Aba and the Eighteen Thousand Illegal Buildings On The drainage.


Aba Town in the South East geo-political zone of Nigeria came into world news in the colonial days of1929 when women revolted over imposition of taxes among other unfavorable policies. Since this historic event, Aba has been basking on the euphoria, dwelling and growing with the can-do spirit, having the will and strength of an elephant in accomplishing tasks no matter how daunting. Little wonder the fond name, Enyimba.        Aba can easily gather to challenge any action against their interest and comfort.  Equally, they can quickly assemble to promote or support good gestures. It is on record that Aba business and bureaucratic elites made the highest monetary contributions to the then Abia State Movement, which midwived the birth of God?s Own State. Aba is as resilient as a stallion and strong as a bull. Aba is proactive and dogged, be it in commerce or industry. Aba is human and can at times like the Roman mob, be deceived into unwholesome actions.

Aba strives in all human endeavors and thrives almost in all, capitalizing in commerce to a world class level. Beside this, education is of high reckoning as Aba spawns one of the highest numbers of primary and secondary schools enrollment. It also outnumbers all other towns in Abia in terms of the domiciliation of tertiary institutions with not less than 4 reputable higher institutions as evident in the Polytechnics, School of Nursing and Midwifery, School of Health Technology, and Abia State University teaching Hospital. All these are in the overburdened payroll of the state government.

In sports, Abia leads. Enyimba Football Club, though a household name is of international status, having won one of the most prized laurels for Abia and Nigeria at large.

It is on this background that the State Government is concerned in the welfare and reputation of Aba in spite of the lean resources available. In the bid to make Aba the beautiful bride, the topography of being a table land, has not helped matters. Drainage easily blocks, domestic waste once rose to a mountainous level, claiming affinity with Kilimanjaro until the Abia State Government went into partnership with some who claimed expertise in disposal and conversion. Unsatisfied by the pace of action, the people-oriented T. A. Orji?s administration, galvanized the restless ASEPA, then led by Dr Cosmos Ndukwe into a near day and night operation. Lest we forget, Aba rumbled when the last elected chairmen owed a backlog of worker?s salaries for upwards of ten months, it was the governor who came to their rescue. As you are completing one project site in Aba, they curiously point at another.

Unknown to many, His Excellency has sited infrastructural projects in all the nooks and crannies of Aba Zone.

These are few examples of projects executed in the first tenure:

Construction of a functional water borehole with fire hydrant at the Aba Fire Service StationRepair of Umuojima Road AbaRehabilitation of Nwogu/Ukonu, Ajagba, Ajiwe Street AbaRehabilitation of Adazi & Okwunuka Road, AbaRepair of East Street Road, AbaRepair of Umule Road AbaRehabilitation of potholes along Queens & Ochefu Road, AbaRehabilitation of Umule by Tonimas junction, AbaRehabilitation of Milverton and Hospital RoadsRehabilitation of Ehi Ehere, Azikiwe and Asa Roads AbaRehabilitation of Osusu Road, AbaConstruction of ?A? Line road in Ariaria marketConstruction of Ikonne Street AbaConstruction of ?F? Line Road Aba in Ariaria marketConstruction of Aba Abayi Nchokoro Ohanku roadConstruction of Timber and Allied Products Market road AbaReconstruction and expansion of Brass/Faulks Road AbaConstruction of Okwu Avenue AbaReconstruction of P.H. Road AbaConstruction of Nwauba Street Aba

One year in the second tenure has witnessed more fireworks

Dualisation /reconstruction of Aba Owerri Road AbaReconstruction/ dualisation of phase1 Aba-Owerri road Aba (from Osisioma Express road junction to Umuimo Road Junction) 3.4kmRehabilitation of 5no selected roads in Aba Metropolis-Ehi Road (2.1km) Ehere Road (0.8), Ogbor-Hill, Azikiwe road, Asa Road all in AbaReconstruction/rehabilitation of Ohanku (4.7km) AbaRehabilitation of Osisioma park Ekeakpara road (4.5km) AbaReconstruction of Asa Road, Aba Owerri Road by Umuiron junction to Aba Motor Park and asphalt overly of Asa Road AbaConstruction of unity Garden/Osisioma Ring Road, AbaDemolition/carting away of twelve (12) Storey buildings and landscaping/modeling of old Osisioma park, Aba.Construction/dualisation of Aba-Owerri road phase 11 (from Umuimo Road junction to Aba Motor Park) and Asphalt overlay fromReconstruction of port-Harcourt Enugu Express way from Osisioma JunctionReconstruction of Obohia Road, AbaConstruction of Additional stretch of the Osisioma Ring Road, AbaConstruction/ rehabilitation of Samek Road, AbaConstruction of Old Express Road, Aba

All in the bid to make Aba work, His Excellency Dr T. A. Orji has made liberal appointments to accommodate settlers and natives alike. For instance, the former Transition Chairman of Aba North Local Government Area is a known Aba resident from a neighboring sister State. It will be illuminating to cast your mind back to a few occurrences before the present peace in the state. Aba was invaded by criminals who zoomed in as if they were for an international seminar. They made life miserable and unbearable for residents and the numerous visitors who thronged Aba on trade missions.

The soldiers who have encamped in Abia State are neither tourists nor vacationers. They are on a serious mission of peacekeeping and crime combating. His Excellency Dr T A Orji pressed his presidential button for this to happen and makes a colossal budget for a popular saying goes, ?he who pays the piper dictates the tune?.

?The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy?. Martin Luther King Jnr.

Chief T A Orji in his service-driven nature is aware of these wise words of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr and has stood firmly with Aba. He is equally cognizant of the obvious facts that Aba is of high political and social awareness, therefore no body in his right minds can afford to toy with Aba, not in the least Chief T. A. Orji. In truth, he is aware that Aba is laden with hardworking people who have unimaginable vote potentials.

As it appears, Aba gets more than required attention, evident in billions spent in construction, maintenance of infrastructure and crime prevention. Unfortunately the lifestyle of some Aba residents has become a constant source of sleepless nights to leadership in Abia. When Aba people block drainages which results in flooding, the governor takes the blame. When the submerged road disintegrate and eroded away, the state Government draws unusual flak as if nothing had been done even when the same road was worked on in the last season.

As it stands today, One thousand eight hundred houses are built without authority on the drainage channel ensconcing environmental hazards.

The Abia helmsman has sworn to sanitize Aba at all cost but he equally warned that that he wouldn?t spend all that accrues to the state on Aba at the detriment of other cities. As he bemoaned, these buildings are standing on the drainage and should go down the drains for Aba to work, no matter whose ox is gored

These projects listed above, though a few examples are for all to see, especially those in doubt. They are physical and can be seen and touched. These are all exclusive of other efforts of Ochendo of restoring the days eaten by the desolating locust, including the liquidation of salaries owed numerous LGAs in Aba, not talking about the donation of the supply of transformers aimed at improving energy supply to the teeming industries that constitute the Aba main stay.

?Aba wise up, others are watching and waiting for your characteristic leadership. As it is said, the aged cannot watch the goat strangle itself with the leash. Equally true that no responsible leadership can fiddle like Emperor Nero while some residents indulge in the utterly absurd.

By Eddie Onuzuruike

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