Political stakeholders in Abia
have, on many occasions, called the
attention of past leaders in the state to
the need for developing infrastructure
in Aba, the commercial capital of the
state, to restore its past glory.
Identifying the desire of the masses,
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, therefore,
made the development of the state
capital a priority in his electioneering.
During the electioneering, the
prototypes and billboards depicting the
road network and other development
programmes of his dream for the state
were conspicuous in major corners of
the state capital.
Previous visitors to Aba can attest
that there were no good roads while
the state capital could not boast
of a functional water scheme. The
last attempt to construct a regional
water scheme in Aba was during the
administration of the late Gov. Sam
Mbakwe who governed the old Imo
from August 1979 to Dec. 31, 1983.
Irrespective of this challenge,
water has never been a problem in
Abia as private boreholes are visible
in many parts of the town. Mbakwe
also constructed the last durable roads
with good drainage systems during his
administration. Mosque road and Faulks
road that are presently serving the
residents remain the legacy of Mbakwe’s
administration.
But Ikpeazu, a former General
Manager of Abia State Environmental
Protection Agency, says he knows about
the infrastructural deficit of Aba and
he is ready to tackle it. He instantly
began development programmes by
establishing the Office of Aba Urban
Renewal to demonstrate the high
premium he placed on rebuilding the
commercial city.
Mr Godwin Adindu, the governor’s
Chief Press Secretary, noted that the
office would enhance the rebuilding of
roads in Aba and the general renewal of
infrastructure in the city as top priorities
of Ikpeazu’s administration.
He said the vision of the governor was
to bring Aba back to its pride of place
to enable it to contribute adequately to
the economic development of the state.
Adindu spoke when members of Aba
Progressive Youth Movement paid him a
courtesy visit. “The city of Aba is dear to
the heart of the governor and this informs
the reason he has decided to operate from
the city in the meantime to be closer to
the people and personally monitor the
ongoing projects in the city,’’ he said.
Adindu explained that Aba Urban
Renewal Office would serve as a key
driving force of the administration.
According to him, the governor will
show personal interest and commitment
to the activities of the office to ensure it
performs to well.
Also in his first 100 days in office,
Ikpeazu inaugurated the reconstruction
of some key access roads in Aba that are
in deplorable conditions. The roads are in
Umuola, Umuocham, Kamalu, Ukaegbu,
Ehere, Umule, and Ukwu Mango.
At the inauguration, Ikpeazu advised
the contractors to do good job and
complete the rehabilitation work on
schedule. He warned that any contractor
that did a shoddy job would be blacklisted
by the state government. “These roads are
important to enable vehicular movement
within the commercial nerve centre of
Abia. The complete renovation of these
seven roads would be achieved within
my first 100 days in office and would be
installed with street lights,’’ he promised.
Ikpeazu, in his maiden address to
Abia people after his inauguration,
restated his promise to deliver a befitting
state capital (New Abia) and focus on
uplifting the lives of the residents of the
state. “This New Abia will be driven by
a manufacturing programme that will
focus on re-igniting the popular ‘made in
Aba’ theme among manufacturers and
consumers,’’ he said.
He said that the Aba industries
would be strengthened by reservoir
of skilled manpower to be trained in
the technical colleges to further beefup
their capacity. He said that the
Boys Technical College, Aba, would be
properly equipped to start the capacity
building programme to be known
as Education for Employment (E4E),
targeted at training 100,000 youths to
acquire “fit-for-purpose skills over the
next four years.’’
The governor inaugurated the E4E
recently at the Boys Technical College,
Aba, which had been already renovated
and equipped as promised. Ikpeazu,
represented by his deputy, Ude Oko-
Chukwu, said that giving Abia youths
the necessary skills to fit into the
present demands of labour market was
a very important component of the
plan of his administration.
“It is our estimation that within the
next four years, 100,000 unemployed
youths will be trained in Abia in
various skills which will prepare them
for available jobs in and around the
state,’’ he said. Ikpeazu stated that
Abia had natural advantage, saying
that: “It is, therefore, left to us to utilise
the advantage properly and acquire the
requisite type of education necessary
for development.’’ He also stressed that
the major significance of E4E was to
give Abia people education that would
lead to employment.
The coordinator of E4E, Mr Endi
Ezengwa, said that there was no
going back in realising the vision of
the programme, given the passion
the governor had for the project. He
assured the public that everyone that
enrolled in the programme would be
trained in one skill or the other. These
laudable initiatives notwithstanding,
political stakeholders in the state,
urged the governor to be very careful
in selecting contractors to handle road
constructions.
Mr Isaac Egele, a mechanical engineer,
said that competent engineering
companies, with proven records,
should handle Aba roads. “Ngwa,
Ohanku, Omuma roads, among others,
should be handled by renowned
construction companies that will
provide adequate drainage systems; if
good drainage systems are provided,
roads will last longer, he said.
Sharing other stakeholders’
opinion, Egele noted that Ikpeazu has
demonstrated that he is willing and
committed to fulfilling his promises
within a short time.

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