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How not to demarket Abia

Abia seems to be blessed with faceless destructive critics who may have sworn on the altar of perfidy that there is ingenuity in saying only unkind words to their leaders. These set of people either refuse to accept that glaring development strides are happening in Abia or feed their soiled mindsets with tissue of lies just to DEMARKET their own State.

Perhaps, the correct thing to say is that in Abia, an ignorant and savage few are in possession of freedom. While they think they are criticising the government, albeit without sense; they are inadvertently cutting their nose just to spite their face.

One Tony Icheku had in an online medium exposed brazen ignorance, trying so hard, and unsuccessfully too to dismiss the giant strides of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu. While he focused his attention on Aba, he proved that either he has never lived in Aba before or has not visited the city in as many months. Otherwise, he would not have said “we are talking of Aba of which Gov Ikpeazu promised: “I will tackle the monumental collapse of infrastructure in Aba metropolis, I will renew Aba”.

That was his promise while campaigning for the office. Today, nothing has changed between then and now. Nothing has been fixed in Aba, not roads, not its perennial flooding, not the mountains of garbage dumps, nothing absolutely nothing, except for the uncompleted flyover at Ossisoma”.

I do not know whether to sympathize with this traveller or pity his barefaced ignorance. At the risk of repeating myself, I will tell him for free that for the first time since 1982, Aba has never received the kind of monumental facelift it is receiving under the watch of Ikpeazu. He also ignorantly said that Ikpeazu was not prepared for leadership. Well, this comment would make headlines in a book like LEARNING TO LIE. Please come with me.

As at May 29, 2015; major roads in Aba like Ukaegbu, Ochefu Kamalu, Owerri, Umuola, Ehere and Agharandu just to mention but a few were fertile grounds for the growing of economic trees. Instead of vehicles and pedestrians using these roads, residents had a field day growing their crops, as the roads were in the highest stage of dilapidation.

This same man who was not “prepared” for leadership swung into action, tackling the dilapidation headlong. As I write, these roads and many others are standing on excellent condition with the attendant economic advantages inherent. Ochefu for instance was (and still is)  a gate way to the largest stationery village in Aba.

Traders and residents were moving in droves before Okezie’s intervention. Today, that road has been fully reconstructed using the Rigid Cement Technology.

Owerri Road which was locked has suddenly given a reprieve to thousands of residents and traders in the area. If Tony had ever lived in Aba, he would know that the uncommon attention given to Ukaegbu, Ehere and Umuola Roads showed that Ikpeazu before his election had an idea of how to retrieve Aba from the dustbin of history.

If he didn’t prepare for leadership, how did he know that reconstructing OMMNE road within few months of his coming would ease traffic caused by the bad spots in Osisioma end of the Aba- PH express road? How did he know that without drains, Aba – Owerri Road would continue to fail?

Obviously the hack writer didn’t know that long before his inauguration Governor Ikpeazu assembled a team of experts from within and outside Abia and generated the document called Abia State Economic Development Blueprint which defined the pathway for Abia’s economic resurgence. It was from that document that the much trumpeted Ikpeazu’s  5 pillars of development emerged. Our pay per article writer will do well to get a copy of the document and help himself.

The same traveller Abian who takes glory in ignominy took a swipe on the government’s promotion of MADE IN ABA GOODS. According to him, it is a phantom project made without any vision in mind. How perfidious. How unfortunate. How reckless and irresponsible a statement. First, the whole world has acclaimed that the concerted efforts of the government have placed ABA back on the map of skill and industry.

Today and perhaps for the first time in the history of Aba, artisans proudly place MADE IN ABA on their designs as against CHINA, JAPAN, INDONESIA, ITALY and some other countries believed to have better markets. Ikpeazu has reawakened the consciousness of these small and medium Enterpreneurs so much that they have rediscovered themselves.

Organizations, Ministries and indeed agencies of government have gone back to Aba to do business. It is not the place of a mindless critic to address the impact of this project. Let him visit Imo Avenue, Powerline, Shoe Plaza, Umuehilegbu  market  and indeed Bakassi Plaza where these artisans are domiciled to see how busy they have become.

