By Rev, Fr. Constantine Echichechi Okoli
Most Rev Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, took a tour of some of the roads under construction by the Prof Chukwuma Soludo led government of Anambra State, expressing happiness at what he saw.
Bishop Ezeokafor visited two out of the many roads awarded for construction by the present Anambra government. The two roads included the 26.4 km Amansea – Ndiukwuenu – Manu Forest – Awa –Ufuma Road in Orumba North Local Government Area and the 16.4 km Akpu – Ajali – Nawfija – Ogbunka Road in Orumba South Local Government Area.
Fides recalls that the Amansea – Ufuma Road was first awarded for construction in 2013 by the Peter Obi led administration. But for many years, the roads in these communities, perceived as the food basket of the state, were abandoned by the Willie Obiano administration.
But the Soludo administration re-awarded the roads for construction in August, 2022 and it is being handled by Michael Welsch of Stefanutti Stock Hapel Limited who promised that the road would have a 20-year durability. It is the same case with the Akpu-Ogbunka Road being handled by Daher Kaworma of Datum Construction Nigeria Limited which was awarded on September 12, 2022 by the present administration.
Talking to Fides on why he toured the roads, the Bishop stated, ‘They said the Solution is here with us and the people; the people are happy and that’s why we are spending some time to go and see these things for ourselves.’ Bishop Ezeokafor expressed joy that Soludo had been able to match words with action, which, he noted, was a departure from what he described as the usual practice by some politicians.
The Bishop used the opportunity to thank Soludo for opening up the hinterlands and for making the money available so that work could begin again on the roads, which, he said, seemed to have been stopped for some time. The visibly excited Bishop expressed satisfaction with the portions of the roads, commending their quality.
He expressed hope that the roads would be completed as scheduled, if the government and the contractors keep to this pace. ‘This is a great hope for the state and a big relief to those in these areas who are mainly farmers and producers of food,’ the Bishop said.
Bishop however appealed to the government to ensure that bumps, if and where necessary, should be constructed by the contractors in order not to harm the road and damage vehicles, as well as cause accidents. The bishop commended the state government for focusing on roads in the hinterlands, noting that such would open up the state.