By Jude Atupulazi
The Governor of Anambra State, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, has told the Minister of Works, Chief Dave Umahi, that all federal roads in the state have failed and are begging for attention.
Soludo, who spoke at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, while receiving the Minister, lamented that only N2 billion was approved for the repair of a section of Onitsha-Owerri Road, which, he said, had completely collapsed.
The same scenario, he added, was playing out in most federal roads across the state due to poor maintenance.
According to the Governor, the Onitsha-Owerri Road was very strategic due to the numerous states in the Southern part of the country that the road is linked to, stressing that the Second Niger Bridge may not be fully utilized if the road was left in such a deplorable state.
Soludo said: ‘The road leading to Idah, Kogi State, is a direct route from Nzam to Lokoja. When that is constructed, travelling from Anambra to Abuja will be around three hours.
‘That is a major game changing project that is worth venturing into. With you, Engr. Umahi, in office, you are a perfect round peg in a round hole. Please keep showing your leadership.’
‘Once we rethink the framework for delivery of infrastructure, Nigeria will be a totally different place. Nigeria is a federation.
‘You cannot stay in your state, clap with one hand and expect noise. You need the other hand which is the Federal Government, for things to work.
‘In politics, you don’t get what you deserve but what you bargain for with votes.
‘Giving the totality of votes we contributed from Southeast and looking at the ministerial portfolios, we may not have the basis to begin to demand for juicy portfolios, but the President graciously gave us one of our finest and best, one of the few engineers who pioneered concrete pavement as current standard for road construction.
‘What you said about the possibility of coming back again for us to move around in Anambra State will be fantastic because we have fundamental challenges on road infrastructure and especially how it’s delivered by the Federal Government.
‘The Federal Government is staying in Abuja and trying to award road contracts in all nooks and crannies of the country. Sincerely speaking, the entire federal roads are all gone. We are currently spending up to N20 billion on federal roads,’ Soludo said.
He urged the Federal government to work with state Governments to develop a more efficient framework for delivering road infrastructure.
In his speech, Umahi lamented the challenges posed by erosion in the state, even as he also expressed disappointment with the condition of the Enugu-Onitsha Road Project, saying that he had summoned the contractors and consultants and would be meeting with MTN under Governor Soludo’s chairmanship.
The Minister attributed the basic reason for the failure of the road to asphalt, adding that the introduction of concrete pavement was the best because of poor maintenance culture.
He listed roads currently under construction in the state to include Ukpo -Dunukofia, Ibaji section of Otuocha; Awba Ofemili; Orie Ama Etiti – Umuawulu, Omor-Umuoikpa; Oba – Nnewi and Osammala – Ogwikpele.