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Ben Udechukwu: Ikpeazu, Ngwa Road and the audacity of hope – Daily Post Nigeria


When you live in Aba, when you have interactions with owners of the thousands of small scale businesses that thrive in the city, when you imagine that there are well over 60 streets adjoining Ngwa Road whose inhabitants have hardly breathed for well over 25 years, you will appreciate the enormity of econonic advantages, reconstructing Ngwa Road is. Come with me!

Road construction is by far, one of the commonest things a government could perform as duty to the people. The narrative changes when a road that is home to the largest “second hand cloth” (Okirika) Market, gateway to the most skillful fabricators and the proponents of industry, becomes impassable for decades. At a time like this, Road construction excites an unusual feeling of awe and bewilderment. This is exactly how thousands of artisans and residents of Ngwa Road feel at this point.

I am excited because Okezie Victor Ikpeazu Ph.D has once again demonstrated that he understands how to prioritise tackling the myriad of challenges called ABA. I am excited that given the paucity of funds, prudence becomes a veritable virtue in governance. The reconstruction of Ngwa Road will give further impetus to the thriving small businesses that have long been extinguished by infrastructural deficit.

Ikpeazu may not have solved half of Aba’s problems as far as road infrastructure is concerned. However, history will appreciate him for being decisive, thorough and detailed in his choice of road construction. By this singular gesture, he has opened a new vista for hundreds of thousands of people living at Mbaise, Item, Ogwo, Elvina, Agharandu,Dikenafai,
Harden, Akoli, Okoro,
Igwebuike, Agu,
Iheaorji, College, Amucha, Ibere, Agharandu, Ibadan,Victoria, Igwilo, Umuosi, Emejieka, Dike
Onyembi, Umunkama,
Owerriaba, Ajah, Okoro, Akoli, Agulanna Roads just to mention but a few. Ikpeazu has rescued thousands of businesses that had long gone moribund because Ngwa Road became embarrassingly dilapidated.

The story of Ikpeazu’s silent, yet remarkable revolution may defy logic because at a time people are looking for quick wins to achieve cheap political points, Okezie is investing in only those areas that have the capacity to place Aba back as the Economic Capital of the South East.

At the risk of repeating myself, I do know that a Governor that conceived the idea of sourcing for N27b to reconstruct Ngwa, Ohanku and Obohia Roads is unapologetically thinking of the next generation. Little by little, Okezie’s exhibition of amazing political will and the knack to recover all those roads that seemed intractable will set him apart from others. I am optimistic that, when (not if) this trend is sustained, Ikpeazu shall have provided the overriding incentive to the larger Aba populace to bounce back to reckoning.

Ngwa Road represents what resilience and steadfastness can add to governance. It is clear that the end holds a promise of Hallelujah. I am also trying to imagine an Aba with Osusu, Omuma, Ukaegbu, Umuola, Umule, Owerri, Ohanku,Ngwa, Obohia, Portharcourt Roads just to mention but a few. When Ikpeazu is done, the narrative must change and the entrepreneurial face of Aba will shine brightest yet.

*Udechukwu* , a Public Affairs analyst writes from Aba

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