Says federal roads are the best
The Minister of Works, Engr. David Umahi has commended Governor Hope Uzodimma for bringing visible developments in Imo State for the period he has been in office, noting that Sen. Uzodimma’s handwork is showing everywhere.
Umahi spoke Friday night when he paid a working visit to Governor Uzodimma at Government House Owerri.
It was a meeting of brothers where Governor Uzodimma thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for appointing Umahi whom he described as “one of the Igbo’s best and brightest” to man the ministry of works with the intention of realising the President’s manifesto.
The Minister who was in the State to inspect ongoing Federal government projects said he was marvelled at the quality of roads, most of them federal government roads, which Governor Uzodimma had initiated and completed in Imo State within a short period of time.
Umahi noted that the Owerri to Okigwe road happens to be “one of the best roads in all the roads” he has visited as a Minister, commending, congratulating and rating the Governor highly.
The Minister said: “Imo residents and indeed the South East are blessed to have Governor Uzodimma, as his handwork is already showing everywhere.
“Let me thank you for a lot of improvement that you have done in the State as is also shown on the neatness and beauty of the Capital city.”
He used the opportunity to congratulate Governor Uzodimma and President Tinubu on the election successes, including the latest victory at the Presidential Election Petition Court.
Umahi advised the Labour Party Presidential Candidate in the last election, Mr. Peter Obi, “not to waste his time going ahead with the case as God has used him to justify the efforts of the Governor and to reposition the South East.”
The Minister who was former Governor of Ebonyi State and an elected Senator, told Governor Uzodimma that he was in the State to assess ongoing Federal Roads in Imo.
“Imo has about three Federal road projects in the State, but only one is ongoing.”
Some of the roads that he mentioned are the Owerri-Okpalla-Port Harcourt-Enugu Express Road.
He said he has directed the contractor to step up and complete the first section, while the other 46km of the same road should be redesigned to meet the new standards and demands.
Umahi promised to accommodate the construction of the Orlu -Mgbe -Akokwa-Uga road in the 2024 budget just as he announced his intention to terminate the Ama Nwozuzu-Orie Amaraku road contract because no meaningful job has been done so far there even with the contractor mobilised to site.
The Minister advised on the need for Governors to get involved in monitoring and supervision of Federal projects in their States and insisted that he will decline approvals for jobs done where the Commissioner for Works of any State was not part of such a repair job as the eye of the State.
He commended Governor Uzodimma for completing a number of Federal roads in Imo State and promised to help actualise the agreements already reached between the State and federal government of the former administration.
Umahi congratulated the Governor in advance over the forthcoming governorship election in Imo and pledged to be part of the campaign soon to commence.
He concluded by commending the Governor for bringing all the big wigs in Imo State together to reason collectively in the interest of the State and urged him to extend similar strategy to his brother Governors in the South East because “it is not easy.”
In his remarks, Governor Uzodimma thanked the Minister for coming to see things for himself and expressed his unalloyed gratitude to President Tinubu for appointing the person of Umahi as Minister of Works.
He reminded the Minister that Nigerians are watching to see him replicate what he did in Ebonyi State at the federal level.
Governor Uzodimma recalled with nostalgia how, on assumption of office on January 15, 2020, he met all the federal roads in Imo State in a deplorable condition “but with political will, even in the face of meagre resources, decided to work on them.”
The Governor narrated how he secured approvals of the then President Muhammadu Buhari to construct the Owerri-Okigwe and Owerri-Orlu roads, all completed and then, to start work on the Owerri-Umuahia road, that is nearing completion.
Governor Uzodimma regretted that all efforts to get the contractor – RCCG – doing the Owerri-Aba road awarded some 14 years ago have not yielded the desired result.
The Governor commended the Minister for coming up with a model that would see to a comprehensive and total overhaul of all the federal roads in the country and thanked him for accepting to take up the construction of Orlu-Mgbe-Akokwa-Uga road.
The Governor noted that the burden of fixing the road because of gully erosion challenges could take four years budget of the State, yet it may not be completed.
Governor Uzodimma emphasised the importance of embarking on roads construction to make life easier and better for the citizens as “roads don’t discriminate.”
Describing the Minister as “a round peg in a round hole,” the Governor said that President Tinubu needs men of trust and courage like Umahi to realise his manifesto.
Regardless, the Governor acknowledged that there are too many abandoned federal road projects all over the country and advocated “comprehensive audit of the federal projects to, not only know their level of completion, but even the spread among the geopolitical zones.”
Governor Uzodimma bemoaned the efficiency of federal road maintenance agency (FERMA), saying it appears more like a conduct pipe. He then encouraged the minister to look beyond FERMA and ensure that “the old maintenance culture must be recovered and returned.”
He commended the Minister on the innovations he has so far introduced as steps towards applying the peculiarities of the country and further congratulated him on the “concrete road technology” which he said will help “create jobs and sustain the roads to last.” The Governor pledged to support the Minister even in the establishment of an institute to that effect.
Governor Uzodimma announced plans to lead the South East leadership on a thank you visit to the President on the appointment on the Minister and the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Emmanuel Ogala both of who are of Igbo extraction.
“The Igbos belong to the Nigerian project and are loyal to Nigeria. We need Nigeria just as Nigeria needs us.”
The Minister was accompanied by Senator Onyekachi Nwebonyi, Deputy Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts and Engr. Beni. U. Obioha, Southeast Director Federal Highway, among others.
Governor Uzodimma was joined in receiving Umahi by the Deputy Governor, Prof Placid Njoku, Senator Osita Izunaso ( Imo West), Secretary to Government of Imo State, Chief Cosmos Iwu, Chief of Staff, Barr Nnamdi Anyaehie and members of the State expanded executive.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor