By Ihechinyere Chigemeri-Uwom
Aba, Oct. 12, 2023
Gov. Alex Otti of Abia on Thursday flagged off the reconstruction of 6.8km-Port Harcourt Road in Aba to enhance the economic prospects of the state.
Speaking during the occasion in Aba, Otti described the reconstruction of the road as another strategic step in fulfilling his campaign promises and reviving the long-abandoned economic activities in the area.
The governor said that he was determined to ensure that on completion, the road would further drive the economic rejuvenation and transform Aba into investors’ haven.
According to him, the entire stretch of Port Harcourt Road formed a major hub for the servicing of heavy-duty vehicles, equipment, spare parts, power generating sets and ancillary tools.
Otti added that this underscored the strategic importance of the road in the achievement of the present administration’s rebuilding agenda.
“For us, Port Harcourt Road, Aba, is not just any other project, it will be a testament of our willingness and determination to rebuild ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated’ as contained in Isaiah 61: 4,” he said.
Otti said that the road had been in a state of dilapidation for two decades, adding that the project was an indication that the patience and commitment of Aba residents to genuine change had paid off.
He urged the citizens to be optimistic and expectant of quality road infrastructure from the present administration and added that the days of mediocrity were over.
Otti said: “For the purpose of clarity, we are not just talking about pouring asphalt or doing any haphazard job just for cheap political capital.
“We have brought Julius Berger here for some well-defined reasons: to do a holistic job of fixing the road, addressing the age-long flooding problems especially at notoriously problematic points using appropriate technology and expertise.
“We shall ultimately see to it with very minimal maintenance at regular intervals.
“This road shall continue to support the existing, new and returning businesses and their activities for at the very least, another 20 years, post-commissioning.”
He said that the government worked closely with the team from Julius Berger to ensure that the technical design and specifications adopted answered all the important questions regarding durability, reliability, flood control and other critical parameters.
He said that the project had been chosen by the Inter-ministerial Committee, and that the committee evaluated the bids and assessed the suitability of the construction companies that expressed interest in the project.
Otti said that “as agreed by all parties, this project has a delivery timeline not exceeding 18 months and my expectation is that whatever needs to be done to meet the target would be done, including working round the clock”.
The governor also, said that the government had set up a robust financing structure to ensure that payments would be completed on schedule to eliminate any setbacks which could arise from payment delays.
Otti urged Aba residents to offer the contractor and his team the necessary support as well as cooperation they needed to deliver the project within the agreed timeline.
He said that the government was determined to put the right structures in place within the next 12 months to make the economic opportunities in Aba “too attractive for any serious investors to ignore” and improve the welfare of its residents.
Otti said that the government was developing an appropriate template to revive moribund public and private business concerns that once thrived in Aba, however, this would be subject to economic fundamentals.
He charged the residents to support government’s efforts through regular payment of taxes, being law abiding and guarding public assets against sabotage.
Earlier, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria PLC, Dr Lars Richter, thanked the state government for entrusting the organisation with the responsibility of reconstructing the road.
Richter said:” I am looking forward to not only a successful commissioning but for a long standing partnership on other projects to deliver your vision to the people of Abia.”