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100 days: Ikpeazu’s camp returns fire *Otti visiting incompetence, wickedness on Abia



From the camp of Okezie Ikpeazu, former Governor of Abia State, came a damning verdict over what they describe as the incompetence and wickedness being visited on the people of the state by Alex Otti, his successor, since he took over the reins of power on May 29, 2023.

Taking the event of the 100 days in office of the governor to assess his performance, the ex-governors men regretted that Otti’s blame game against Ikpeazu, had become emblematic of his woeful tenure so far.

The position of the camp was conveyed by John Okiyi Kalu and Onyebuchi Ememanka, both spokesmen during the tenure of Ikpeazu, whose tenure between 2015 and 2023, represented the last of the unbroken 24 years stretch in power of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which had three governors from 1999 to 2023 after the victory of the Labour Party (LP) that brought Otti into office.

Both Okiyi-Kalu, who was the Commissioner for Information and Ememanka, Chief Press Secretary to Ikpeazu, in apparent reply to Otti, who had all but bewailed the rot he claimed was handed over to him by his predecessor, particularly dwelt on the controversial hiring of thousands of workers into the state workforce at the twilight of the former government, saying there was nothing wrong with the recruitment exercise, as Ikpeazu was obligated to give jobs to the people.


In a direct reply to Okey Kanu, his successor at the Ministry of Information, who accused Ikpeazu of employing ghost workers and backdating their employment letters, Okiyi-Kalu, said that it is laughable that after 100 days in office Otti’s government did not know that a governor did not know the process of employment in government offices.

His words: “Obviously the Otti administration is constituted by men and women with zero public sector management experience but after 100 days in office, one should expect that they have learned enough to know that a governor does not sign appointment letters. Under Ikpeazu we had a duly constituted civil service commission whose job is to screen and recruit workers after waivers have been issued. It appears to me that Otti is no longer making use of this commission because he has employed workers at various levels, including his new Accountant General and they should all have passed through that commission without Otti signing their appointment letter himself.

“You can’t even talk about backdating because as long as there is a duly approved waiver from the governor of the state the civil service commission will independently schedule, at their own convenience, to screen and issue appointment letters to those involved. Every waiver endorsed by former Governor Ikpeazu remained valid as long as he endorsed before leaving office. It was not his job to decide when the commission will issue letters and I challenge Otti to publish any of the backdated appointment letters signed by Ikpeazu.”

He explained that it dawned on the ex-governor after the EndSARS protests that provision of jobs was the answer to restive youths in the state, who needed to be fully engaged to keep them busy, Ikpeazu decided to systematically do something to reduce the propensity of their being preys to the evils associated with idleness.

It was on this ground that the former governor decided to review the implication of the state’s wage bill, and after discovering that it could was marginal and the resources available could still accommodate more workers, decided to hire those with relevant qualifications instead of allowing them to take to crime and be ultimately killed by security agents.


Arguing that Otti’s administration had received 10 times more funds than Ikpeazu had for the same number of months, he said it was only wickedness and hatred for Abia youths that would make the government retrench anyone qualified and validly recruited through the civil service commission.

His words: “The interesting part is that they are sacking those people after physically verifying all of them to confirm that they are not ghosts and what has happened is that while Ikpeazu was intentional about job creation Otti is obviously intentional about sacking Abia youths.

“It is also not possible to have ghost workers, as strictly defined, because every worker is paid using a bank account and BVN. What we have is a government that is trying to justify vindictiveness and wickedness to Abia youths by hiding behind any available excuse no matter how mundane.

“The same man claimed earlier that they discovered and sacked 7,000 ghost workers and saved hundreds of millions of Naira but when put to task to publish the names with associated BVNs he quickly reviewed the numbers to 2,500 “ghost workers” sacked at a time other states are doing everything possible to engage youths and raise wages to cushion the current harsh economic condition in the country.”

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To him, the situation in the state could not be divorced from a government that came to power by accident of “Obi wave” without any plan or roadmap to lead the state in a proper direction.


