Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
Residents of Nkaliki in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi state woke up one morning to behold caterpillars and other heavy machines used for road construction as well as chippings, rods, trips of sand, cement and other materials hipped on various portions of their long dilapidated road.
Thereafter history was made when a 7-year-old girl, Miss Chiamaka Okezie, who lives with her family in the area, was invited to flag off the construction by cutting the tape in a modest ceremony that attracted teeming number of residents.
There was celebration all over the place and the people literally heaved a sigh of relief especially considering what they have had to go through before the commencement of the work. The road was impassable as it was usually slippery during rainy season. Residents and the members of the Redeemed Christian Church of God who worship in their church located at the end of the road said that they have had series of harrowing experience on the road.
One of them was Mrs Mary Odii who hails from Okposi community in Ohaozara Local Government Area of the state. She narrated that the road was so bad that at a point, she wished she had the financial power to finance the road construction herself, just to see that it is done.
The pastor in charge of the church, Prof. Amari Omaka, (SAN) said that some of his church members have been lamenting over the pitiable state of the road: “This road leads to the church and it is in a very pitiable state. Any day you attempt to go to church during the rainy season, it is usually impassable. In fact, it discourages members of the church from coming because some prefer to pack outside and after some time, some get discouraged; they won’t come again.
“Members of the community here have been crying over the state of the road. But today, we can see that things are changing. The action governor has come to see that our state is changed for the better; translating what he has been doing in the entire state of Ebonyi to this particular road”.
Flagging off the road project officially, the state Governor, Chief David Umahi, represented by his Senior Special Assistant on Infrastructural Maintenance, Chief Ali Odefa, said that the road would cost the sum of N14.4million with drainages and streetlights on it.
He indicated that the project will be completed in three weeks while disclosing that the state Government has commenced patching up potholes on all the internal roads across the state capital: “This is 150 metres road with drainage on both sides and it will also have streetlights. And it is expected to last another 31 days maximum and everything will be ready for use.
“The cost of the project is N14.4 million and it is 6-metre by 6 inches concrete road. The road was very bad and the way they built houses around the area made it very prone to flooding.
“At a point in the rainy season, it is no longer passable at the middle of the road approaching the church but we have filled those places and we are also introducing culverts in some portions of the road so that there will be easy flow of water in the drainages”.
Continuing, Odefa said: “Government is embarking on the zero pothole programme and this zero pothole is not just something that will just happen overnight. We are taking them one after the other. We have divided Abakaliki into 14 DISCOs and each DISCO has its own streets.
“Most of the internal roads done by the previous administration in the state have failed. So, we have started to attend to them one after the other, places where we have done concrete roads are safe.
“The places where there are asphalted roads in the past, even when you recoat them, the failures start underground.
“So, how this zero pothole programme was designed is that wherever we notice that pothole, we mark that pothole and dig and excavate that place to a depth of 8 inches, we put BRC MM 5 inches thickness and them we pour grade 40 concrete and then that portion can never fail anymore.
“So, when we finish putting all these concrete amendments in place, we can now overlay them again with asphalts and then they will stand the test of time.”