Posted by News Express | 18 December 2015 | 3,198 times
During the 2015 election campaigns, the deplorable and decayed condition of Aba, the famous Enyimba City was topical, as many governorship candidates in Abia tied their campaign messages to that very unfortunate neglect by subsequent administrations.
With its status as the economic nerve-centre of the South-East and South-South, and emerging China of Africa, the governorship contestants and their political parties unveiled different blueprints and made promises of rebuilding the city if, voted into power.
Undoubtedly, Aba was totally neglected by the past administrations, which consequently led to the collapse of major roads and other public infrastructure in the city. Refuse were littered all over the environment, which eventually blocked the well-planned drainages. As a result, many areas in the city were perennially flooded and waterlogged.
The Aba Ikot-Ekpene Road that connects the city to Akwa-Ibom, the Aba Port- Harcourt Road that links the city to Rivers State via the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, and many other inner-city roads collapsed and became impassible. The residents groaned out of neglect, despair and hopelessness. Generally, life became very difficult for the residents over uncertainties that surrounded their daily economic and entrepreneurial activities.
During his electoral campaign, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu firmly promised to implement an integrated socio-economic programme that shall restore economic prosperity to the city. He promised to return sanity and decency that will ultimately change the destiny of the people. To achieve the onerous task, Ikpeazu promised to collaborate and partner with the private sector in the rebuilding process, so as to bring Aba back on track as a regional economic nerve-centre 'China of Africa.'
As captured in his inaugural speech, Dr Ikpeazu declared: “Great Abians, our administration is fully committed to providing the enabling environment and infrastructure to facilitate the growth and development of Abia and its people; positioning it as a premier residential, business and tourism destination, with the ultimate objective of uplifting the lives of our people. It is achievable. But it requires our collective commitment, sacrifice and contribution: ka oke zuo onye obula; as well as upholding our values of being God-fearing, belief in Abia, integrity, innovation and quality.
“Aba was for many years a thriving hub for manufacturing and commerce, until epileptic electricity supply and insecurity forced the shut-down of most of our indigenous and foreign-owned industries. We must therefore recognise and appreciate the efforts of Geometric Power Group and the Federal Government’s NIPP at Ala-Oji, towards providing a solution to the perennial challenges of electricity supply to our state. The forthcoming operationalisation of these plants will provide a critical input towards the actualisation of our blueprint and roadmap for the regeneration of Aba and the entire Abia State. We shall pursue it with vigour."
Interestingly, Ikpeazu, on assumption of duty as Governor of Abia State, showed enormous commitment and strength as he began to make history in Aba, with the ongoing reconstruction of some vital roads. For example, Ukaegbu, Umule, Kamanu, Omnee, Old Express, New Umuahia, Owerri, among other roads in Aba. As a result, the governor has significantly restored hope for a renewed and transformed Enyimba City.
For demonstrating a very strong will to rewriting the history of Aba via the ongoing road infrastructural projects and co-ordinated activities of Aba Urban Renewal Committee, headed by Hon Solomon Ogunji, and Abia State Market Development Committee chaired by a young and dynamic business man, Mr Solomon Nwaigwe, Gov Ikpeazu, by so doing, ultimately sent a strong signal to local and foreign investors, which has positively exposed the state to the global market and advanced economic development. Aimed at restoring sanity to the city, Ikpeazu has set up a committee headed by the commissioner for Agriculture, Hon Uzor Azubuike, charged with the responsibility of relocating the abattoirs that were openly and un-hygienically located in wrong places. The overriding purpose is to build a centralised modern abattoir with refrigerated vans that will be acquired for smooth and hygienic distribution of processed meat to various selling units and markets. The derivable gains from this wonderful initiative of the governor include enhanced revenue generation for the government, promotion of public health and ultimate protection of the environment from further pollution and degradation.
On the other hand, the menace of street-trading, which became a tradition in Aba, is gradually becoming a history. Some major roads in Aba were literally taken over by petty-traders whose activities constituted unbearable nuisance and traffic problems. There is no gainsaying that street trading partly contributed to the collapse of some roads and environmental degradation of Aba.
But the collaborative efforts of the Aba Urban Renewal Committee and Abia Market Development Committee have started paying off, as traders are subtly moved back to the markets to carry out their trading activities. In addition, the state government has begun to put certain arrangements on ground to build more markets in Aba under public private partnership (PPP) to decongest and ensure decency in the existing markets.
Another major step taken by the governor towards rebuilding Aba is the evolution of traffic control measures. The establishment of Traffic Management Agency of Abia State (TMAAS), which recently offered employment to many youths who, incidentally, are undergoing training at a facility owned by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Enugu State. This is aimed at ensuring free-flow of traffic as well as restoring sanity in Aba and other major towns of the state.
The good news, therefore, is that Ikpeazu's co-ordinated economic programmes and policies have started yielding the desired results as some investors have begun to show interest to invest in Aba. Their partnership with the state government will ultimately evoke increased economic activity and entrepreneurial advancement in Abia State.
•Photo shows Governor Ikpeazu.
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