New Telegraph

Ebonyi: A state where concrete roads hold sway

In recent times many concrete roads and flyovers have been constructed in different parts of Ebonyi State by the government in an attempt to not only modernise the state, but also ensure that such structures last for a very long time, UCHENNA INYA reports

Before now, roads in Ebonyi State were constructed with the traditional asphalt. Sadly, such roads never lasted, failed and ultimately became impassable forcing the present administration in the state, under Governor David Umahi to introduce new road technology called ‘Rigid Pavement’- a system of using concrete to construct roads to ensure they last longer. Many roads in the state have now been constructed with the new technology. Also the failed ones have been reconstructed with the system. The roads are scattered across the 13 local government areas of the state and Abakaliki, the capital.

More roads in the state, especially the ring road that connects eight out of the 13 local government areas in the state, have been flagged-off by the government using the new technology. An agreement between the state government and contractors for the award of the first phase of the ring road was signed by Governor Umahi.

The road is to be constructed using the Rigid Pavement technology. Umahi after signing the contract said the project must be done in the best of quality in rigid pavement and assured the contractors of adequate security within their lots to ensure uninterrupted project execution. He charged the contractors to ensure they employ not less than 100 Ebonyians in each of the seven lots while 50% of the engineers should be locals from the state.

“It has been a very long journey, a very tedious one, and I must commend Mr President for the 199-kilometre Abakaliki Ring Road passing through eight local government areas. We are very thankful to you, because this project is a reality, as at today, nobody can pass through the road not by foot, not by Keke, not by Okada and by the mercy of God, we have the opportunity under our administration to construct this road, I assure you that Ebonyi State will not remain the same by the time the construction of this road is completed.

“This project is very dear to me, this project has components of Community Social Responsibility and each of the lots has 2.5 kilometres of internal road to be built with the same standards,” he said. The governor, in a live broadcast to the people of the state on his six years in office, commended the former governor of the old Anambra State (now Enugu State), Chief Jim Nwobodo and Chief Martin Elechi, former Governor of Ebonyi State for constructing and maintaining the ring road which, according to him, however, later failed. He commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his assistance in his effort to reconstruct the ring road.

“We have successfully completed phase one of the processes of the famous Abakaliki Ring Road and we must first thank His Excellency, Jim Nwobodo, who first articulated this and constructed the road, though on earth because of paucity of funds at that time and of course Chief Martin Elechi who also worked assiduously in the maintenance of the road, today, the entire road is gone but by the grace of God and the assistance of Mr. President. “If he is bad to other people, he is good to Ebonyi State and we are not afraid to say it, this man has helped Ebonyi State tremendously, and my Bible tells me that he who will pay evil for the good done unto him that evil will not depart from his household.

“Mr. President we are grateful as Ebonyi people because your assistance and the assistance you gave to other governors is what has liberated Ebonyi State and put us in an irreversible gear that we will never go back to second slavery, so we are happy for this ring road, it is a total of 199 kilometres, Ebonyi State government has constructed part of that as 25% required equity and so the phase one has started because we have signed the contract, and we are grateful to God for this project. When we finish it, Abakaliki Zone in particular and Ebonyi State, in general, will never remain the same.

“I have flagged off the intervention projects totalling about 10 kilometres in Ozzizza and Mater roads, Oriuzo to the Airport Road and Ngbo to Okwo Market Road, these are promises made in the campaign of 2015, it is not an easy thing, it is not convenient for us but through God’s mercies and grace, we must keep our promises, this we must do.” In his remarks, one of the contractors, Dakoru Atukpa expressed satisfaction for being considered worthy of executing the project and assured that they would abide by all specifications and deliver on schedule.

He called on other governors to take a clue from Governor Umahi’s ingenuity to develop their states instead of relying solely on receipts from the Federation Account. In different parts of the state, the government has also constructed over 12 flyovers with some still on-going.

The flyovers are Presco, constructed over the Abakaliki/Enugu Expressway, Akanu Ibiam flyover constructed on the Tran-Sharan Highway, International Market flyover also constructed on the Tran-Sharan Highway, Ezzamgbo Junction flyover constructed on the Abakaliki/Enugu Expressway, Nkalagu flyover also located on Abakaliki/Enugu Expressway, Uburu flyover constructed opposite new Medical University on Uburu/Mpu/Ishiagu Road, there is another flyover constructed after the Medical University in the area and Abaomege flyover constructed on the Afikpo/Abakaliki highway among others.

The flyovers that are currently under construction in the state include; Edda Hill, located in Afikpo South Local Government Area of the state which is nearing completion, Amasiri flyover and International Airport flyover among others. Umahi during the live broadcast said: “Our flyovers are going on, the average construction period of our flyovers with grade 40 concrete remains nine to 12 months. The last two flyovers we shall be constructing include one in Afikpo and one by Ogbe Hausa junction and all the ongoing projects and the Edda flyover are all on the verge of completion, that Edda flyover that defied the courage of many men is 70% done and we will finish it before the end of this year and we will deploy it.”

Apart from the flyovers and concrete roads, the government has done many other projects including a shopping mall, new Medical University, modern hospital complex, which have all been completed, while an International Airport has reached an advanced stage of construction. Chief Ukie Ezeali, the state’s Commissioner for Project Monitoring and Evaluation, said the University Teaching Hospital will provide jobs for 10,000 Nigerians. He said the hospital would handle critical cases like kidney transplants, open heart surgeries, chemotherapy, In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other ailments that make Nigerians seek medical solutions abroad.

“This hospital has the capacity to create over 10,000 jobs within its valuechain and transform the economy of the host community and contribute immensely to reduce unemployment in Ebonyi and Nigeria in general. “We have technologies that were used for the project, which give rise to technology transfer such as installation of elevators and escalators, Aluco Board and others that are specialized work, which people of Ebonyi were not used to. “There is are fascinating male and female hostels, with over 1,000 students’ capacity each, the gate and generator houses to control access to the hostel and provide alternative power source for the comfort of the students,” he said. Ezeali added that a solar power plant with installed capacity of 500KVA inverter to provide undisrupted power supply for the comfort of the students was also on standby.

He said there was also a four-storey build containing 66 two-bedroom flats for junior staff and another four-storey building containing 46 three-bedroom flats for senior staff. He further explained that there was a magnificent ultramodern school block where all studies and other academic activities would be taking place and also an administrative block called the ‘Utility Building’.

“The Utility Building will house the office of the University Administrator and other administrative staff of the university with a supermarket and a pharmaceutical store on the ground floor. “All departments and sections of the university will be an independent gated community with its own installed power plant.

“Solar energy street lights and generator powered street lights will be all over the school to ensure excellent visibility at night,” he added. He called on people of the state to ignore slanderous claims and shenanigans of cynics and detractors against Umahi. According to him, the cynics are simply confounded by the outstanding performance of the governor across all sectors to the point of loss of their ability to put their emotions in check in public.

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