The Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has advised the Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu to stop looking for who to blame for his failure to do any meaningful project in the State, in the last six years.
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu had noted that the Federal Government was yet to pay any money to Abia State Government on works it carried out on federal roads in the state.
The governor said in Aba, on Wednesday, 24th November added that despite that, his administration would continue to do work on federal roads to alleviate the sufferings of his people.
“Port Harcourt Road in Aba is a federal road, we are building it and others in the state, but the Federal Government is yet to refund us any money for the federal roads we are building in the state.
“Whether they refund us or not, we will continue to build these roads because they are used by our people and we won’t allow them to suffer. We have given the contractor N1 billion to give us asphalted one lane on Port Harcourt Road from end to end and before long, another lane will be ready, making it two, out of the six lanes the road will carry.”
He said his administration has built and commissioned 41 roads in Aba, out of which 95 percent of them are still standing because they were built with cement rigid technology.
The governor said 20 roads were ongoing in different parts of the commercial city.
“Nobody was paid N6 billion as being speculated for Faulks Road but we paid the contractor some money and work is still on going. It is only about 30 percent of the whole length of the road that is bad; the most important thing is that we have recovered Ukwu Mango portion of the road; the contractors are going back to site and before the end of January 2022, that road will be completed and commissioned.”
The governor said his administration was tackling five critical roads in the city which included Ngwa, Obiohia, Ohanku, Port Harcourt and Omuma Roads, which he said would be delivered before the end of the coming dry season.
Ikpeazu said his government’s efforts at rehabilitating the road road that leads to the NNPC Depot at Osisioma was thwarted by a contractor, who claimed he was given the contract by the federal ministry of works but was yet to commence work.
Ikpeazu promised that the contentious Osisioma Flyover would be completed and commissioned within the coming dry season.
But the BMO in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, BMO said that it was shocking that the Governor is attempting to shift blame for his inefficiency and incompetence on the Federal Government.
“We find it laughable that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State has been telling everyone that cared to listen that the Federal Government is to blame for the infrastructure challenges in his State.
“Indeed, the question that came to our mind is how could the Buhari administration be liable for Abia’s poor infrastructure?
“According to the Governor in a recent interview with a select team of journalists, the failure of the Federal Government to refund the State for some of the Federal roads it has fixed has caused the State some setback.
“But even if the claim is true, we fail to see how this could be the reason for the State to be in the condition it has been for years.
“We wonder how that could be a valid reason for the poor state of one of the most important roads in the State, Faulks Road, which incidentally was constructed by the State at N6.8bn but which has since collapsed and is now impassable.
“So it was not surprising that a former gubernatorial candidate in the State, Alex Otti recently argued that ‘Umuahia has shown no sign of development, as it has literally remained a glorified village, while Aba, the former heartbeat of Igboland, is now wearing a more notorious look, like the headquarters of a refuse dump”.
BMO also noted that contrary to the impression given by Governor Ikpeazu, the Buhari administration has been good to the State.
“We can easily recall that the Ariaria International Market is the first major market in the country that the President ensured has an Independent Power Plant (IPP), in 2019.
“Interestingly, the road leading to the market is the same Faulks Road the Governor spent billions of naira on but which collapsed within a few weeks of its commissioning.
“In fact, we understand that the road leading to his homestead has not been completed, nor Azikiwe or Asa road, yet he wants to hold the Federal Government responsible for the poor road infrastructure in Abia State.
“So we are at a loss as to how a Governor would fail to own up to his failures as a result of his reliance on poorly equipped and incompetent contractors, but instead resort to falsehood against the Federal Government.
“We make bold to say that this is the regular pastime of many Governors who believe the best way to stay relevant is to demonize the Buhari administration rather than provide good governance or even pay workers salaries as at when due”.
BMO urged Nigerians to be wary of State Governors who are always quick to provide excuses for their inability to live up to the responsibility of their office.
Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu, who assured that important roads in Aba, like Eziukwu, Cemetery, Ozuomba and Azikiwe Road will get fixed by his administration, revealed that money had been paid to asphalt one lane of the deplorable Port Harcourt Road, and that the government will release additional funds for the second lane asphalt with drainage system.
The governor said “there is a plot to isolate Aba”, despite being the commercial nerve center of Southeast.
“If you can let me and my people receive visitors and patrons from neighbouring states who come to buy our goods, what you’re doing is to isolate my people.”
“At some point, I began to feel that there is a conspiracy to stagnant the economic life wire of a state like Abia. Quickly take your mind back to 2014, which road would have used to Ikot-Ekpene?
“You’re in Aba you can’t go to Ikot-Ekpene, Port Harcourt and Enugu. You’re in Umuahia, you can’t go to Ikot-Ekpene. So, we’re supposed to have been isolated as people living in Siberia and left to die? Faulks Road, Aba.
Ikpeazu said that it took the wisdom of his government to open up an alternative route that now brings people from Akwa-Ibom State to Aba who constitute 60% of Aba’s clientele into the city.
“Cut off that alternative route, you cut off oxygen from this city and everybody will start crying. At a point, I threatened to roll out machines to get the road from Aba to Port Harcourt fixed because of how important it is.” He added.