The painful story of the Aba/Ikot Ekpene/Odukpani road which has been in a state of disrepair for decades and remained so till the end of the sixteen years of leadership rule by the Peoples Democratic party (PDP) at the federal level is well known to the people of the south South and south-East.
It is the harrowing story of loss of lives on the road which had clearly become a death trap. Many indigenes of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia and Rivers State have gone to their untimely graves due to the several fatal road crashes on this bad road while many others have lost their limbs or vital organs in their bodies.
The loss of property worth Billion of Naira for traders who have this as the only route to convey goods from the commercial city of Aba to other parts is almost a daily occurrence.
Many citizens who travel on this road are never sure when they will get to their destinations, that is if they get their alive. A successful journey from Lagos could become hazardous at the Aba/Ikot Ekpene/ Odukpani end because of the deplorable state of the road.
No wonder there has been extreme joy in the South-South/South-East after the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday announced the award of contract for the dualization of the road.
The Minister of works, Housing and Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday told state House correspondents that the federal government had awarded contract for the dualization of the road to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc in the sum of 54 billion Naira.
This announcement quickly sparked a cloud of joy in the region, as the people of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia and Rivers are happy that the APC led government has finally decided to end their years of suffering by constructing the road.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja after the announcement was made by Babatunde Fashola, the Senior Special Assistant to President Buhari on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang recounted the ordeals and losses that the people of the South-South and South-East have passed through as a result of the bad road.
He thanked the President and APC for wiping away the tears of the people of the affected areas.
Also speaking with The Sensor yesterday, the Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State, Barr Edet Eyo Bassey said the people of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia and Rivers can now see what a people conscious government does to the lives of citizens.
“We in the South-South and South-East have become the greatest beneficiaries of the Muhammadu Buhari’s Presidency.
This was a road that meant torture and suffering for our people. But today the glory of Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Abia and Rivers have been returned by the APC. We cannot measure the quantity and value of losses that have happened as a result of this bad road.
So, now that the federal government has decided to construct it, all the economic losses will end. The man-hours that used to be lost will be stopped. The transportation line from Aba to Akwa Ibom and other adjoining cities which was a death trap for our traders and their goods will be reversed and this means that there will now be easy haulage of goods.
The journey that used to take us 10 to 12 hours from here to Anambra State will now be reduced to 6 hours.
Akwa Ibom people, this is what a government does to benefit people, not empty promises that are not fulfilled”
Stating that it is now time for Akwa Ibom people to seek for more dividends of democracy by using their votes to make sure APC wins the governorship and all other elections in the state.
he noted that “what will PDP now tell the people of the South-South and South-East to make them vote for their party. For over sixteen years, they controlled power at the centre but see how our people died on the Aba/Ikot Ekpene/ Odukpani road. What else can they tell Akwa Ibom people to make our citizens vote for them again?
PDP failed our region and our next best option is the APC come 2019.
What made our situation even more pathetic is that our kinsmen, former president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was president for six years and could not give us a good life by constructing this road. This confirms what the Bible says that a friend can be better than a brother. So what our kinsman could not do for us, a Fulani man has done for us. This is why we in Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Abia and indeed the South-South and South-East must ensure APC wins the governorship election in 2019”.