Once again, the Arochukwu-Ohafia road occupied the attention of the authorities on March 4, 2018. It was the day that the machinery of Abia State government literally moved to Abia North, to give impetus to a long neglected project that has become an embarrassment to all and sundry.
March 4 was the commencement date for the reconstruction of the second segment of the road, a 17 kilometer stretch from Akanu Ohafia towards Ihechiowa-Arochukwu.
It is being executed by Setraco Construction Company along with Heartland Engineering Company.
The composite segment, a 15 kilometer stretch from Arochukwu-Akanu Ohafia, is being done by Beks Kimse, having earlier been awarded the contract in 2012.
Noteworthy, Beks Kimse had scratched the job then and abandoned it after asphalting less than one kilometer.
The company only returned to site in November 2016, to resume work from where it had stopped. However, the pace of work has been anything but impressive.
Perhaps due to its slow pace, the Federal government split the project into two parts.
The March 4 ceremony was performed by Abia State Deputy Governor, Sir Udo Oko Chukwu, accompanied by almost a full complement of the State’s administrative machinery.
Other dignitaries present at the event included Senator Mao Ohuabunwa; Deputy Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Dr. Cosmos Ndukwe and Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Eme Okoro.
Others were the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Ume Kalu (SAN); member, Abia State House of Assembly, Mr. Ifeanyi Uchendu (Ohafia South); Commissioner for SME, Barr. Gabe Igboko; DG, Bureau of Public Procurement, Chief K.I. Uduma (DK); Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Kalu Emeghe; Chairmen of Arochukwu and Ohafia LGAs, Ndi Eze Ogo, captains of industry; Engr. Ugo Ohuabunwa, Sir Nnamdi Ohuabunwa and several others.
Time and again, Senator Ohuabunwa, in whose Abia North the road falls, has reiterated his commitment to have the road fixed.
And in keeping with that vow, Aro News learnt that he worked tirelessly to have it listed in the 2017 appropriation bill of the Federal government, for which the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing advertised the tender late last year.
In his interview with Aro News last year, the Senator had hinged sixty percent success in his political career on what he makes of the Arochukwu-Ohafia road.
At the ceremony on March 4, Senator Ohuabunwa appealed to the contractors to ensure that their local manpower needs and materials are sourced from their immediate environment. He equally appealed to the local communities to co-operate and assist the contractors to ensure that the job is executed and delivered on schedule.
Indeed the Arochukwu/Ohafia road has been a sore thumb that has transcended several administrations. During the military era of Gen Sani Abacha, the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) awarded contract for the road to Elite Construction Company. Unfortunately the work stalled at Ohafia end when PTF wound down and ceased to exist following the sudden death of Abacha.
In 2012, the Jonathan administration awarded the contract to Messrs Beks Kimse Nigeria Limited for N2.2 billion. Since then, construction work has not gone beyond St. Paul’s junction in Ututu.
Apparently, Beks Kimse’s unimpressive pace of work informed the splitting of the project into two parts.