Hear him: “As journalists practising in Abia State, are there any of you here that have seen the electoral manifesto of Otti and Abia Labour Party before, during and after the 2023 election? Is there any single project this administration has started and completed since taking office more than 100 days ago?

“Aside from blaming Ikpeazu from morning to night and trying to harass those with opposing views into silence what other achievement can you point to since May 29th 2023,” he said adding that 100 days after the people were already being conditioned to blame Ikpeazu for its multiple failures.

“Otti is like every other populist who comes to power without a definite plan for the peace and progress of the people. The only recourse available to such leaders is to sell the notion that their predecessor left so much rot that they have to spend years cleaning.

“We saw that with the Buhari administration in 2015 and anyone familiar with our political history will know that any government that is prepared from day one will not have time for excuses and witch-hunting of administrations before them. Take your minds back to all the Governors that made heavy issues of probing and blaming their predecessor and you will observe that they were not prepared for leadership and hence never achieved anything substantial.

“You can imagine a government that started a 600m road project at Cemetary road Aba and after achieving some milestones of about 100m proceeded to send pictures to a respected man like Charly Boy to post on Twitter as “great achievements of Otti in Abia” without even informing the man that all they did was 100m out of 600m whereas Ikpeazu did the proximal 3.5km Eziukwu-Cemetary road without noise.


“When Charly Boy came to Abia for an anniversary celebration why didn’t they take him to the road he advertised so he can see for himself that Abians have entered one chance bus with Otti as the driver? All the Otti administration has done in terms of roads is to patch small portions of roads like Jubillee in Aba and start work on some Apiam ways leading to nowhere whereas at about the same 100 days period Governor Ikpeazu delivered 6 key road projects in Aba including the Ehere road commissioned by former President Obasanjo.

“Other roads done by Ikpeazu within those 100 days include Kamalu, Umuola, Ukaegbu, Tonimas, Enuc, Omni, and Umuocham all in Aba while he also did Roads 2 and 8 at federal housing estate in Umuahia and completely re-asphalted more than 15 other roads in Aba and Umuahia. Even the promise of Otti to construct three new general hospitals within his first 100 days is still inside voicemail whereas he is unable to put to use the ultra-modern multi-specialist hospital, new government house and Enyimba garment factory commissioned by Governor Ikpeazu in the last days of his administration.

“All we hear are excuses, blame games and vindictiveness towards those who didn’t support him because they correctly believed that he would turn out to be who he has turned out to be as Governor.”

Ememanka, also echoing the ex-commissioner’s position, regretted that the penchant of the administration for incompetence, dismissing it as “incurably unable to do anything without looking for any possible means to blame the Ikpeazu administration, even for things that make absolutely no sense.”

He said: “Their latest ploy is to blame the Ikpeazu administration and in particular, former Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for their decision to sack several thousands of workers from the Abia State Civil Service. It is disturbing that someone who speaks for a state government is blatantly ignorant of the workings of government. How can actions carried out by a sitting Governor in offering employment to teeming Abians be termed as illegal?


“The term illegality connotes some form of criminality. What is criminal about the decision of an incumbent Governor to offer employment to the people of the State, putting them on the payroll and paying them a salary? It is laughable to hear the Abia Commissioner for Information accusing the Ikpeazu administration of employing people through the back door and back-dating employment letters given to them.

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“This statement is ridiculous and preposterous. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Ikpeazu administration had absolutely no reason to backdate any employment letter issued to any person employed in the State Civil Service. The reason is simple. Ikpeazu remained the Governor of Abia State till midnight of 28 May 2023, and by that token, all administrative actions he took within that period were covered with the robe of legality.

“One of the powers of a State Governor is the grant of waiver for employment to the people of the State. Dr Ikpeazu as Governor duly exercised this power for the benefit of teeming Abia youths and had absolutely no apologies to anyone for that action.

