Aba and Abia in a stunning developmental chronicle

Towards the last legs of the year 2012, November to be precise, in a colourful gathering of mixed amalgam in Aba, involving party faithfuls, Executive Council members, Ndi Eze, a host of Advisers and Senior Special Assistants, among others, Chief T A Orji, wearing a construction helmet, clambered up an earth moving equipment, symbolizing the kick off of reconstruction of the roads in Aba.

The historic action of the Abia helms man was in response to the outcries of people in Aba over the bad roads, excessive flooding and the accompanying potholes. It is evident that Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State cannot function effectively where access roads are in terrible state of disrepair. Obviously, Taxis, commercial buses, tricycle owners who move people from one point to the other in their daily chores, cannot carry out their duties and earn their keeps due to the state of the roads. Challenging as these were, no meaningful construction could be done in the height of the rainy season. Therefore, he bided his time until the rains slowed down, giving the first sign of the dry season.

At the nick of time, Sir T.A. Orji called out the construction companies, mobilized them with huge sums that energized them to marshal their equipment to site. While the financial mobilization went on, he extracted a firm promise from the contractors insisting on terminal dates of all the awarded contracts which were timed to fall in within the dry season as he wouldn’t want uncompleted jobs and abandoned projects.

Monday April 14, 2013, five months after, the massive awards materialized into fruition. Like the flag off day, people from all walks of life gathered all over in large numbers to commission the completed roads among them Azikiwe, Milverton, Aba-Obikabia phase 1, Brass\Faulks, Georges, Constitution Crescent, Ngwa Road to mention a few. Previously, many who refused to see anything good in Abia and balked at being part of the flag off, took a “let’s wait and see” attitude but realising that the Governor meant every word of his promise, reconsidered their negative stance and joined on Monday to witness the epic event. In truth, Milverton, Geometric access road, Brass were awarded, now completed and commissioned in the presence of notable personalities like Ezes Ikonne, Uwakwe Ukaegbu and the Rector of The Abia Polytechnic, Elder Onukaogu.

There are so many lessons in these activities. Milverton Avenue is indispensable to Aba residents and visitors who throng the city to purchase goods for industrial, commercial and domestic use. Many of the transport companies are resident in Milverton. The Geometric access road is a road leading to the Geometric Power Plant, a contract awarded by the Federal Government in answer to the yearning of the State Government which always took the blame for every anomaly. The prompt response to the plea by Abia Government for Abuja to come to our rescue in steady power supply as the Abia industrial hub with a larger percentage in Aba can hardly function without steady power  is due to the excellent relationship of Dr T A Orji and President Jonathan. It is on record that so many industries like Dunlop and Michelin, outfits which have marched with Nigeria since independence all relocated to Ghana and other west African countries because of power supply and Sir T.A Orji thoughtfully elected to construct an access road for a federal Government project in order that Aba and her creative residents will achieve their industrial potentials and capacity to produce the badly needed goods for our local consumption and exports and at the same time earn foreign exchange.

Alongside these roads are drainages which will protect the roads from flooding and water logging. This act of His Excellency further goes to manifest some of his titles like Ekwueme, Ebekuo Dike, Ome Nke Ahuru Anya e.t.c.

Ekwueme which means one who promises and fulfils, Ebekue Dike the warrior who responds to the yearnings and distress cries and Ome Nke Ahuruanya extols one who performs the evident and physical. These go a long way in telling the person of T.A Orji as an Achiever, a leader who responds to the public aggravations knowing very well where the shoe pinches. Indeed, he is the Ochendo, the umbrella which protects the people and property from hard and harsh conditions.

            Outside the feat in Aba, the governor has embarked on another ambitious road project which will certainly benefit all Abians. This is the operation ‘Ten kilometer roads for every Local Government.’ This practically means a total of 170 kilometers of roads in the 17 Local Governments in Abia. Outside the Aba inner city roads, it is notable that Osisioma-Ekeakpara, Ogbo Hill-Omoba, Obikabia, Ohanku Roads in Abia South, Ovim-Acha-Isiukwuato, Nunya, Eluama, Abiriba-Nkporo, in the Abia North and Amoba Nnono Oboro, dualization of Ubakala-Old-Umuahia, Afugiri, Mbawsi Ntigha, all in the Central Zone to mention a few embrace the three Senatorial Zones. Is this not stunning, has it been this good?

Bewildering too is the transformation of Ogurube layout the new capital suburb from a bushy scrubland to a city of glittering roofs. Spawning, ten cascading roof steps of the International Conference Centre, not too far from the refurbished old Secretariat, wearing the same paint colour with the twin high rise of the new one- the first of its kind in Abia to have service elevators. Adjacent to this is the fastest rising building of the Joint Accounts Committee (JAC) building that the Honourable Minister of Information Mr Labaran Maku laid its foundation stone on the 16th of January 2013. Further down across the road is the inescapably retouched greeny roofs of the Abia House of Assembly and the new 28 room story building for constituency offices. Behind the assembly compound are the unmistakable but uniform duplexes for Commissioners who were previously not accommodated in the designated quarters. They now have 3 duplexes to consummate the affinity.

In the same Ogurube Layout is the 54 room BCA complex now ready for occupation with a magnificent landscaping. The New Government House and ASUBEB Complexes are tagging along in a construction process.

 I can go on and on but for space and time. One question that many are asking is: is T.A Orji going for re-election? No! Even though he is working like one going for re-election, he is only trying to fulfill his contract with the people as all his life he has carved a niche in the service of humanity. Assuredly, he wouldn’t want to let down his party the PDP who he promised to perform. To him, integrity and honour mean a lot!

All these structures rising within a space of two years call for commendations by way of doing our own parts as indigenes of Abia. It is on record that till date a total of 52 road projects are on in different stages of completion, among them the continuous overlay of roads in the towns and the rehabilitation of roads in World Bank Umuahia. Not surprising these are shepherded by Prince K O Mbeahuru, a man who is loyal to the core and ever ready to learn. Ndi Abia, check your records if such massive construction has ever taken place in Abia before and incidentally, count your blessings, name them one by one. Certainly it will surprise you what the Lord has done through the Instrumentality of Ochendo.

Eddie Onuzuruike