Abia Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, yesterday, said he has improved the city of Aba from the poor state of infrastructure he met on ground when he assumed office in 2015.
He disclosed that most of the roads were abandoned for over 20 years as trees started growing in them while others were regularly flooded all through the year.
According to him, the flood waters had been sitting on the roads for over 15 years and he had to adopt cement pavement technology with drainages on both sides to ensure durability.
Ikpeazu, who stated this while addressing members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), who toured project sites of his administration in Aba, said he was greeted in office with issues of security and bad roads which led to investors taking flight from the city.
He, however, stated that he was focused on building roads leading to markets and other economic centres to boost small and medium scale enterprises, oil and gas and agro-based industries in the state.
The governor further stated that for the first time in 30 years, he opened up Faulks Road (Sam Mbakwe Road) leading to the Ariaria International Market from Brass Junction to the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.
“In 2015, we started our journey to Government House, Umuahia, and thought about how best we could improve the lives of Abia people. We came with the need to support trade and commerce, small scale manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture, education and those other sectors our people have comparative advantage in.
“At that time, we had issues of insecurity and poor infrastructure. There was no road to Aba. I once tried getting to Ikot Ekpene in Akwa Ibom State and it took me five hours for a journey not usually beyond one hour. So, I knew that Aba was gradually ebbing away.
“The traders at Ariaria market were not making much sales because there was no road leading into Aba and even Ariaria. This is why we came with a policy of reconstructing roads, leading to such economic centres of great importance to our state.
“If you want to jumpstart the economy of Aba, you must find a way to allow our brothers from Akwa Ibom and Cross River states to access the city. Then, you must also find a way for people coming from Port Harcourt and Bayelsa to come into Aba.
“The first triplet of roads we commissioned within the first 100 days: Ukaegbu, Umuola and Ehere, were roads that will ease you into Aba. I had to do another road through Ekwereazu which takes you into Akwa Ibom state from Aba in just 40 minutes.”