We wish to express strong disappointment over what happened at Iyiowa Layout on 16th of March, 2016, where the Obiano administration had gone to “commission” the “Abazuonu-Ihitenansa-Ibekwe-Acha-Madonna Catholic Church Road”.
Our disappointment stems from clear misrepresentation of facts over the award and completion of the Road project.
While we see nothing wrong in another governor deciding to commission a project started and completed by his or her predecessor, if he or she chooses and if the project has not been commissioned; but where we frown at deeply is where facts are deliberately misrepresented.
For the records and public knowledge, Iyiowa Layout in Ogbaru LGA of Anambra State is one of the most enlightened and well organized urban residential areas in Anambra State.
The area of it covering Ihitenansa Street, Ehirim Close, Obidike Close, Ibekwe Street, Abazuonu Street or “New Road” and Okafor Lane is commonly referred to in the area as “Ogbaru GRA”.
It is has the newest and very good road network and properly electrified with average of 20 hours power supply per day.
It is also referred to as “activists zone”, owing to presence of large number of human rights activists including Emeka Umeagbalasi.
The recent (still ongoing) advocacy onslaughts against sharp practices of EEDC in the Southeast Zone were spearheaded by the area.
The area has four transformers to its credit and advocacy activities and parades one of the best organized community forums in Anambra State, peopled by tenants and landlords.
The Road in question (above mentioned) was constructed owing to four years of advocacy requests by rights activists in the area to former Governor Peter Obi.
In January 2013, Peter Obi personally called Umeagbalasi and his group and pleaded with them to identify the strategic area in the Layout for road construction.
He further pleaded that the area to be identified must connect the Madonna Catholic Church in the area.
He had earlier visited the Church on 16th of September 2012 on the invitation of the Onitsha Catholic Archbishop.
He also visited the area on 1st of October 2012 during the flood disaster, where he made a firm promise to build the Road once the flood menace subsided.
He had told the congregation during his visit at the Madonna Catholic Church on 16th of September 2012 that “he had been disturbed for years by some activists living in this area over deplorable state of roads here”.
The IDC contractors were taken round as agreed in early January and later in the same January 2013, work commenced on the Road with 12 months completion deadline and in January 2014; the project was completed as contracted (two months before the inception of Obiano administration).
During the governorship campaign visit to the area in late 2013, Mr. Peter Obi announced the addition of the remaining part of Acha Street and promised that it would be done on completion of the awarded one by the incoming administration under now moribund “continuation, completion and commissioning” arrangement.
In 2014, around April/May, after the exit of Mr. Peter Obi and after the completion of the project, Governor Willie Obiano visited the area during his familiarization tour and announced the addition of Onyejiego Street, which joins the asphalted Road straight from Ibekwe Road Junction.
Till date, the two additional streets/roads are yet to be done.
Just like we did on 13th of June 2015 during the claims and counter-claims over who did and completed the Nkpor-Ogidi-Abagana-Enugu-ukwu-Amawbia Old Enugu Road, our purpose here is to put the records straight and plead with those working with Governor Willie Obiano to stop embarrassing the Governor and the State.
If not the IDC Contractor that handled and completed the Road project, who in his speech on the occasion, stated that “the contract was awarded in January 2013 by former Governor Peter Obi and completed in January 2014”; the Governor’s aides who earlier claimed false credit over the Road project and its completion, would have ended up making the Governor of Anambra State a liar before his people.
What they ought to have done was to advise the Governor correctly and popularly to award additional new road in the area or better still, commence work on “Onyejiego Street” and the remainder of Acha Streets.
Just as we had used the area (Iyiowa Layout) in the past 14 years as our advocacy case-study area; dating back to our CLO days, the Road in question is not only our advocacy achievement, but also a good case-study to show the populace at all times how governance can work and alleviate social sufferings, when government is constructively engaged by nimble and virile civil society.
For: International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Mobile Line: +2348174090052, Website: www.intersociety-ng.org
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Obianuju Joy Igboeli, Esq.
Head, Civil Liberties & Rule of Law Program, Mobile Line: +2348034186332
Chinwe Umeche, Esq., Head, Democracy & Good Governance Program