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Is Ekeahia-Aba-Branch Road Project Forgotten?

THEWILL APP ADS 2

July 03, (THEWILL) – Although former majority leader in the Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Stanford Onyirimba is no more, one of his towering achievements that is worthy of praises today is the reconstruction of the once impassable Amaraku-Obollo-Umueze 2-Afor- Oru Road.

Onyirimba, who represented Ehime Mbano Constituency, cannot be forgotten in a hurry for making a strong case that prompted the project’s immediate execution, as approved by the then Governor of Imo State, Achike Udenwa.

It is heartening to learn that the solidly-built Amaraku/Obollo Road is now the shortest access to Ehime Mbano from Owerri and neighbouring towns.

Before 1999, Duru- Owerre, the boundary between Ehime and Isiala Mbano Local Government Area, linking St. Dominic’s Secondary School, Ugiri, was a nightmare. It only took the redemptive intervention of Udenwa’s administration to rehabilitate the road and make it motorable.

The Ekeahiara-Aba-Branch Road was built by the first civilian Governor of Imo State, Samuel Mbakwe. Regrettably, it has fallen into decay and appears to have been abandoned by the authorities. The road had stood the test of time.

It would be recalled that sometime in June, 2022, the incumbent Governor Hope Uzodimma had a stakeholders’ meeting with traditional rulers, opinion leaders, professors, town union leaders, women/youth leaders, religious and political leaders drawn from the 11 wards that made up Ehime Mbano LGA.

That delegation was led by Prof Maurice Iwu, Chief Tony Chukwu, Senator Frank Ibezim, and Stanford Onyirimba (now late), among others, wgho begged the governor to see to the rehabilitation of the Aba-Branch (Ehime Mbano)- Ekeahiara Road linking Umuezeala, headquarters of the local government area, to Owerri through Mbaise.

They requested Uzodimma to caution and direct the contractor handling the Ehime Mbano Rural Access and Mobility Project (RAMP) to return to site. They reported that the contractor abandoned his work since February 2020, despite having collected mobilisation funds.

Indeed, that road is crying out for either rehabilitation or complete reconstruction. Its present decaying state has negatively affected the socio-economic activities of the people of Ehime Mbano and motorists using it.

The road is said to be captured in the Imo State Community Priority Projects by the Ministry of Works, under the supervision of the Commissioner for Works, Barr. Ralph Nwosu.

The nonchalant attitude of some prominent sons and daughters of Ehime Mbano to the rehabilitation of that road has left a dent on their images. That project could be single-handedly funded by any good- spirited person who sees the need to give it a facelift for the sake of motorists and road users.

A commercial bus driver who operates on the Ekeahiara-Aba-Branch Road disclosed that motorists have completely avoided the main road due to its deplorable state. He regretted that the present condition of the road had negatively affected his business. He pleaded with Governor Uzodimma and other well-meaning sons of the area to fix the delapidated road for the sake of travellers.

Efforts made by this writer to reach out the Transition Committee (TC) Chairman of Ehime Mbano LGA, Barr. Chidi Okechukwu, hit a brick wall as his mobile phone number was not reachable as of the time of filing this report. But let us bear in mind that local government area does not have the power to embark on the rehabilitation of that road without an official approval and possible funding from the Federal Government or Imo State Government.

A 95 year-old stockfish seller, Mama Veronica Onyenezite, lamented that constant flooding of the road had seriously affected her trade. She pleaded with the state government to fix the road so as to enhance easy movement of vehicles from Aba branch to Mbaise and other places.

Efforts made to reach the commissioner of works for his reaction to the issue were not successful.