“One of the most important responsibilities of government is to provide employment opportunities to the citizens of the State. Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu is proud to have taken that decision to create jobs for our people. If Governor Alex Otti has chosen to sack these workers who were duly employed, then he must accept full responsibility for that decision and not blame another person for his indiscretions. It is as simple as that.”

Arguing that the sacked workers were employed under clearly defined due process supervised by the State Civil Service Commission, he added: “There is not any single person employed into the State Civil Service whose employment did not go through the Civil Service Commission whose statutory responsibility. It is to manage the process of employment into the State Civil Service. The records are there. Unknown to this Commissioner who appears to be totally ignorant of the workings of the Civil Service, the process of employment into the Civil Service takes quite some time and doesn’t happen automatically.


“First, the state government under Ikpeazu introduced biometrics in the assessment of the actual number of workers in the State Civil Service and this revealed several valid vacancies which led to the commencement of the processes for filling them. Qualified Abians were offered employment into the Civil Service and were being maintained until this new administration came and sacked these workers, treating them as if they committed any offence by accepting employment from a sitting administration in the State.

“The simple truth is that Governor Alex Otti came into government with overflowing vendetta in his heart which he has exhibited without any inhibitions whatsoever. What of the Permanent Secretaries he sacked from office? Were they employed by Ikpeazu too? This is the first time in the history of our State and indeed anywhere in the country that a new administration came into office and sacked the entire Body of Permanent Secretaries together with the Head of Service, leaving only 2 Permanent Secretaries.

“Such arbitrary display of raw totalitarianism is strange to the public service where careers enjoy substantial stability. There are clear procedures to be followed in sacking a Civil Servant under the Civil Service Rules. These Permanent Secretaries were issued no queries, they had no subsisting disciplinary cases, they just woke up one morning and heard over the radio that they have been removed from office.

“These are men and women who have served the State all their working lives. They have reached the pinnacle of their careers only to be kicked out like common casual workers. Was that Ikpeazu’s fault too? Meanwhile, Otti brought the current Accountant General of the State from an insurance company in Lagos, ignored all known rules of public service and made her Accountant General.

“When it became clear to Otti that he had committed a massive blunder, he quickly granted a waiver for her to be employed as a level 16 civil servant without going through the Civil Service Commission. One other distinctive feature of the Civil Service is respect for Seniority. When Otti removed the State Head of Service from office together with the Permanent Secretaries, he ignored all known rules of seniority and took a Deputy Director in the Ministry of Education and named her Head of Service, bypassing all serving Directors in the State Civil Service.


“Funny enough, the lady who is now Head of Service became a Deputy Director in the Service by virtue of the Command Promotion given by the T. A Orji administration in the State, which Dr Ikpeazu upheld upon assumption of office as Governor. But Otti came in and nullified command promotions given to Abia workers by the Ikpeazu administration.

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“Otti’s penchant for sacking workers should not come as a surprise to any close watcher of his professional life. Otti spent his entire working life as a banker. The modus operandi of banks are well known. They are set up primarily to make a profit and do not, by any stretch of the imagination, run on the principle of welfarism which governments stand for.

“Once banks are under any form of financial pressure, the first casualty is always the worker. Laying off, sacking, downsizing and rightsizing of the workforce is synonymous with banks and their overzealous capitalist tendencies. This is exactly the mindset Otti came into governance with. Sack workers and keep the wage bill manageable. Simple!

Within the first 100 days of his administration, Otti has sacked close to 10,000 workers across various strata of the State workforce.

“Perhaps, the most disturbing aspect is that they declare human beings who come to work every day as Ghost workers! These people have come out in the open to complain and cry, yet in the books of Otti and his administration, they are ghost workers, simply because they could not be captured by the contractors they brought from Lagos with their strange technology.


