WHAT is truly lacking in many parts of the country today and has continued to inhibit development is lack of access roads and adequate transportation system.
Successive governments at all levels, especially during the long years of military regime, did not help matters at all. Several efforts and inputs by private individuals and organisations in the transportation sector has not been enough because majority of Nigerians rely on land transportation to move around. Besides, the cost of such transport scheme is always unaffordable by some Nigerians, especially in the rural areas.
But in Abia State today, unlike in the past, the situation has changed and is still changing for good with the present administration’s policy on massive road construction and rehabilitation across the senatorial zones in the state.
The policy has brought about the opening up of access roads in several parts of the state, especially in the agrarian communities in the hinterlands where farmers reside. Before now, some of the people in the rural communities in the state have not seen caterpillars not to talk of using tarred roads. The state government under the leadership of Governor Theodore Orji has remained consistent in pursuing the policy which is one of the cardinal programmes of his government from inception.
Apart from the ongoing construction and rehabilitation of roads across the state, the government has completed the following roads since the assumption of office. They include Abia Tower (Ossah) dualised road, Okpara Square dualized road; the Uwalaka Ahia-Orie Ugba road; Ibeku Road extension, Ozuitem Street, Abam-Orie Ugba Street, Umuovom Nkatta Road (Ochendo Bye-Pass), Ahieke-Okwuta-Isieke Road with spur to the Cenotaph, Uyo Street, Okwulaga-Afaraukwu Road, Umuafai-Lodu-Ahieke Road, Link Road between Aba Road and Timber Market, Nkata Ameke Road, Nkata-Alike Ring Road, New Secretariat By-pass, Ubakala-Old Umuahia dualised Highway, internal Roads in Abia State House of Assembly, Abia Transport Road, Enyiukwu Road, Okigwe Park Bye-pass and the asphalt overlay of over 25 streets within Umuahia the state capital and these roads were also beautified with streetlights and pedestrian walkways on both sides. The development has restored nightlife in the state capital amidst secured atmosphere devoid of crime of any sort.
In the commercial city of Aba alone, the state government has completed the Okwu Street, Ezeogo Road (Opposite Ngwa High School), Nwala Street, Mount Zion Street, Ikonne Street, A-line and F-line, Ariaria Market. Other roads include Umule Road, Umuocham Azikiwe, Okigwe, Faulks Road, Orieohazu Street, Unity Garden/Osisioma Ring Road, Timber and Allied Products Market internal roads, Uratta Road, dualization of Aba-Owerri Road with the spur at the Osisioma Ngwa end of the Enugu-Port-Harcourt expressway, dualization of Aba-Port Harcourt Road, Udu Street, Umugo-Ugwunagbo Road, Uratta, Ngozi Avenue, Omenazu, Okigwe Road, East Street and the recently commissioned Brass street, Milverton Avenue, Azikiwe Road, George Street and Constitution Crescent.
Knowing that lack of adequate drainage channels has always been the bane of road durability in Aba, the present government had demolished all illegal structures in the city which made it possible for the construction of giant drainage channels at Ama-Ogbonna and Ngwa Road by East to control flooding in the city. Apart from the completed roads in the city, the perennial flooding at Binez junction of Aba-Owerri Road where motorists spent hours before crossing over has been tackled. Beside, work is ongoing in other roads in the city and will soon be completed before the rainy season gathers momentum.
Also not left out in the roads revolution by the state government is the rural communities where majority of the people of the state are residing. Some of the rural roads that have been constructed include Ozu-Abam Ndi-Okereke Road, Amaekpu-Okagwe-Ohafia Road, Amankalu-Alayi-Akoli-Imenyi Road, Ariam- Usaka-Ikwuano Road, Nunya-Eluama-isuikwuato Road, Ovim-Isuikwuato Road, Aba-Obikabia Road, Umugo-Alaoji-Umunka-Umuodo-Ugwunagbo Road, the Ntigha-Mbawsi Road, Iyienyi-Okwoi-Ozuitem Road, Umueze-Agbo-Ubani Ibeku Road, Nkata Mbom Road, some internal roads in Ossah and the Achara-Ihechiowa Road.
Being mindful of the popular saying that vehicles have become… an article of dress without which we feel uncertain, unclad, and incomplete, Governor Orji had in 2009 rolled out the Abia City Transport Scheme which, aside creating employment for the people, had equally resolved the perennial problem of lack of adequate and befitting intra-city transportation in the state.
Since then, more than 1000 vehicles have been given out by the state government under the Transport Loan Scheme and the beneficiaries are always ready to testify to this. That is why it has always been possible for the state government to able to provide free transportation for indigenes of the state living in different parts of the country during yuletide celebration.
With the ongoing revolution in the roads construction and transportation by the present administration, which are two key factors in industrial growth, the state is now on the verge of reclaiming its past glory as the industrial giant of the country. This is more so that the commercial city of Aba is getting adequate attention from the state government in the area of massive infrastructure development.
Dr. ROMANUS UWA, a medical practitioner, wrote from Aba, Abia State