little Ikpeazu has done at Omuma Road.
“Our eyes have been on this government, but they kept eluding our attention. I have my house and my ministry in Omuma Road. I know what I’ve been suffering for over 11 years since that road because impassable.
“I have seen some works going on from Ama-Ogbonna heading down Cemetery Road Junction, but I don’t see them as serious people. If they’re serious, they should have used this dry season to clear the most problematic area in Omuma Road which is the Ama-Pope axis.
“How can you be reconstructing Omuma Road from one side? The side that’s not even the main problem? Honestly, our hope is not on this Governor anymore because he has forgotten us.
“I pray he completes the other side from Ama-Ogbonna to Cemetery Road Junction because crossing over from Achi-Aru to Ama-Pope looks like another country altogether.”