Citing the case of workers in the Abia State Liason Offices in Lagos and Abuja, who were all mandated to come to Umuahia for physical verification, he said: “Some of the workers are drivers and other junior workers who earn about 40,000 per month. They came to Umuahia and were kept for about five days unattended to and without any plans to offer them any form of assistance in terms of accommodation and food. When they elected to return to their stations, they suddenly became Ghost Workers.

“The gale of complaints from workers who besiege the office of the Accountant General daily to complain about being branded Ghost Workers is clear evidence of a badly managed process. Otti must take responsibility for his decision to sack workers. Ikpeazu has no hand in it. Ikpeazu employed them and paid them salaries from the time they were hired.

“Ikpeazu’s salary obligations to workers in the State Civil Service was up to the month of April 2023. While he paid Local Government workers up to that month, workers in the State Civil Service were only owed for one month, April 2023. We concede that we had some gaps in the salaries of some agencies of government and pensions but the situation was not as bad as the people were meant to believe.

“Ikpeazu battled to pay salaries to workers even with the dwindling revenue profile of the State. Today, on account of the removal of Petroleum Subsidies by the Federal Government, Otti has received in three months what Ikpeazu never got in almost one year, yet he chose to sack workers. For the avoidance of doubt, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu is proud that his administration provided a platform for Abia youths to get jobs and deal with the challenges of unemployment and insecurity.

“He was very creative about it. It was Ikpeazu who as Governor, created agencies like the Abia State Public Utilities Management Agency (APUMA), the Abia State Traffic Management Agency, and the Homeland Security Corp which created thousands of jobs for Abia Youths. It was Ikpeazu who built two factories – the automated Shoe and Garment Factories which have both been totally abandoned by the Otti administration with hundreds of millions of Abia money rotting away in equipment in those factories. Ikpeazu will never apologise for giving jobs to Abians.”


Stressing that various state governments in Nigeria of today had been rolling out measures to employ more of their citizens in the public sector, he lamented that the case of Abia had been on the contrary as people were being fired instead, a development he attributed to sheer wickedness, especially under an inflationary economy.

“Otti should leave Ikpeazu alone and be bold enough to bear the responsibility of his own decision to sack Abia workers and expose them to the elements of a biting economy at a time when there is more than enough money to pay them,” he said.





N15billion VP’s residence: Stop whining, you’re a hypocrite, Shettima attacks Obi



“President Tinubu and Vice President Shettima have left no stone unturned since they assumed office in the bid to wriggle the country out of the economic and social morass it had been enmeshed in. Under their watch, within a period of seven months, Nigeria’s foreign policy process and international relations have been reinforced with commendable results.”
These were the exact words, with which Vice President, Kashim Shettima, pushed back against attacks from Nigerians over the N15billion proposed by Nyesom Wike, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for the completion of the official residence of the Vice President in Abuja, saying those kicking against the project, were not being sincere.

He particularly lashed out at Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25, 2023 election, accusing him of speaking out of the pains he still felt over his defeat by President Bola Tinubu and himself, who ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The VP wondered why the same Obi, who had as governor, ordered the completion of abandoned projects during his tenure in Anambra would rail against the same move by the Tinubu administration, saying it smacked of hypocrisy on his part, as the project in question came about not because he wanted to live in a new house but that the current government at the federal level desired to complete projects abandoned by previous governments.

In a statement signed by Stanley Nkwocha, his spokesman, the VP, admonished Obi to quietly lick his wounds from his defeat rather than whining endlessly over every move of the Tinubu administration, which he said were bold steps being taken in its determination to turn things around for the country.


The full statement, read: “We have taken note of statements credited to presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi, in which he made yet another frail and futile attempt to paint the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration in bad light.

“For good 24 hours, Obi danced naked in the public square, trying to curry the attention of those who care to listen to his falsehood and warped opinions about waste. On Sunday, he accused the current administration of sponsoring over 1,400 delegates to Dubai for COP28.

“The next day, being Monday, the subject of his new found passion – armchair criticism – after his colossal loss at the presidential poll was the proposed N15.5 billion budgeted by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) to renovate the house of the Vice President, which he claimed would pay the annual salary of 3,000 University Professors.

