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The need to fix Aba- Ikot-Ekpene Road

Source: pointblanknews.com
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Aba- Ikot-Ekpene Road is unarguably strategic to the economy of

Abia State. The road links Aba, the economic heartbeat of the state

to Akwa Ibom ancd Cross Rivers State and extends to the

neighbouring Central African country, Cameroon .
Traders from these neighbouring states form buck of the businessmen

that patronise various businesses in the commercial city. Also

during the heydays of made-in Aba shoes, markets such as Cameroon

and Togo were captured.
To describe the Aba- Ikot- Ekpene road as the proverbial ” goose that

lays the golden egg” may not be out of place. Unfortunately, to say that

the road, especially the Abia axis of the road is in a deplorable

condition is an understatement. The road is a disaster begging for

serious attention.
The road has been roundly neglected by previous administrations of

the federal government. The road project was reportedly awarded

in 2009 to Brent Investment Ltd, by the late President Umaru

Yar'Adua's administration at the cost of N2.9 billion with a

completion period of 20 months; the contract was meant to

reconstruct the failed section of the highway.
It has been alleged that inadequate budgetary provisions in the

past years has been responsible for the delay and the gradual

failure of the road hampering economic activities in the commercial

city of Aba and other cities in the South-east.
For example, the federal government did not make budgetary

provisions for Aba-Ikot Ekpene road in 2013 budget, and so the

contractor did not do much in terms of coverage and project

completion. Also, the 2014 budget which was tagged all inclusive

with a provision of N120 billion for the Federal Ministry of

Works for capital projects could not proffer the solution.

The deplorable state of the road is exerting serious negative

impact both on the Abia economy and citizens of Aba, especially

those communities located on the fringes of this federal highway

such as Alaoji, Ntigha, Umuafukwu, Ohanze, Umuokpo, and Onicha

Ngwa, just to mention but few.
These communities are mostly agrarian communities and depend,

to a greater extent, their farm produce for a living. For these

communities to access Aba, which is their nearest commercial

city, is akin to the proverbial “camel passing through the eye

of the needle”. For them to access the town, they swim like

amphibians and engage in a more tortuous odyssey than that of

the “Magi” in T.S Elliot’s “The Journey of Magi”.

To compound the situation, a sister road network, Opobo Road,

linking Aba and some parts of Ukwa with some communities in

Akwa Ibom down to Uyo is also in a deplorable state. The road

is characterised by some failed portions which are menacingly

threatening to cut off these areas.
Thank God, all hope is not lost, and despite how dark the

cloud is, there is always a “silver linen”.Governor Okezie

Ikpeazu has on different occasions pronounced some intended

interventions on the road .He said that he has entered into

discussions with his Akwa Ibom counterpart, Governor Emmanuel

Udom for some interventions on the road. The second level of

intervention is the proposed by-pass that will cut through

Ururuka Road and burst at a point around Onicha ngwa, along

the same Aba-Ikot Ekpene Road.
The AfDB team was accompanied by another team from the

Federal Ministry of Works, Abuja and had on the spot

assessments of Aba- Port- Harcourt and Ikot- Ekpene roads

.The inspection tour offered them the opportunity of first

hand information of the level of decay of the roads and the

trauma and suffering of the residents and travelers in and

around these two key roads .AfDB is currently doing the

technical analysis and studies of the roads before releasing

funds for repairs of the roads. The visit has offered new

hopes that these roads would be fixed.
While Gov. Ikpeazu should be commended for his infrastructural

revolution in Aba, there is a passionate appeal to the federal

government for urgent intervention on the federal lying on the

fringes of Aba.
Road infrastructure is very important to the people of Aba

because apart from the fact that the city is the commercial

nerve centre of the state, it is fast assuming the hub of Small

and Medium Scale Enterprises of the country.
Ukegbu, a public policy analyst and communication strategist, writes from

Umuahia, Abia State.
The post The need to fix Aba- Ikot-Ekpene Road appeared first on Pointblank News .