Abia: Taking Development To The Grassroots

Abia: Taking Development To The Grassroots

27th March 2024, NewsOrient
Opinion, Column, News
By Emeka Nwosu, PhD

Yesterday, the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Alex Chioma Otti, flagged off the construction of the 11.5 Km Nunya-Eluama road located within the Isuikwuato Local Government Area of the State. This road is very strategic because it lies at the heart of the food belt of the State. It also connects several rural farming communities such as Umuebere, Umunnekwu, Amiyi Obinohia, and Amaba, including Umuobiala where the abandoned Ulonna North farm settlement is situated.

It is pleasing to note that Governor Otti is not only focusing attention on the major cities of Aba and Umuahia, but also on the agrarian communities that constitute the food-producing areas of the State. With the flag-off of the Nunya-Eluama road which passes through many agriculturally-rich rural villages in Isuikwuato within the Abia North Senatorial District, Dr. Otti has shown even-handedness and inclusiveness in his approach to the economic development of the State.

It is now quite clear that in the consideration of the Otti-led government in Abia State, it is not only the major towns and city dwellers that matter, but also the rural communities count in the scheme of things.

The construction of the Nunya-Eluama road is definitely going to open up that corridor and help empower the various farming communities in that axis of the State.

On completion of the road, it would provide easy access to key towns in Isuikwuato, including Ovim, Akara Isu and Uturu. It would also make it easier for the various farming communities within the area to conveniently evacuate their farm products to the urban centres of Umuahia and Aba. This, would logically lead to the economic empowerment of the affected communities as they would be in a better position to earn enough money for their productive activities.

The completion of the Nunya-Eluama road would also help in reducing travelling time for the people of Isuikwuato, Alayi, Item, Abiriba, and Ohafia or travelers to those places if they are coming from Enugu axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt highway. Instead of going through Umuahia, they can now connect to those towns through the Nunya-Eluama road under a reasonably short time. In addition, the road, during festive periods, will help to reduce the heavy traffic that builds up around the Abia Tower, and extending into Umuahia city.

As noted earlier, this road passes through the Umuobiala area which houses the Ulonna North farm settlement built by the defunct administration of the Eastern Region led by late Dr. Michael Iheonukara Okpara. When fully completed, this road would have a reverberating impact on the farm settlement and adjoining villages. The evacuation of farm produce, particularly perishable goods would become seamless and less stressful, thus translating into very rewarding economic benefits to the rural dwellers in that part of the State.

With the flag-off of this critical road, Governor Otti has made a bold statement on the commitment of his administration to the opening up of the rural communities of the State, with a view to transforming the economic fortunes of the people at the grassroots.

It is certain that the road, upon completion, would attract investments, especially in the agro-allied sector. This would create employment opportunities for the teeming youths in the villages.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Otti highlighted the strategic importance of the road and the projected catalytic role it is to play in transforming the economic and social fortunes of the rural communities. He stated: “This project leads into our general strategy of opening up our rural communities for greater prosperity through quicker access to urban markets and increased investments which ultimately would yield massive employment opportunities for thousands of our young people.

“Our economic development programme is, therefore, structured to achieve balanced development across parts of the state. This is to effectively harness the comparative advantages of communities to improve the fortunes of individuals, families and businesses.

He concluded by restating the commitment of his administration to the holistic development of the state with a view to ensuring that no part of the state is left behind. In his words: “For us, every part of the state is important in the new Abia project. Our plan is to steadily invest in public infrastructure for the purpose of making the communities economically viable and attractive to investors”.

The road contract is being executed by Chinese Civil Engineering Construction Company (CCECC) Limited, one of the foremost construction giants in the country. The choice of the company is informed by the need for quality delivery.

The flag-off attracted many prominent sons and daughters of Isuikwuato, including the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Onyeabo Ihejirika, Rtd. In his remarks on the occasion, the former Army Chief commended Governor Otti for his transformative approach to governance since he assumed the mantle of leadership in the state.

He noted that good governance was all about infrastructural development, security and promotion of the welfare of the people, adding that Otti was redefining the standards of leadership in Abia State.

A week earlier, Governor Otti had flagged off the construction of the 30 Km Arochukwu-Ndi Okereke-Ozuabam road which was criminally neglected by the previous PDP-led administrations in the State. The project and the Nunya-Eluama road are expected to be delivered within 12 calendar months. One can only imagine the level of impact these projects are to make in the lives of the affected communities which have remained inaccessible for decades because of their deplorable state.

It is the collective prayers of the people of Abia that God would continue to enable the Labour Party-led administration in the State to sustain the momentum.

Dr. Emeka Nwosu, a Policy Analyst, writes from Umuahia.
Email: cdnwosu2@gmail.com

~ NewsOrient