Sat. Sep 24th, 2022

Abia Reporters




The State Commissioner for Works, Barrister Bob Chiedozie Ogu has declared that the State Governor Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu would be rated as being the best Governor in terms of infrastructural development in Abia State before he leaves office with the level of massive project he has attracted through the African Development Bank.

Barr. Ogu stated this while disclosing the details of the agreement reached between the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu-led Abia Government and the African Development Bank (ADB) President, Dr. Adesina, recently held in Abidjan, the capital of Ivory Coast.

The Commissioner was speaking in an exclusive interview with Newman in his office at the Secretariat Complex, Ogurube layout, Umuahia.

According to the him, the outcome of the trip was overwhelming as it provided an avenue for the African Development Bank to agree to a 200 million dollar facility that would be used for the construction of about 37 roads in the State.

Barr. Ogu, who was part of the delegation that went to Abidjan, traced the his origin of the fund, thus: “When Dr Okezie Ikpeazu came on board in 2015, that was the first committee he set up, to take charge of the projects funded by African Development Bank. It took us almost three years and six months to get the requisite approval of the National Assembly because for that project, you must have the approval of the National Assembly.

“That three years, six months delay was caused by a petition written by a prominent citizen of this State. You know, he delayed the project but by the grace of God, we passed that hurdle.

When we passed that hurdle and now got the approval for the 200 million dollar facility, it was awarded to African Development Bank, the same character also wrote another petition to ADB and what he said at the Senate and National Assembly, and to the African Development Bank was that the money would be embezzled,”

The Commissioner explained that when the petition got to the African Development Bank, it was discarded owing to the fact that they ‘don’t release these monies to the states, they superintend the expenditure .’

Continuing, Ogu informed that the hickups occasioned by the petition was surmounted first when the Governor went to South Africa during the African Investment Forum where he “met with the President of the ADB and he gave us the leeway to come and see him in Ivory Coast. It was that leeway we got that made us to go to Ivory Coast to see him and I must confess that I was overwhelmed by the outcome of that particular trip,” he narrated.

Gladly he declared, “We’re talking about a 200 million dollar facility and the roads that will be constructed are 37 in number and if these projects take off, people will be amazed by the level Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu will get to before he leaves office.

“I have always said it and keep saying it that by the time Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu leaves office, people will rate him as being the best in terms of infrastructural development in Abia State and this project is one of the flagship projects,” he maintained.

On the present state and timeline of the project, the Works Commissioner hinted that the financial bid of consultants will be opened by Friday this week with the believe that before the end of this month, “we would have hired the consultant that would design this roads preparatory for the Bank to give approval for the money to be released for the construction.”

He claimed that the State would contract the best consultants in the world for the purpose of designing the best roads ever in the State.
Said he, “I also want people to understand that when we talk about this consultants, we’re not just talking about consultants, we’re talking about the best in the world. When we advertised, 47 companies applied, of which 30 of them were local companies, the other 17 came from outside the continent. The bank has a policy that if you’re going to shortlist, you shortlist six candidates, two from your country, two from Africa and two from the rest of the world. So based on the criteria of the bank we shortlisted six companies, so those six candidates are the ones bidding for this project and we’re going to choose the best. Imagine when the best in the world design a road, you know what will be the outcome. So it gives me joy to talk about this project and when the project comes on board, people will be amazed about the outcome.”

On the choice of the roads that fall within the purvey of the project, the Commissioner explained, “The bank on its own visited Abia State and identified the cities of Aba and Umuahia as being the major catchment development areas, so the bulk of the project will be centred between Umuahia and Aba.

He disclosed that about 13 roads were selected from Aba town including Ngwa road, Ohanku road, Port Harcourt road, Faulks road, Obuohia road, while five were chosen in Umuahia adding “we have to put in certain roads that will link up the traditional markets centres to the urban areas.”

Ogu further revealed other components of the ADB funded Project, thus: “And this project is not for roads alone. There is also a solid waste component of the project, there is also watershed management component, the entire thing is a systematic design of how waste will be managed in Abia State – the waste collection and transportation to disposal – so these are all part of the project.”

Explaining further, he said, “One thing I’m sure is we have been keyed into the project as an instant, the money that will be used to pay the consultant is not coming from us. The bank gave us a grant of 1.7 million dollars, that is what we’re going to use for the design the road because the bank saw the input of the State and the delay we had because of the hickups causee by the petition, the bank on its own gave us the grant, you know grant is what you don’t pay back.”

“So having given a 1.7, we have keyed into it but what I’m assuring you is that between now and the next dry season, you would have gotten to a point where we can say exactly when work would commence on some of the roads,” Ogu stated.

He gave the total kilometers of roads to be captured in the design of the project as 137 kilometers.

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