Ralph Nwosu is the current Imo State Commissioner for Works. He was a long serving commissioner in the same ministry during the administration led by Chief Ikedi Ohakim. At the time masterminded the construction of many quality roads and other infrastructures, including laying the solid foundation for the Orji and Amakohia flyovers.
The present governor of the state, Senator Hope Uzodimma in his avowed desire and commitment to improve the quality of roads and other infrastructural deficits devoid of any trial and error in the sector, decided to appoint Nwosu again, a man with high level of experience to lead the state ministry of works.
Since his appointment, Nwosu has hit the ground running. Notwithstanding the fact that his swearing-in coincided with the outbreak of the deadly pandemic called Coronavirus. Another great challenge was the coming of the rains which also coincided with the inception of the administration of Governor Hope Uzodimma.
Meanwhile these challenges did not deter Commissioner Nwosu as he immediately swung into action to recover most of the roads that were already in high level deplorable conditions. In line with the continuity agenda of his principal, Governor Hope Uzodimma, he encouraged the contractors handling contracts awarded by the immediate past administration, while awarding some new ones that were considered critical.
One of the new roads awarded by the government is the Edede street road. According to one of the residents no government has ever given attention to that area since. This has delighted many of them. In his words, “we cannot thank the governor enough for remembering us in his recovery and rehabilitation agenda.
Not in a mood to play with the comfort of Imolites, the commissioner recommended the revocation of road contracts handled by contractors who failed to adjust and work in line with specifications given to them by the new government. Recall that the popular Naze-Ihiagwa road which has attracted some attention was cancelled and the government it was learnt has almost concluded effort to re-award the project.
The works commissioner has religiously pursued the construction of tunnels at strategic points in the state to permanently solve the perennial problem of flooding in parts of the state.
He is not the type of commissioner who is swayed by the euphoria of office to forget or neglect the actual demand of his office. He understands very well that as commissioner for works, his office demands regular field work. He does it with relish, regularly embarking on inspection of all ongoing roads, tunnels, drainages and other infrastructural projects across the state, to ascertain progress of work and to ensure contractors work according to specifications. Knowing the avowed commitment of the governor to bequeath quality projects to the state, he does not paint issues with any contractor who deviates from specifications in their projects.
Nwosu knows very well the fact that achieving success requires teamwork; reason he goes extra miles to motivate those working under him.
He makes sure the welfare of workers under him is placed as top priority, ensuring that they get their entitlements as and when due. The engineer does not hesitate to render helping hands to any person who brings a problem that requires assistance to his attention. He is one commissioner who has made it a point of duty to give food to his entourage at the end of every inspection, in addition to providing the team snacks and other types of light refreshments during the inspection.
The Oru-born two-time commissioner ensures that free hands are given to professionals in the ministry to perform their professional responsibilities. This goes a long way to boost productivity of the ministry. Just like his first state assignment during the regime of Ikedi Ohakim, the engineers in the ministry have been encouraged to handle some roads in the state on direct labour basis. Prominent among the roads handled on that basis is the St Thomas More/J.P.Ajaelu road New Owerri. The outcome of such roads has shown clearly that if well-equipped and encouraged, engineers of the ministry are capable of delivering critical roads and other projects, even better than most contractors and any contract done by the ministry on direct labour basis is always cost effective.
At several fora and engagement with men of the pen profession, Commissioner Ralph Nwosu has always reemphasized that the greatest desire of the present government led by Senator Hope Uzodimma is to ameliorate the sufferings of Imo people as a result of bad roads, the passion that led the government to set a record as the first government to commission tangible road projects within the first seven months of its existence. The roads commissioned, such as; Douglas Road, Assumpta-Portharcourt Road, Aladimma ring roads, Oparanozie and other adjoining ring roads, the St Thomas More/J. P. Ajaelu road at New Owerri, among others has gone a long way to grant relieve to the road users in the state.
He acknowledges that it is not yet Uhuru, as some critical roads are yet to receive facelift like others. Prominent among such roads is the Nekede-Ihiagwa-Obinze Road. The situation of the road is due largely to the failure of the contractor handling the project. He said the contractors failed to facilitate the projects, even when several instructions were given to them notwithstanding they were fully mobilized for the job which they have not done work commensurate to the money paid to them.
He also attributed reason for revocation of the contract to the fact that the contractors were not working in line with the specification of the contracts. While pleading for patience and understanding of those living and operating around such areas, he assured that government was perfecting arrangements to re-award the Nekede-Ihiagwa-Obinze Road to a more competent contractor who will work according to the required speed and specifications.
Nwosu was also approached by our correspondent to comment on Nigeria’s independence (Nigeria 60 celebration), he thumbed up Nigeria and said there are reasons to celebrate, irrespective of manifest shortcomings. He said the country has come a long way over the sixty years of its existence as a sovereign nation, during which period it has witnessed tremendous transformation in various sectors. He noted that there are lots of shortcomings and leadership failures but pointed out that some current great counties of the world passed same stage several years ago, before they were able to get it right.
He enthused that there is great hope for Nigeria as the future is very bright. He therefore wished the country happy independence and prayed God to grant our leaders at various levels, the wisdom and wherewithal to effect the necessary changes as soon as possible to take the country to the expected level of development.