‘No road there, turn back…’ by Enyinnaya Appolos
I live in Aba, Abia State, somewhere off Faulks Road. One day I was returning from work around 9pm and entered Brass Street from Aba-Owerri Road, but on getting to Okigwe Road by Faulks, Setraco Construction Company had blocked the road with their caterpillar. I turned, and drove into Benz Hotel Road, hoping to find my way home, but all gates in the area have been closed.
What do I do?
I turned again, hit Aba-Owerri Road, drove down to Umuocham Road through Living Word, got to the Ukwuapu Junction, navigated through Umule Road and finally hit Faulks Road, hoping to enter my neighbourhood through Nwala Street. On getting to Nwala Street by Faulks Road, Setraco had blocked the entrance to Nwala due to the ongoing construction.
Then someone trekking home said to me: “Oga no road there, turn back.”
By then it was almost 10pm and I had to call my neighbour, brother, friend and ally, Bright Chinedu Ikeokwu, a.k.a. Osama.
I asked: “Osa, where you dey?”
He replied: “I dey Uloaku house. Where are you?”
“I dey Faulks Road looking for road to Ozioma’s house, Setraco has blocked everywhere.”
Uloaku is his wife, Ozioma is my wife.
Ultimately, he directed me to the path to follow through St. Paul’s.
The story I just shared above is the plight of those living around Faulks Road at Aba and its environs. The reason is because Setraco Construction is doing massive road reconstruction work along Faulks Road, from Brass Junction down to Faulks by the Aba-Port Harcourt Highway.
To those of you who are not at home and attune with goings on in Abia State, Aba to be precise, please I urge you to always ask those at home when you read the lies and propaganda published via social media. Our story is changing from what it used to be. The Abia narrative, Aba in particular, is also changing exponentially. Especially in the area of road infrastructure renewal.
You might want to ask: how did this online video that is making the rounds in the cyberspace emerge?
Some time during the rainy season of last year, the camp of one of the detractors of the present Governor Okezie Ikpeazu administration went round Aba and made a video of Port Harcourt Road and Faulks Road to score a cheap political point. Yes, as at then, Setraco hadn’t moved into Faulks Road. After sharing the video online, they went on to pay for it to air in one of the national tv channels as an “eyewitness report”. Eyewitness report indeed.
As May 12, 2017 approaches, the same camp are at it again. Because they have nothing again to say, all their lies and propaganda have failed them, they resorted to their last year’s lies and propaganda that was unable to help them.
What do they want to achieve with the sharing of this video? Nothing except to create bad blood. Having failed with their unwarranted litigations, they now want to cause bad blood between the Abia State and Federal Government, knowing that Port Harcourt Road that was shown in that video is a federal road.
Despite the fact that Abia State is a Peoples Democratic Party state, there has been a cordial relationship between the state and the All Progressives Congress-controlled Federal Government.
Only recently, the Minister for Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, was in Abia State on a one day visit. During the visit, the former Lagos State Governor visited some very bad federal roads in the state, including Ikot Ekpene Road/Highway Aba. Unfortunately, he was unable to visit the very deplorable Port Harcourt Road.
However, Governor Ikpeazu recently visited Port Harcourt Road and promised to take up the reconstruction of the road despite the fact that it is a federal road. As at the last check, process is almost completed for award of the contract for reconstructing Port Harcourt Road.
Ikpeazu said: “Port Harcourt Road is a federal government road; unfortunately there are no federal citizens. So, we are touched. Initially, you are aware that we have been waiting for ADB (African Development Bank) to give us facility to go into that road and give it the kind of touch we are giving to Faulks road and other areas. But the thing is delaying; we are almost marking our second year anniversary. We think that because of the strategic nature of Port Harcourt road where they manufacture machine tools and fabrication, to bring them to support our battle for the growth of SMEs in our environment, we look into Port Harcourt road at this time. And going there shows that we have developed interest. I have asked some good contractors to look at it. Very soon, we will advertise that road. We will do it.”
It is worthy of note here that the Federal Government has seen the programmes and the direction Governor Ikpeazu is navigating and decided to partner with him for the interest of all. Little wonder the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, only recently commended Governor Ikpeazu’s :smart business approach to governance”.
The Acting President went further to state: “Aba is very strategic and important to the country in terms of innovation, manufacturing and production. Nigeria has no business with China if all hands are on deck to develop Aba as a major industrial Base.”
If that is the case as buttressed by no less a person than the Acting President, why can’t these ill-fated detractors and their minions realize that the game is up. Shouldn’t they know by now that time for politics is over, and it’s time for serious and “smart business approach to governance”.
The Ikpeazu Government will be two years on May 29 and in two years, Ikpeazu has shown very strong signs that he means business. And in those two years, he has been in and out of courts with a combined team of ill-fated and disgruntled detractors, who have decided to be a clog on the wheels of Abia State’s progress through unnecessary desperate litigations for the governorship seat of the state.
Yes Ikpeazu has been in various courts since he assumed office, and yet remains unperturbed and resolute in delivering democracy dividends to Abians.
So to those of you sharing the propaganda online video: “No road there, turn back.”
Ikpeazu has refused to be distracted. He is working very hard to fix Aba. This your video failed you before and it will certainly fail you again. So: “No road there, turn back.”
• Appolos, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, writes from Isiko, Abia State.