Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Agbata Ndiowu community in Orumba-North council area of Anambra state had been enmeshed in decades of long suffering due to dearth of road infrastructure. Whenever it rained, inhabitants of the community were confronted with the harsh realities of not being able to evacuate farm produce to neighbouring communities of Oko, Amaokpala, Ndikelionwu and some others to earn a living. The hilly Agbata-Ndiowu road had been a nightmare to the people especially as they faced excruciating experience accessing the road in question.
But the surrounding villages heaved a sigh of relief from decades of this hardship as Governor Willie Obiano commenced work on the road thereby restoring the hope and confidence of the people in his government and constituted authorities in general. Today, the people of Agbata community in Ndiowu have been brought to limelight following the construction of the aforesaid road. For this reason, the villagers in one accord decreed that their loyalty to the present administration would not be in doubt because the governor has redeemed them from many long years of oblivion. The chairman Orumba-North local government council Chief Emeka Aforka was very passionate about the on-going road project at Agbata-Ndiowu which also connects Oko community. Some people from Agbata community who bared their minds on the road project said it was the first time they felt government presence in the community.
Mrs. Chinwe Ogbonna, a palm oil producer from Igweakpor Agbata, said the construction of the road was a welcome development describing the drainage system on both sides of the road as excellent. Mrs. Ogbonna however recalled that prior to Obiano’s intervention on the road, they had been suffering such that it was difficult for villagers to convey their palm oil products to other communities for sale; though she stressed the dire need for the road to be completed before the rains set in.
Furthermore, Mazi Kingsley Omenuko who also hails from Agbata narrated the ordeal villagers go through in accessing the road. Omenuko said that in the past, no one could access the road and whenever it rained, villagers remained indoors because the road was slippery and dangerous to access. The situation according to him hampered economic activities such that they resigned to fate until Obiano came to their rescue. He therefore expressed profound gratitude to the state government and to the chairman of Orumba-North local government council Chief Aforka for remembering the community. He stressed that the governor needed no further campaign in the area for the 2019 general elections as he had already won the hearts of the people through the construction of Agbata-Ndiowu road.
Orumba-North chairman Chief Emeka Aforka who was on inspection to ascertain the level of work done on the road project, expressed satisfaction at what he saw on ground saying that the quality of work done so far was solid and in accordance with specification. He said the drainage system on both sides of the road were intact and that the road itself was being constructed according to the contract agreement adding that the contractor has not fallen short of expectation so far.
Aforka reiterated the fact that it was the first time the road was being constructed adding that past administrations did nothing on the road. Although he pointed out that the former governor flagged off 4.8 kilometres road at Ndiowu, Governor Obiano completed it and didn’t owe the contractors. Be that as it may, the council boss noted that the present state government took a step further to award another 6.7 kilometer road, which is the on-going Oko-Agbata-Ndiowu road being handled by two different contractors. He explained that the section inspected was 3.16 kilometres awarded to TeeTag Construction International Limited based in Lagos state. According to him, “Our people have been suffering for many decades without road; the road has been impassible. Every rainy season, nobody passes on this road. So we are happy that today we can sleep with our two eyes closed and with the hope that we can use this road anytime.”
Aforka further disclosed that Agbata community had been the major hard-to-reach area of Ndiowu until the governor awarded the road for contract. He said from his assessment of work in progress, the contractor handling the section he inspected did an expert work judging from the quality of materials and enforcement for the drainage system. He said that people slept on the road for two days due to rain because it was practically impossible for them to access the road while returning from a burial ceremony at Agbata Ndiowu even though he also expressed great expectation that in the forthcoming rainy season, the people of Ndiowu especially Agbata community will use the road to reduce the difficulties they encounter. He said construction of the road has “quickly contributed to economic activities of my people. Social life has increased. The land here has appreciated. Agricultural development has also increased.” stressing that people of Agbata community will no longer be alienated on account of bad road.
Apart from Oko-Agbata-Ndiowu road, the local government chairman revealed that other roads under construction in Orumba-North include Ajali-Umuiju-Ufuma-Ogbunka road, Ndiokolo-Ndiokpalaeke-Ogboji road, Agbiligba Nanka-Umuona-Isuofia road, Ufuma-Awa-Okpueze-Ndiukwuenu road, Awgbu-Amaetiti-Okpueze-Ndiukwuenu road, to mention a few, stressing that Orumba-North is receiving its fair share from Obiano’s administration.
Apart from the road project, the council chairman also inspected the on-going bus terminal being built at Oko in order to decongest traffic in the busy area due to the presence of the Federal Polytechnic Oko. Aforka stated that the bus terminal was Orumba-North Project sited at Oko to enable commercial vehicles to have designated point where commuters could board vehicles and disembark. He also pointing out that the bus terminal when completed, would serve as internally generated revenue source for government.