Saturday, 13 June 2015

Article: Irrefutable Facts About Nkpor Old Road Completed Project & Related Issues In Anambra State

By Emeka Umeagbalasi

This is not only the fact as it is, but also as it ought to be, over who completed the asphalt and gutter work on Nkpor Old Road between Obi and Obiano administrations. To add to the fact that the Road did not have any leftover as un-asphalted portion under Obi administration, I personal observed the last asphalt of the Road at Nawfia-Omuokpu-Amawbia section in early 2014 and that between Enugu-Ukwu and Nawfia in late December 2013. Peter “Okwute” Obi fought hard to complete the Road particularly following APC and Ngige's scornful use of it as one of their campaign weapons against him and his APGA party, during the 2013 gubernatorial poll that brought Akpokuedike-Aguleri to Anambra's gubernatorial seat; to the effect that the Road having been awarded since 2008; is Obi's longest lasting road project in the State; which was one of the reasons why Obi completed it by fire by force. At Intersociety, we also fought for re-asphalting of the failed portions of the Road with several letters and offline messages and information to Obi and his Gubernatorial Company.
The failed portions of the Road then were between Nkpor Roundabout and Afor Nkpor and between Afor Nkpor and Iyienu Hospital at Ogidi. The portions were first asphalted at the beginning of the project in 2008 with gutters not capable of containing and ferrying enough floods particularly the Afor Nkpor and Iyienu axis. Owing to consistent attention drawn to that effect by Intersociety, the “Okwute” administration per Chief Calistus Ilozumba re-did the gutters and opened a bigger flood channel bursting at the Expressway. Later, the failed portions were re-asphalted and the entire Road project completed by the same Obi before his March 17, 2014 exit. "W Is W" or “Willie Is Workin” and Company came and marked the Road; likewise others, leading to its prettier look. Yes, it is true that the flood pit dug at Ogidi to corner and swallow the floods from the Road is over stretched. It requires maintenance including seasonal clearing of its accumulated debris and soil.
 
Therefore, the present Governor’s public pronouncement of completing most of the Nkpor Old Road’s project is statistically incorrect. This position would have been right if applied in the case of Amawbia-Amansea section of the Awka-Enugu Dual Carriage Way; where when completed, 95% of the work, in addition to its three flyovers, will expressly be credited to the Government of Willie Obiano. The former Obi administration only flagged it off with payment of mobilization fees. The Obiano administration came and added three flyovers to it. Presently, the project remains the major project of the present administration in the State. The Federal Government has already acknowledged owing Anambra State a total of N14.6 billion arising from works done on a number of federal roads in the State including the one under reference, but with the exclusion of the three flyovers.
 
As it concerns the Asaba-Umunya section of the Onitsha-Enugu Dual Carriage Way, it is correct to assert that while the former Obi’s administration completed 90% of the reconstruction project; the Obiano administration took over and completed the remaining 10% including the Upper Iweka-Army Barracks service lanes and the Lagos Park-Army Barracks Right side of the two main lanes as well as the Borromeo Roundabout. It was also the Obiano administration that re-built the former Oshogbo/Arewa Park at the Bridgehead as well as the Lagos Park side of the recreation garden.
 
My decision to respond to the foregoing is not only to put the records straight independently, but also to warn against making politics out of the completed and ongoing public projects in the State by loyalists or camps of the former and present administrations. The present Government of Anambra State started well by marking all the completed roads in the State and giving them some kind of road safety colorations. There is nothing wrong for the present administration to complete and commission any uncompleted public project in the State including road project, but there is something wrong when facts are misrepresented and negative politics made out of it. After all, the present Governor publicly pledged before his swearing in, to consolidate on “Continuation, Completion and Commission” as it concerns ongoing public projects under the former Obi administration.
 
To build or reconstruct roads is one thing but to maintain and extend their lifespan is a different thing altogether. The Obiano administration started commendably the “operation zero portholes on Anambra Roads”; sadly the project is not consolidated. Owing to high vehicle presence and usage in the State as well as the State’s porous earth terrain; there are incessant road failures, warranting round the clock road management including refilling of failed portions at all times. These, the Obiano administration must do without hesitation; likewise seasonal clearing and re-opening of blocked gutters and drainages.
 
(Umeagbalasi Is A Leading Independent Stakeholder In Anambra State Governance)

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