By Adewale Sanyaolu Despite being a country with the second largest deposit of bitumen in the world, Nigeria, according to Foraminifera, a marketing and research firm, spends about N2 billion yearly on importation of asphalt, a derivative of bitumen. The occurrence of bitumen deposits in Nigeria is twice the amount of existing reserves of crude…
From Okey Sampson, Aba
There was a time for several hours, men of the underworld invaded the Ndiegoro axis of Aba, Abia State popularly known as Amamong at the middle of a night and held the residents hostage, taking all the time in the world to raid houses one after the other.
Report had it that the hoodlums after spending all night to raid the area unchallenged, even had the liberty to take their bath in one of the buildings. Although security agencies were alerted during the operation which lasted for several hours, there was not much they (the security agencies) could do because of lack of access roads in the area.
Apart from security issues, attending to fire outbreaks and other emergencies was also problematic leading to attendant loss of lives and property.
Indeed, a trip to some of these areas during the rainy season is akin to a journey to the valley of death. Residents whose shops and offices are located within the city centre are subjected to all manner of stress daily because of the deplorable nature of roads.
Touched by this and in an attempt to fulfill his election campaign promises, the member representing Aba North and Aba South in the House of Representatives, Ossy Prestige whose campaign slogan was “Aba must be fixed” decided to grade roads in the area as in other parts of Aba, at least to make them accessible.
For over three hours recently, he went round parts of the city to monitor the progress of work on the ongoing road rehabilitation exercise in the two councils which make up his constituency.
Prestige who said he was using his personal money to fund the project stated that he would have loved to asphalt the roads after the grading exercise, but for paucity of funds.
He, however, had more cheery news for his constituents when he said he had attracted the asphalting of the Garden Avenue, off Okigwe Road, a 7.5km road project, which he said the Federal Government would execute with a good drainage system.
He solicited his constituents’ continued prayers even as he assured them that he would never relent in using his personal or government funds to improve their lives and attract government presence.
He said it was to tackle the issue of bad roads in the area head-on that he bought a grading machine and had since moved into the affected areas to begin massive opening up of internal roads across his constituency.
According to him, “Aba must be fixed. In the next couple of days, I shall be bringing in an investor from Korea who will partner with the shoe makers in Aba. Mr Jacky Zhang will be coming to inspect what the shoe makers are doing, see how he is going to help them improve technologically and as well take their wares to the global scene for marketing and attracting investors with like minds.”
Residents who were elated by what the man they sent to the House of Representatives was doing expressed it in various ways.
Godwin Onyeka, a resident of Ngwa Road in Aba South Local Government said: “Our situation before now was hopeless; apart from the food we eat, life at Ngwa road and its environs could best be compared with life at various Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps across the country.
“Our condition before Hon Ossy Prestige began the massive grading of roads in the area was very pathetic for it was gathered that some of the Aba South residents especially those living at Ohanku, Obohia and others pay thrice of the normal transportation fare to get to their homes while those at Nkwo Ngwa or Umuogele have to pay able-bodied men to ferry them through the flood or stagnant water or risked being carried away by the flood,” he said.
Residents of Aba North residing in Osusu, St. Eugene, Ije Avenue and other adjoining streets including Samuel Njoku, also spoke glowingly of what the Reps member was doing in their area.
They recounted how for over a year they resorted to using public transportation as they parked their cars at home because of the deplorable roads due largely to neglect by both state and local governments even when they claimed to have been punctual in paying their taxes and other levies.
Ifeanyi who lives on St. Eugene Road said: “I blame the past government in the state and at the local government level for our woes. Apart from Orji Kalu’s administration that tried asphalting and grading some of the internal roads in the area, subsequent administration was concerned with collection of revenue and failed to engage in infrastructural development project in the last eight years, leaving the roads in a mess.”
Ifeanyi and others thanked Prestige for remembering them and urged him to extend such gestures to other parts of the constituency.
They hope that the efforts of the Abia lawmaker would go a long way in complimenting the efforts of the incumbent Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s administration in alleviating the sufferings of commuters in the commercial city.