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“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have bothered to gratify Peter Obi with a response, especially when it is obvious that the Labour Party candidate is an unhealthy subject to post-election trauma.But it has become necessary to put the records straight. In his recent tirade against President Tinubu and his deputy, Vice President Kashim Shettima, Obi started another series of self-aggrandizement aimed at convincing Nigerians that he is the only person who has their interest at heart. But a clear shift of the veil will reveal deeply a man who is still sobbing after his woeful loss in the 2023 presidential election.

“For the records, unlike the “most brilliant, all knowing and Nigeria’s mirific but never-had President,” Mr Peter Obi, both President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima, have never claimed to know it all or exhibit anything close to perfection in their dealings. If anything, they have always submitted to their human nature, leaving perfection to the Almighty God only.


“Giving the reactions and invocations generated by Mr Obi’s comments, however, it is necessary for the sake of history to clarify that the proposed plan for the construction of the Vice President’s official residence, for which budgetary allocation was made in the 2024 budget by the FCT Administration, was awarded by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. It was not originated by the present administration. This, Mr Obi, knows but chose to play dumb all in a bid to inflamate a targeted group of Nigerians and, as usual, score cheap political goals, accolades and praises.

“The project, which was reinitiated in 2010 and was funded by the Jonathan administration, was abandoned. Appalled by the sorry state of the uncompleted building that was now overtaken by weeds and reptiles over a decade after construction started about 13 years ago, the current FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, felt it would be a waste to allow such a project started with public funds to continue to lie fallow; thus, in his wisdom and without the prompting of the Vice President, decided to resuscitate the building.

“We invite more cerebral Nigerians to crosscheck properly which should be considered a waste between Obi’s tantrums because the project has attracted government’s attention, given the decision by the current administration to complete vital abandoned projects. What is more wasteful and reckless than abandoning an edifice to rot and depreciate despite the amount that has been sunk into it over the years?

“We recall that while Obi was governor of Anambra State, he had insisted that contractors should return to site to complete abandoned projects, which he then never considered as a waste. If he did this while deploying ‘entailed wisdom and leadership’ to Ndi Anambra as a governor, the question now is: why should the same action by the Tinubu administration now be termed blue murder?

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“Nigerians know that the issue of a befitting residence for the Vice President had been a recurring decimal in the budget of Nigeria since 2007. It did not start today, same for residences of the Senate President and the Speaker. The array of abandoned Federal Government projects littered all over the country is a national embarrassment that the current administration has taken a bold step to save the country from. This is why it has made it a priority that all abandoned projects must be completed before new ones are initiated, save for some on exceptional basis, either because of the need for strategic alignment or economic significance.


“Comparing the amount budgeted for the residence of the VP and salaries paid to Professors is an analogy taken too far. This is the only government that has repeatedly made it clear that the welfare of lecturers is paramount and the need to increase the budget of the educational sector is a gradual process in the face of the daunting security challenges it met on ground.
This same government directed that the backlog of salaries owed both teaching and non-teaching staff of universities be paid immediately despite the ‘no work, no pay’ order, while negotiations for their welfare continue in view of a wage package in 2024. The introduction of a student’s loan scheme is also a masterstroke that is targeted at ensuring that nobody, no matter his/her status, will be denied the right to quality education.

“Taking into cognisance the recent inflation rate, which has become a global phenomenon that Nigeria is not immune to, budgetary provisions are estimates aimed at advancing monies to complete projects that have bearings on the lives of the people. That the amount budgeted for various sectors are deemed to be on the high side is not unconnected with inflationary trends as being witnessed the world over. And since Mr Obi has qualms with this, he may as well explain to Nigerians why despite being a self acclaimed billionaire he and his likes continue importing all manner of junks, including toothpicks to sell to Nigerians all in a bid for his NEXT business empire to flourish at the detriment of our foreign exchange and economy.

