By Kingsley Maduforo
A Chinese Minister of Transport, Mr. Weng Mengyong, once said “If you have roads, you have wealth.”
The above statement sounds literally true because national targets for growth and poverty reduction rely heavily on an effective road transport sector. The inability to access job and service is because of unimproved or expensive road network which is an important element for social inclusion.
Socio-economic development and economic growth of any nation is strongly linked to its road infrastructure. This has been one of the major factors hampering development in Abia State before the coming of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu. This is most felt in Aba, the ancient city and the commercial hub of the state.
For the past five years or more, Gov. Ikpeazu has shown his commitment to change the long negative narratives of roads in Abia by completely constructing over 80 solid roads across the three senatorial zones, 70% of which is constructed with cement pavement technology which has a lifespan of 30 years.
However, the state of Federal Roads in Abia state is one of the major concerns of Gov. Ikpeazu and he has called on the Federal Government for urgent intervention. Abia is directly linked to seven states within the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones, and the roads leading to these states are all in comatose. For instance: Aba-Port Harcourt Road, a segment of Enugu-Port Harcourt highway, Aba-Ikot Ekpene, Umuahia-Ohafia-Arochukwu Road and Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Road that link Abia to Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, are deathtrap and require urgent intervention from the Federal Government.
The reconstruction of these federal roads will bring numerous benefits which include: improved accessibility to social infrastructure, increased access to education, health facilities, social interaction and mobility. It will also improve access to markets through the reduction of transport cost and the marketability of our Made-in-Aba products.
Considering all these facts and benefits, the time for the federal government to intervene is now in order to transform the living condition of its citizens.
In Abia today, Gov. Ikpeazu is on speed lane in addressing all the challenges facing the state and to stop any limitation that will not guarantee growth and development of the state. For Gov. Ikpeazu, they are of crucial significance in influencing political, economic and social progress of the state.