Aba Town in the South East geo-political zone of Nigeria, came into world news in the colonial days of 1929 when women revolted over imposition of taxes among other unfavorable policies. Since this historic event, Aba has been basking on the euphoria, dwelling and growing with the can-do spirit, having the will and strength of an elephant in accomplishing tasks no matter how daunting. Little wonder the fond name, Enyimba. Aba can easily gather to challenge any action against their interest and comfort. Equally, they can quickly assemble to promote or support good gestures. It is on record that Aba business and bureaucratic elites made the highest monetary contributions to the then Abia State Movement, which midwifed the birth of God’s Own State. Aba is as resilient as a stallion and strong as a bull. Aba is proactive and dogged, be it in commerce or industry. Aba is human and can at times like the Roman mob, be deceived into unwholesome actions.
Aba strives in all human endeavours and thrives almost in all, capitalizing in commerce to a world class level. Beside this, education is of high reckoning as Aba spawns one of the highest numbers of primary and secondary schools enrollment. It also outnumbers all other towns in Abia in terms of the domiciliation of tertiary institutions with not less than 4 reputable higher institutions as evident in the Polytechnics, School of Nursing and Midwifery, School of Health Technology, and Abia State University teaching Hospital. All these are in the overburdened payroll of the state government.
In sports, Abia leads, Enyimba Football Club, though a household name is of international status, having won one of the most prized laurels for Abia and Nigeria at large. It is on this background that the State Government is concerned in the welfare and reputation of Aba in spite of the lean resources available. In the bid to make Aba the beautiful bride, the topography of being a table land, has not helped matters. Drainage easily blocks, domestic waste once rose to a mountainous level, claiming affinity with Kilimanjaro until the Abia State Government went into partnership with some who claimed expertise in disposal and conversion. Unsatisfied by the pace of action, the people-oriented T. A. Orji’s administration, galvanized the restless ASEPA, then led by Dr. Cosmos Ndukwe into a near day and night operation. Lest we forget, Aba rumbled when the last elected chairmen owed a backlog of worker’s salaries for upwards of ten months, it was the Governor who came to their rescue. As you are completing one project site in Aba, they curiouly point at another.
Unknown to many people, His Excellency has sited infrastructural projects in all the nooks and crannies of Aba Zone.
These are few examples of projects executed in the first tenure:
· Construction of a functional water borehole with fire hydrant at the Aba Fire Service Station.
· Repair of Umuojima Road Aba.
· Rehabilitation of Nwogu/Ukonu, Ajagba, Ajiwe Street Aba.
· Rehabilitation of Adazi & Okwunuka Road, Aba.
· Repair of East Street Road, Aba.
· Repair of Umule Road Aba.
· Rehabilitation of potholes along Queens & Ochefu Road, Aba.
· Rehabilitation Of Umule by Tonimas junction, Aba.
· Rehabilitation of Milverton and Hospital Roads.
· Rehabilitation of Ehi Ehere, Azikiwe and Asa Roads Aba.
· Rehabilitation of Osusu Road, Aba.
· Construction of ‘A’ Line road in Ariaria market.
· Construction of Ikonne Street Aba.
· Construction of ‘F’ Line Road Aba in Ariaria market.
· Construction of Aba Abayi Nchokoro Ohanku road.
· Construction of Timber and Allied Products Market road Aba.
· Reconstruction and expansion of Brass/Faulks Road Aba.
· Construction of Okwu Avenue Aba.
· Reconstruction of Port Harcourt. Road Aba.
. Construction of Nwauba Street Aba.
One year in the second tenure has witnessed more fireworks
· Dualization /reconstruction of Aba Owerri Road Aba.
. Reconstruction/ dualization of phase 1 Aba-Owerri road Aba (from Osisioma Express road junction to Umuimo Road Junction) 3.4km
. Rehabilitation of 5no. selected roads in Aba Metropolis-Ehi Road (2.1km) Ehere Road (0.8), Ogbor-Hill , Azikiwe road, Asa Road all in Aba
. Reconstruction/rehabilitation of Ohanku (4.7km) Aba
. Rehabilitation of Osisioma park Ekeakpara road (4.5km) Aba
. Reconstruction of Asa Road, Aba Owerri Road by Umuiron junction to Aba Motor Park and asphalt overly of Asa Road Aba
. Construction of unity Garden/Osisioma Ring Road, Aba
. Demolition/carting away of twelve (12) Storey buildings and landscaping/modeling of old Osisioma park, Aba.
. Construction/dualization of Aba-Owerri road phase 11 (from Umuimo Road junction to Aba Motor Park) and Asphalt overlay from
. Reconstruction of port-Harcourt Enugu Express way from Osisioma Junction
. Reconstruction of Obohia Road, Aba
. Construction of Additional stretch of the Osisioma Ring Road, Aba
. Construction/ rehabilitation of Samek Road, Aba
. Construction of Old Express Road, Aba
All in the bid to make Aba work, His Excellency Dr T. A. Orji has made liberal appointments to accommodate settlers and natives alike. For instance, the former Transition Chairman of Aba North Local Government Area is a known Aba resident from a neighboring sister State. It will be illuminating to cast your mind back to a few occurrences before the present peace in the state. Aba was invaded by criminals who zoomed in as if they were for an international seminar. They made life miserable and unbearable for residents and the numerous visitors who thronged Aba on trade missions.
The soldiers who have encamped in Abia State are neither tourists nor vacationers. They are on a serious mission of peacekeeping and crime combating. His Excellency, Chief T. A. Orji pressed his presidential button for this to happen and makes a colossal budget for a popular saying goes, ‘he who pays the piper dictates the tune’.
‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy – Martin Luther King Jnr.
Chief T. A. Orji in his service-driven nature, is aware of these wise words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr and has stood firmly with Aba. He is equally cognizant of the obvious facts that Aba is of high political and social awareness, therefore no body in his right minds can afford to toy with Aba, not in the least Chief T. A. Orji. In truth, he is aware that Aba is laden with hardworking people who have unimaginable vote potentials.
As it appears, Aba gets more than required attention, evident in billions spent in construction, maintenance of infrastructure and crime prevention. Unfortunately the lifestyle of some Aba residents has become a constant source of sleepless nights to leadership in Abia. When Aba people block drainages which results in flooding, the Governor takes the blame. When the submerged road disintegrate and eroded away, the state Government draws unusual flak as if nothing had been done even when the same road was worked on in the last season.
As it stands today, One thousand eight hundred houses are built without authority on the drainage channel ensconcing environmental hazards.
The Abia helmsman has sworn to sanitize Aba at all cost but he equally warned that that he wouldn’t spend all that accrues to the state on Aba at the detriment of other cities. As he bemoaned, these buildings are standing on the drainage and should go down the drains for Aba to work, no matter whose ox is gored
These projects listed above, though a few examples, are for all to see, especially those in doubt. They are physical and can be seen and touched. These are all exclusive of other efforts of Ochendo of restoring the days eaten by the desolating locust, including the liquidation of salaries owed numerous LGAs in Aba, not talking about the donation of the supply of transformers aimed at improving energy supply to the teeming industries that constitute the Aba mainstay.
Aba be wise, others are watching and waiting for your characteristic leadership. As it is said, the aged cannot watch the goat strangle itself with the leash. Equally true that no responsible leadership can fiddle like Emperor Nero while some residents indulge in the utterly absurd.
Aba and the Eighteen Thousand Illegal Buildings On The drainage.