“Curiously, it is under the Tinubu administration that Obi has suddenly “become a man,” with a shrill voice in the opposition camp. His claim about Nigerians needing leaders willing to make sacrifices for the nation’s development smacks of hypocrisy of the highest order. It appears the former Anambra State governor has forgotten so soon reports about the plethora of contracts he awarded in the twilight of his administration, including road contracts worth over N30 billion he awarded within a record period of three weeks.

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“Nigerians have also not forgotten the investigation by the global International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)-led Pandora Papers project which linked Obi to a number of secret business deals and relationships that he kept top secret, including businesses he surreptitiously set up and operated overseas. He later admitted that he did not declare these companies and the funds because he wasn’t aware that he was expected to declare assets or companies he jointly owns with his family members or anyone else as provided by the law.

“There is no other context to situate Obi’s sermon about waste other than the fact that he has refused to swallow the bitter pills of reality. It is pitiful that since he was mercilessly defeated by President Tinubu, he and his army of social media cohorts have continued to brazenly unleash a campaign of calumny against the President and now, his administration.


“But despite Obi’s divisive rhetoric, Nigerians have since put a final seal on religious and ethnic politicking so that the country can move forward against the wish of certain persons in the mold of Obi who have continued to fan the embers of division and falsehood just to create tension and spurn vexatious narratives in the polity.

“They have turned themselves into marketers-in-chief to attract direct foreign investments, all in a bid to turn around the nation’s economic fortune for good. But the likes of Obi have not for once applauded these efforts. Still labouring under post-election trauma, the Labour Party candidate and his ilk are bent on pulling down the Tinubu administration at all cost.

“We advise him and his fellow travellers in the opposition to accept defeat honourably, and put the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians first as patriotic citizens they claim to be. Nigerians are not so gullible to be hoodwinked by statements that fly in the face of common sense. Our candid advice for him is that he should join hands with the current administration in nation building instead of all these red herrings he is throwing around.

The Vice President is a very busy man. He has committed himself to serving Nigeria and helping President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to achieving his set goals and objectives. As his work attitude and skills speak to, Senator Kashim Shettima is a very serious-minded leader. He is not into dubious or phony politics of statistics manipulation or mind games. Leadership, to him, is a serious business and not a circus show!”

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South East roads: Will Umahi make or mar them?



