OPINION: Ikpeazu's Strategy at Flood control in Aba

By Factnews on 29/01/2018

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By Onyebuchi Ememanka

There is something refreshingly different about what Ikpeazu is doing on Aba roads. 
He is not just building roads, he is bent on checking the challenge of flooding in the city.

The MCC-SAMEK road is one key road project in Ikpeazu's action plan. 
This road is designed to primarily open up the Shoe Plaza at Umuehilegbu which is clearly the largest cluster of shoemakers in West Africa. The road directly links Aba Owerri Road to SAMEK by Faulks Road. This road will also positively affect the Ariaria International Market as it creates a brand new alternative route into the market.

Again, this road passes through the area known as WORLD BANK around Umuocham area. It's a housing estate and an area known for its perennial flooding.

The road is ready for asphalting but before this final stage commences, Governor Ikpeazu instructed the Project Contractor to find a permanent solution to the flood problem. If not, the new road will collapse early.

In a bid to carry out this instruction, the Contractor traced and discovered a massive artificial lake originally designed to serve as a collection point for stormwater in the area with an adjoining network of underground drainage systems.

Built in the 1980s by the Mbakwe administration of the old Imo State, this place had long been abandoned and forgotten. Buildings had sprung up around that area and the lake filled with an unbelievable amount of refuse and debris. In addition, the entire network of underground drainages had been blocked with refuse for over 30 years now.

With the approval of the Governor, the contractor has embarked on a massive dredging of the lake. In the last 41 days, dredging work has been on at the site to clear the place of the dirt that had taken over the place for decades.

Yesterday, I joined the Project Contractor on an inspection tour of the project. I was startled by what I saw. Though I was born in this area, I never knew that such a facility exists there. I initially thought that I was at IFE OBARA around Ukwu Mango Ariaria. 
The difference here is that while IFE OBARA is a natural lake, this one was purpose-built to check flooding. 
The quantity of debris scooped from the lake is shocking. Of course, all the illegal shanties built around the lake have been pulled down to create brand new access for stormwater. 
The underground drainages which had been blocked for several years are now being cleared.

I now saw why the World Bank Area remains perpetually flooded with no one having an idea of any solution.

I was delighted with the work I saw yesterday. With this, the entire World Bank Housing Estate, the new MCC SAMEK Road and all adjoining areas will be saved from flood.

We took time to engage residents of the area on the need to stop this very bad habit of using drainages built by government as refuse dumps. It's simply unbelievable what these people do.

As I left there yesterday, three things came to my mind...

1. The Late Governor Sam Onunaka Mbakwe was a different kind of man. The vision he had for Aba was out of this world. Seeing what was built there...the network of water channels and the underground drainages, proved to me that Mbakwe was indeed a visionary leader. If that man was allowed to do a second tenure as Governor...

2. Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has great plans for this town. He had the option of just building the road, get temporary applause from people and move on. But he is a leader who wants to leave enduring legacies for his people. With this, flood will become history in the area. 
Like Mbakwe, he seeks permanent solutions to challenges, particularly in the area of road construction and tackling environmental problems. Go to Faulks Road and IFE OBARA and see for yourself.
Since after Mbakwe, no other Governor has shown the level of passion and commitment that Ikpeazu has shown for Aba. This is beyond dispute.

3. We may blame government for our problems but we all are a key part of the problems that face us as a people. I wondered why people would destroy such a huge facility built to make life better for them. Why on earth will people turn such a humongous facility into a refuse dump, built houses around an area set aside for stormwater collection, block underground drainages and yet, turn around to blame government for the flood that ravages their homes?

 

Posted on January, 29 2018

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