By Chris Ochayi
ABUJAâ€”Ebonyi State Governor, Chief Martin Elechi has commended the Federal Government over the award of contract for the reconstruction of the Abakaliki-Mbok (Ogoja junction) highway project.
Chief Elechi who gave the commendation yesterday while on visit to the Minister of Works, Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Hassan Muhammad Lawal in Abuja said the project, if executed would bring relief to the people of Ebonyi, Enugu and Cross River States.
Apart from the mentioned states, he said the road will also put smiles on the faces of the people of the entire South East geo-political zones.
According to him, â€œI want to put it on record that we the Governors and people of the South East geopolitical zone are particularly happy for the number of roads the Federal Government is tackling simultaneously in the zone, because the bane of our geopolitical area has been essentially that of bad roadsâ€.
â€œBut we believe that when the contracts are efficiently executed, the Federal Government, through you in particular, shall have put smiles on the faces of the people of the South East geopolitical zone. We will continue to express our appreciation for that singular gesture. We thank you, and pray God that what you have started so well, will end successfullyâ€, he said.
The Governor who stated further that the execution of the road project would bring a lot of relief to the people of Ebonyi, Enugu and Cross River States in particular, and the entire zone in general, however, appealed to the Federal Government to permit the State to effect the dualisation of the township section of the road with a view to getting reimbursed subsequently.
In his response, the Minister of Works, Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Hassan Muhammad Lawal, said the South East zone deserves good because average easterner had commerce and trade as his or her main stay.
He said to this end, â€œthere is no way you can have successful trade or commerce without mobility, without good roadsâ€.
â€œIn short, without a good network of roads that are not only safe but are also smooth, that are motorable, the situation can easily lead to insecurity in that area, and indeed, in the entire country. One of the means of tackling insecurity is the provision of good roadsâ€.
The Federal Government he said â€œis committed to ensuring availability of good and motorable roads, not only in the South East zone, but in the entire nation. However, funding is a major constraint. Believe me, Mr. President is desirous of dualising virtually every road in this country. But, there are competing demands on the nationâ€™s treasury from other sectors, such as education, health, agriculture and various other sectorsâ€.
â€œI am saying this because I must really appeal to Nigerians to appreciate the constraints on the part of the Federal Governmentâ€.