There are strong indications that the abandoned Ozu Abam-Ndi Okereke-Amuvi (Arochukwu), thirty-four-kilometre state road may be completed by 31 December, 2015, as the governor of Abia state, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has promised in this regard. According to reports monitored in Umuahia, the newly sworn in governor needed less than four days to make a working visit to the road project when he made the promise to complete the road so that the people of Arochukwu, Ututu, Isu and Ihechiowa, even some parts of Abam, can drive on the road to Arochukwu while travelling to their towns for Christmas and New Year festivities this year.
Speaking during the tour three days after taking over the governance of the state, Dr Ikpeazu said that the rehabilitating the roads that lead to Arochukwu was one of his promises to the people of Arochukwu when he visited the area (three times) during his campaign tours of the state during last election. He commended the last administration in Abia state for doing some kilometres of the road and promised to complete the road before 31 December, 2015. When Aro News spoke to some people in Arochukwu on the latest promise by the governor on the completion of the road, all those who responded expressed delight and happiness at the development, with some saying that ‘if the governor completes the road project during his tenure as the governor of the state, he will have left an indelible mark in the minds of the people of Arochukwu, including those unborn yet.’
According to Ochor, one of the respondents, ‘If Dr Ikpeazu succeeds in completing the road and makes it motorable before the end of this year, he will never be forgotten by every Aro man and woman until such a person dies; he will forever be remembered. I became even happier when I discovered that, unlike what happened with other governors before him, Dr Ikpeazu visited Arochukwu within one week of assumption of office, and had gone ahead to give his firm promise to complete the road on his own accord. I am really surprised at the development. He has proved to be a Messiah to the people of Arochukwu – at least, by his promise. Do you see that an Ngwa man has proved to be a Messiah to Ndi Aro more than two of their sons and their companies that have abandoned the road construction since the then Captain Alison Madueke-led Imo State Government first awarded the road construction to one of them way back in 1985 – thirty years ago!
Another respondent, James, of Ugwuavo village, said that ‘If the governor wants to really complete the road for the people to drive on to their homes in Arochukwu as he has in mind, he should never ever award the road contract to any company owned by any Aro man or woman but to a totally different company owned by an outsider! This is because the two companies owned by Aro sons have failed their own people for thirty years now; instead of feeding the flock in this wise, they have fleeced them! This is how many ‘Aro’ people behave – especially those Aro returnees who have outside orientation and upbringing! They rarely show acts of patriotism – as a result of divided loyalty and or nurture! Arochukwu has been suffering in their hands in this sphere.’
It will be recalled that the Ozu Abam-Ndi Okereke-Amuvi (Arochukwu) road of thirty-four kilometres was first awarded to Hapel Nigeria Ltd for construction in the 1980’s. The company did some work on the road. Then, suddenly, Abia State was carved out from the old Imo State on 27 August 1991, with subsequent appointment of Navy Capt Temi Ejoor as one of the military administrators. When Capt Ejoor visited Arochukwu on a working visit, he had told the Aros at Baraki that the then Abia State government had paid to the last kobo all the contract sum for the construction of the road to their son’s company, Hapel, that was handling the road: in response to their request for the completion of the road as contained in their address to him. He had, thereby, attributed the non-completion of the road to their owe son and his company.
Then, some years ago, a sign-board mounted at the junction between Bende-Ohafia road and Ozu Abam-Arochukwu road ascribed the construction of the road to Masta Services company (or something like that), investigation revealed, was owned by another group of Aro persons. The people became happy that a Daniel has finally come to judgment! But, lo, years after the sign-board vanished; as the company tarred and beautified the junction as to indicate that the road had been completed up to Arochukwu end! But a few kilometres’ drive inside (4 kilometers to be precise) – towards Ndi Oji Abam – the construction stopped, and has remained there till the day the governor had visited, thus leaving the people of Ihechiowa, Ututu, Isu and Arochukwu to continue to suffer in travelling to their areas through the ever-deplorable and far Arochukwu-Ohafia federal road.
The people of Arochukwu, and some parts of Abam, will raise their hands in praise to God if the new Abia State governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, keeps to his promise and completes the road that will take less than thirty minutes for any body to drive to Arochukwu from Ozu Abam Bridge. Aros earnestly wait to witness ‘this miracle of the century’ gift by Dr Ikpeazu.