But for Ikpeazu, the Director General of National Youths Service Corps (NYSC) or even the Army Chief would not have known that Aba could do better than China in providing their needs for clothes and shoes. Does this person know how many Aba tailors that have received international business recognition in recent time. When I read comments denigrating well thought out projects, I ask God to give such persons waiver to make heaven. Why are we so short sighted just in the name of opposition?

Our dear friend, invented a new word he called TOADYING to describe the spate of work being done at Faulks Road, Osisioma and some other places in Aba. He rather wishes Okezie delivers these roads in weeks may be. For want of how to describe this assertion, since it appears our friend cannot understand plain things; I would politely direct him to borrow wisdom from great men who insist that “if ever we want to do a thing well, we must do so with diligence”.

Faulks Road, though less than 6km, holds the future of the entire over rail with Ariaria as the strongest beneficiary. Before now, successive governments had merely attempted to address the perennial flooding problems in Aba which source is the Ifeobara area of Ukwu Mango in Faulks Road.

Interestingly, it requires a diligent mind and a sharply focused governor to take the challenge. Okezie did. As I write, Faulks Road is not impassable. It is experiencing the most diligent  reconstruction ever known in the history of Aba. Our abroad friend said the Ifeobara basin measures 4×5 meters. And you still think the man is a serious person? Those who hurry to construct roads that require due diligence end up doing nothing.

The idea is cancelling the initial contract to reconstruct Faulks Road because enormous work needed to be done. Okezie is a Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology and knows that fake drugs don’t last. Today, SETRACO, a grade A construction firm is getting it right. They have installed a 6.8km drainage pipe to take water from Ifeobara basin straight to waterside Aba. They have also installed water pumps to push water from Ifeobara basin to waterside. This is in addition to excavating the soil along Faulks road and replacing it  totally.

Today, through TOADYING, they have dualized the road to make for free flow of traffic from Brass Street to PH Express through Faulks (Ariaria) road without demolishing too many houses. If you are in Aba, I challenge you to controvert these claims.

His caricature of the Osisioma flyover is another face of irredeemable ignorance. For the records, the flyover at Osisioma is not a pedestrian bridge that would be completed in weeks. It is a project that factored the heavy vehicular traffic, including abnormal trucks that do business at the NNPC depot Osisioma. It is designed to put an end to life snuffing traffic logjam, typical of the Osisioma roundabout.

It is still work in progress and being constructed with the global best standard in mind. No flyover worth its salt is done in months. By the way, if it takes the lifetime of this administration to solve a 30 year old problem, it is still okay. Only persons who like quick and short lived wins would talk down on that laudable project.

In a bid to score cheap political point, Tony Icheku condemned Ilkprazu’s aides for celebrating uncompleted projects. This in my mind is a very weak score as no sane government can afford to keep its citizens in the dark. Ikpeazu, though the Governor, holds the resources of Abians on trust. He has a statutory duty to give his scorecard as often as possible.

Those aides you describe as sycophants are agents of orientation. Recently, Hon. Eziuche Ubani, the Hon. Commissioner for Works informed Abians that the contract for the reconstruction of the dilapidated Udeagbala Road in Aba had been awarded.

Through John Okiyi Kalu, the Hon. Commissioner for Information, Abians have been encouraged to be vigilante and demand as of right that the contractor delivers quality job and in record time. Recall too that it was through one of such interventions by the citizens, who have received proper orientation that poor service deliveries were discovered and remedied.

It is wickedness to ever imagine that Ikpeazu has recanted on any of his promises to rebuild Aba. Any Governor who has mustered sufficient political will, despite excruciating pangs of economic depression to commence work on the 6km Ph Road ( a federal road) or to painstakingly engage in simultaneous projects in many sites across the State deserve a handshake and not a handcuff.

Let us always criticize within the available ambit of COMMONSENSE than engage in acts that would scare visitors to a city like Aba that is gradually bouncing back to reckoning.

By Ben Udechukwu

UDECHUKWU writes from Aba



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