By Chudi Okologbu Uwandu
Will the Hon Minister for works, Senator, Chief, Nweze Umahi, gladen the hearts of South Easterners and embolden them to travel to their homeland this Christmas , or scare them away with potholes, craters and broken bridges?
Soon, in less than 25 days, it will be Christmas and Easterners, especially, Igbos, will begin their traditional exodus from all parts of the world to their communities to perform pilgrimages of sorts, to reconnect with their umbilical cords
The yearly visits have become, more or less, a ritual, traceable to time immemorial, before the creation of Nigeria and before the first celebration of Christmas in Badagry, Lagos, 181 years ago.
Christmas in Badagry was the first in history to be marked in the territory that later became Nigeria in 1914, after the amalgamation of the Southern and Northern protectorates by the colonialists.
Two West European Missionaries, Reverend Thomas Birch Freeman, a pioneer Methodist Missionary and Reverend Henry Townsend, his Anglican counterpart , were said to have organised the historic Christmas for the earliest freed slaves and some newly converted locals on December, 25, 1842.
Christmas is celebrated widely in the world to mark the birth of Jesus Christ whom Christians believe, is the son of God. It is a period they use to particularly appreciate God for sending His only son to die to save humanity from sin.
But for the Igbos, Christmas, or, these end-of- year visits, means a lot more. After a year or two of sojourning in far-away lands, they find it difficult to resist the urge to return to their homeland.
Like mechanical vehicles, they drive home to refuel with energy and inspiration, from their ancestral filling stations, to strengthen their entrepreneurial acumen and brother’s- keeper spirit.
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This home-coming, is so significant for many reasons among which are: family reunions, search for marriage mates and celebrations of marriages, rest from the hustles and bustles of the year and commemoration of festivals coloured with masquerades and dances .
In addition, it has recently, become a veritable season to organise and launch community development programmes and projects. In short, activities in Igbo communities, at Christmas, turn into carnivals for various reasons considered too important to be missed by any “Nwafo,” true Igboman.
Unfortunately, not so much any more from the recent past. The lure to spend Christmas at home, has lately become weak, primarily because of bad roads and insecurity.
Obviously, road, as a major infrastructure, facilitates these movements. Good roads help to improve citizens’ quality of life and greases economic activities. The Igbos, more than any group in Nigeria, take these advantages home every Yuletide.
But in their current dilapidated and worn-out condition, roads to and in the South East, have become very difficult and challenging to use. Some of them have become near impassable at several points, thereby, negating these benefits.
Consequently, travels to destinations now take three to four times their normal durations. Vehicles get knocked and damaged; sometimes, abandoned in the middle of nowhere, to the mercy of robbers, bandits and terrorists.
For instance a journey to Umuahia from Abuja, a distance of about 700 kilometers, which would normally take nine and half hours, now takes about 14 to 16 hours, depending on the type of car used.
The increased wave of insecurity occasioned by clashes between sponsored non-state actors and federal and state security agencies is another reason going home at Christmas and embarking on such end-of-year visits, have become less attractive and a risky venture.
Considering other benefits of good roads which include: improved connectivity between other parts of the world and homeland, attraction and repatriation of investments, free flow of products and services as well, as, increased economic stability and quality of life , the call for the rehabilitation, reconstruction and construction of strong, paved roads to the east, can therefore, not be overemphasised.
Their rehabilitation, will consequently go a long way in restituting the confidence and desire of Igbos to revive their waning homeland spirit.
It is in this light that the appointment of Senator, Chief Nweze Umahi, as the Minister of works by President Bola Tinubu, has ignited hopes of redemption among the Igbos, nay, Easterners, that Christmas 2023, may be be a turning point for their demoralised homeland spirit.
Chief Umahi, himself, a core Igboman and an astute politician was a former Governor of Ebonyi State. His deployment to the works ministry by President Bola Tinubu, is an absolute testimony to his transformation of Ebonyi into a modern state through the provision of infrastructure in various departments of that state’s economy.
Any wonder, then, his appointment has raised the hopes of many Igbos and a euphoria for the revival of the mass return.
As a key agent of Mr President’s “Renewed Hope” mantra and the first Igboman in recent history to be appointed to the portfolio, the big question many Igbos are asking is: “will the roads leading to and in the east, be built now, that our son is in charge or will he leave them in their current ruinous and parlous state?
The Honourable Minister, is aware of the state of the roads in the South East, as well as other parts of the country. He is also aware of the expectations of his kinsmen to make a difference in his administration of road infrastructure in the region this time around.
For instance , at one of his meetings with Contractors handling roads, in the six geo-political zones in the country, the thoroughbred structural engineer, admitted as much.
He was quoted as saying: “I shed tears for the kind of hardships our people are enduring. I travelled through the roads myself and I was brought to tears by the pain our people are experiencing… I was glad that I experienced the hardships firsthand.”
At another meeting, where he got emotional, he added, that there was no evidence of good roads in the South East.
His other statements that “we will get it right. The time to do a good job is here. If you were doing a bad job before, this period is not for you. We must work 24 hours to do a good and acceptable construction that will last,” evidence his strong commitment to deliver on his mandate.
The Federal government recently allocated four hundred billion naira (N400billion), for roads and infrastructure in the 2023 supplementary budget, but the Minister says over seven trillion naira,(N7trn), will be needed to reconstruct South Eastern roads.
The – Enugu- Abakaliki- Ogoja, and the Amawbia – Ekwulobia – Nnokwa roads, are among the 20 road construction projects across the six geo- political zones recently billed for dualization at he cost of fifty- billion naira(N58 billion) naira, while sources at the Federal ministry of works add that eight billion, four hundred million naira(N8.4billion), has been allocated to the rehabilitation of highways in the South East.
Additional statements made and actions taken by the Minister on the roads, seem to be thawing the doubts in the minds of South Easterners and reassuring them that the roads will be built.
For example, while inspecting the state of the roads, he directed contractors handling road projects in the region, to redesign them and to use concrete to complete the remaining dilapidated sections.
Again, , the prompt attention the Minister gave to the collapsed fly-over bridge at the Enugu end of the Enugu- Port Harcourt expressway is another indicator that he will rise up to the expectations of the people of the South -East.
It demonstrated his sensitivity to the pains users of the road which links Rivers, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Edo states would have experienced if they dared travel the route this December in its damaged state.
Aready, palliative work has begun on the bridge. Full reconstruction of both of its lanes has been slated for the middle of December.
Following the development, an elated Governor of Enugu state, Dr. Peter Mbah praised Chief Umahi for quickly mobilising for the repair of the failed bridge immediately it collapsed.
The Governor, recalled that the Minister visited the bridge within 48 hours of its failure, to demonstrate his preparedness to walk his talk in respect of building and reconstructing eastern roads.
May be an image of road
Bad roads have been the major worry of Igbos since the end of the civil war. Major arteries destroyed during the unfortunate conflict have remained so, more than 60 years after the war.
It is one of the major reasons Igbos feel marginalised and have not trusted the leaderships of the Central governments since the return to civilian rule in 1999.
Some political analysts have propounded that President Bola Tinubu, appointed an Igbo to the prominent ministry of works as a strategy to win the confidence and support of the Igbos, who barely voted for him in this years general elections.
There is little doubt that if roads in the South East are rehabilitated, reconstructed and constructed by the Tinubu administration, many Igbos will review their assessment and perception of Mr. President and the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Until then, the question in the hearts and mouths of many Easterners will remain ” Will Umahi mar, or, make our roads?”
Uwandu, foremost journalist, senior citizen, wrote from Abuja

