Residents of Aba, Abia State were in upbeat mood last week as they jubilated with His Excellency, Governor Alex Chioma Otti, OFR, as the Abia State Executive Governor flagged off the reconstruction of the 6.8km Aba-Port Harcourt Road at Aba the State’s commercial nerve-centre.
The Honourable Commissioner for works, Engr Otumchere Oti kickstarted proceedings at the ceremony in Aba when he said that “…the new Aba-Port Harcourt Road is a total of 6.8km, and it is made up of 5.7km from the beginning of Port Harcourt Road by Ngwa road to the end of the intersection with the
Enugu-Umuahia-Aba-Port Harcourt expressway by Alaoji, and another 1.1km from the intersection with Ngwa road to the junction of Azikiwe road by Asa road.”
Governor Alex Chioma Otti in his remarks at the event also said that the road which was first constructed by former Governor Sam Mbakwe has been in a state of disrepair and abandonment for over 20 years occasioning avoidable flood and other environmental problems and, consequently, shut down of businesses.
He said, “I am glad that we are taking yet another strategic step in fulfilling one of my promises to break the jinx of Port Harcourt Road, Aba and revive the long abandoned economic activities along this corridor; activities that once gave Aba a set of peculiar commercial and trading advantages, starting from the early 1980s when our revered leader, Dee Sam Mbakwe, Governor of old Imo State constructed this road to feed into the booming oil industrial complex in Port Harcourt.”
The Governor recalled with nostalgia that the road corridor in past decades emerged as one of the busiest parts of Aba and a go-to destination for people and businesses in Abia. He positively assured Aba residents and Abians in general that the years of abandonment of the important road are over.
On the Abia State Government’s choice of Nigeria’s leading engineering construction company, Julius Berger Plc as the contractors for the project, Governor Alex Chioma Otti described the decision as “another milestone to bring definite relief to the people.”
He said, he had earlier led representatives of the company to inspect the road because, it was his view that it will take a long time to complete the process of bringing life to the corridor. “We were very careful not to repeat the errors of the past. It is better to construct the road and do it well…. I told our people we shall only go for the best because that is what you (Abians) deserve. We then accepted the engineering designs and bid of the foremost engineering construction company, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.” This remark was received by a resounding applause by the teeming and excited audience.
“I believe that Julius Berger is the best and, under my watch, only the best is good for Abia State. So, forget the heartbreaks of the past on this project. Look into the future as Julius Berger is here to give you the best of their expertise and put happy smiles on your faces again,” the Governor added, even as he called for the cooperation of residents with the contractors. Governor Otti concluded by saying that on completion, there will be restoration for all the businesses and property value for residents of the area.
Also speaking during the event, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Engr Dr Lars Richter thanked Governor Otti for his administration’s confidence in Julius Berger, adding that, “…we are humbled and challenged by this award. I promise that we will employ our unique expertise to deliver the project to specifications. We assure you that you will get quality delivery.”
Counting on the goodwill of the people on the project corridor for peaceful project progress and success, Richter solicited the cooperation of residents of Aba during the reconstruction period and even beyond.
While the Governor led the State Executive Council members and other stakeholders to the landmark event, in the delegation of Julius Berger were Dr Lars Richter, Engr. Friedrich Wieser, Engr Dominic Mueller and Chief Sam Ngbor amongst others.