Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Governor Alex Otti has broken a 15-year jinx in Abia State as he will, on Thursday, flag off the total reconstruction of the totally collapsed Port Harcourt Road, Aba.
The 6.6 kilometer road is the major entry and exit point to the commercial city from Rivers State, and houses many companies and industrial clusters.
Briefing newsmen Wednesday in Umuahia after the State Executive Council meeting, Commissioner for Information, Prince Okey Kanu, said that the road project would be handled by Julius Berger.
The Commissioner explained that the importance attached to the road by Gov. Otti, made him to bring the Managing Director of Julius Berger to evaluate the road even before his swearing in as Governor.
He regretted that the previous administration abandoned the road despite its economic importance, but assured that Gov. Otti had come to fix it.
The Commissioner expressed delight over the eruption of joy and wide celebration in Aba when Julius Berger started bringing in its construction equipment ahead of Thursday’s official flag off of the project.
“We heard that residents of Aba, out of joy at the sight of heavy equipment being brought in by Julius Berger yesterday in Aba slaughtered cows to celebrate the great feat, Kanu said.”
The Commissioner declared that Otti was fully prepared to re-invent Abia and place it on the map of greatness.
Available statistics indicate that Julius Berger is the first major construction firm to be engaged by the Abia State Government.
The Commissioner boasted that within four months, Otti had achieved what previous administration “could not achieve in eight years.”
Kanu hinted that another four renovated road projects by the Otti administration in Aba were ready for inauguration.
Ikengaonline had reported that Otti had so far inaugurated three roads since coming on board.
The Commissioner further said that the ‘operation zero pothole’ declared by the Governor on Umuahia roads was on-going, and had almost led to the disappearance of potholes on major roads in the capital city.
According to him, the exercise is a deliberate and intentional effort of Government to make driving an enjoyable exercise in the capital city.
He said that the asphalting of Umuahia-Uzuakoli Road had also commenced, adding that Otti has turned the state into a huge construction site.
The Commissioner said that the expansion of Ossah road which is the major entry and exit point to Umuahia Capital city would soon commence in earnest as demolition of illegal structures on the road had recorded 80% success.
Describing the 6-lane Ossah road expansion project as a signature project of Otti’s administration, the Commissioner said that the Governor was in a hurry to transform the state.
He further said that the Light Up Abia Programme initiated in Umuahia by the Otti administration had been extended to Aba as solar paneled street lights had been installed in almost all streets in the capital city.
The Commissioner said that the programme would be extended to Ohafia metropolis once the City of Aba is covered.
He further announced that any road built by the Otti administration would have street lights installed on them.
Adding his voice, Commissioner for Power and Public Utilities, Ikechukwu Monday, an Engineer, said that the State Government had commenced the re-connection of all Government facilities to the national grid.
He explained that the State Government had reached an agreement with the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company, EEDC, to clear the arrears of electricity bills which led to the disconnection of the facilities during the past administration.
The Commissioner noted that the State Government was aware of the crucial importance of power in development, hence its resolve to support power distribution companies to ensure the availability of electricity to residents.
He hinted that very soon, a draft bill to establish a power plant would be presented before the Abia State House of Assembly.
This, according to him, is aimed at making power available to residents.
He said that the Government had noted the cases of failed electricity transformers in the state but would support efforts of the power distribution companies to make electricity available to Abians.