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Kaduna bombing: How I lost 34 family members – witness *After the first, they returned to cause the main havoc



“As we rushed to aid the injured, the jet returned, unleashing a second bomb, this time, many of those who had come to help were among the casualties,” were the exact words with which Idris Dahiru used to paint the gory incident of the massacre of his kinsmen after the bombing of his community by soldiers from the Nigerian Army.

Dahiru, who claimed he lost 34 of his family members in the incident to which Taoreed Lagbaja, Chief of Army Staff (COAS), attributed to mistaken identity as the operatives mistook them for bandits, said there was an initial attack in which the first set of victims were torn to shreds where others escaped death by the whiskers.

Stating that it was when rescuers from the village, who initially dispersed for dear life, returned to help the wounded that the more devastating attack happened as the soldiers returned to drop more bumbs.

Lagbaja, a Lieutenant General, who led other military top brass to commiserate with the community, where he donated N10million to help victims of the attack which occurred on Sunday, had told his hosts, “Having trailed them for sometimes, the decision was taken to conducts a strike based on the observations of tactics usually employed by bandits. Unfortunately, the report we got thereafter revealed that it was innocent civilians in Tudun Biri that the drone carried out the strike on.”


Stating that the reason for the urgent and essential visit to the village was to commiserate with the community on the unfortunate incident, Lagbaja assured them that a thorough investigation had commenced on the matter even before the directive to that effect by President Bola Tinubu.

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Dahiru, who spoke with the BBC Hausa, said the bombing, which went off without notice killing many people, disrupted their Maulud celebration, adding: “Unexpected airstrikes shattered our annual Maulud celebration. The first bomb exploded without warning, killing innocent people, including women and children, the blast tore apart some victims.

“My family alone has lost 34 members in this tragedy. We have 66 loved ones receiving medical care at Barau Dikko Hospital.”

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