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Amaechi And Road Infrastructure Revolution In Rivers State

By Eze Chukwuemeka Eze,

“… Against the backdrop of his commitment, the administration articulated its vision concerning the road sector to create “A Rivers State where all communities are accessible by quality road.”

This vision by emphasizing quality roads implicitly acknowledged the findings of a study that there is a strong positive correlation between the economic development of any society and the quality of the road network of that area…”

PREAMBLE

Highlight of Amaechi’s Feats in Road Revolution when He Held Sway as Rivers Governor as Captured in Chapter Seven of the Historical Book Titled – “Amaechi: His Feats, Inspirational and Revolutionary Leadership Style” His vision and revolution of quality and durable Roads was to make Rivers State most developed State in Nigeria and create “A Rivers State where all communities are accessible by quality road.”

Chapter Seven

Amaechi and Road Infrastructure Revolution in Rivers State

(I) “Which roads did Amaechi not build?” – Victor Giadom

Chief Victor Tambari Giadom served as Commissioner for Works under the administration of Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and according to his account dated, August 27, 2015, titled, “Which roads did Amaechi not build?” you may decide on your choice between these two leaders from Rivers State.

From the inception of his tenure as the Governor of Rivers State in October 2007, Amaechi directed efforts and deployed significant resources of the state towards the development of infrastructure.

Against the backdrop of his commitment, the administration articulated its vision with respect to the road sector to create “A Rivers State where all communities are accessible by quality road.”

This vision by emphasizing quality roads implicitly acknowledged the findings of a study that there is a strong positive correlation between the economic development of any society and the quality of the road network of that area.

Between 2007 and 2014, over 300 contracts relating to roads and bridges, land reclamation and shore protection projects were awarded. As at August 2014, some 165 of these contracts had been successfully completed with the remainder at various stages of completion. The only exceptions were two in which the contractors were not mobilized before the end of the tenure.

The administration also completed 23 major bridges in different parts of the state with six other bridges at various stages of completion. The completed ones include(d) nine bridges on the Unity Road (Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo) Road; two steel bridges at Eagle Island; Ndoni Steel Bridge; three bridges on the Okrika Ring Road; bridge at the Abuloma-Woji Road; Mbiama-Kinima Bridge; Bolo Creek bridge. The ongoing bridges (before he left office in 2015) included the Woji-Akpajo bridge (70% completion); Luwa-Bere bridge (50% completion); Orashi Steel bridge (60% completion); Tema Steel bridge (40% completion) and two bridges on the Unity Road.

The administration completed two major flyovers: Agip Roundabout on Ikwerre Road, and Eliozu on the East-West Road. It reconstructed the collapsed flyover on Aba Road near the Nigeria Air Force Base. Another flyover at Woji had reached an 85% completion level. Two interchanges were also completed at Rumuokwurusi (at the intersection between the Port Harcourt-Aba Expressway and the East-West Road), the area (more popularly known as) “Eleme Junction”; and at Obiri Ikwerre (at the intersection between Prof. Tam David-West Boulevard and East-West Road).

To evidence Amaechi’s concern for all the residents of the state, 70 per cent of the roads were located in the rural areas with the remaining 30 per cent within the Greater Port Harcourt Metropolis. From the rural areas to the urban centres, no part of the state was left out in the development of a good road network. The Amaechi Administration expanded and completed the Okrika Ring Road. It expanded the Mbiama-Akinima Road. It constructed the Kpopie-Bodo Road. It substantially completed the Unity Road, which traverses three local government councils – Khana, Andoni and Opobo/Nkoro.

Before he left office, Governor Amaechi ensured that the people of the Ancient Opobo Kingdom could get to Opobo by road. Anxious to ensure that all parts of Rivers State were accessible by road, the Amaechi administration entered into advanced discussions with Nigeria LNG Ltd. with respect to the completion of the Bodo-Bonny Road, which had been abandoned by the Federal Government. The administration also completed the Rivers State end of the Port Harcourt/Owerri Road, in order to create relief for Rivers people, in the same way it attempted to reconstruct the Rivers State end of the East/West road, but was refused to do so by the then Federal Government. To improve movement of farm (produce) and encourage trade and commerce, the Amaechi administration constructed a major spine road between Isiokpo and Omerelu.

The Isiokpo/Omerelu Road reaffirmed the high premium the Amaechi administration placed on transportation. The criticality of some roads made them a compelling proposition for the Amaechi Administration. These included the Ada George Road (Mile III Diobu to Mgbuoba) and the Port Harcourt–Owerri Road. The Amaechi Administration constructed a Dual Carriage Highway from the Port International Airport Junction to the boundary between Rivers State and Imo State; the rehabilitation of the Port-Harcourt – Aba Expressway (from the Rumuokwurusi Interchange to the boundary with Abia State). The Administration also awarded the contract for the Trans-Kalabari Highway which construction had commenced before the end of tenure.

Within the capital city, the need to decongest the Aba Road led to the conception and construction of a relief road before the ever-busy Rumuola Junction to link Aba Road to Rumuomasi/Elekahia/Trans-Amadi. This relief road opened the area for residential development. The Old Stadium Road (renamed Ken Saro-Wiwa Road) was dualized. Similarly, the Old Aba Road up to Rumuogba (Artillery), was also dualized. Okporo Road was dualized to take traffic from Aba Road to the East-West Road.
To address access to the Industrial Area, Trans-Amadi, the Amaechi Administration dualized the Elekahia-Rumuomasi Road linking Aba Expressway. It also dualized the Oginigba–Rumuobiokani Road; dualized Nkpogu Road which takes traffic to and from Eastern By-Pass. Save for a disagreement between the contractor and the Ministry of Works, the bridge that opens up the second lane of the road would have been completed before the end of (Amaechi’s second) term.

The Administration conceived and awarded the contract and commenced the construction of another major spine road linking Garrison to East-West Road (Garrison-Trans-Amadi-Oginigba-Woji-Elelenwo) with an interchange at Garrison, three bridges at Waja River, Oginigba River, Woji River and underpass at Oginigba (near the Zoological Garden. The execution of the road project was phased.

The Woji section had attained a level of completion since 2014 that allows for reasonably unimpeded use by commuters. Work continued at the Trans-Amadi section before the end of the term. Within the same Trans-Amadi axis, the Amaechi Administration conceived and awarded the contracts and substantially constructed the Abuloma-Woji Road and the Woji-Akpajo Road. The objective road was to take traffic to or from Eleme axis (Akwa Ibom) away from Aba Road.

The Administration also conceived and awarded the contract and commenced the reconstruction of the Rumuepirikom–Rumuolumeni Road; the Elioparanwo Road; the Igwuruta-Eneka-Rumuokwurusi Road as dualized roads. The Administration reconstructed the Ikwerre Road from Education Bus Stop to Agip Roundabout. To provide relief to Ikwerre Road, the following roads were constructed for commuters from Rukpokwu, Igwuruta, and International Airport. The Administration reconstructed the G.U Ake Road linking Aba Road to Ikwerre Road close to Rukpokwu. The Amaechi Administration also conceived and awarded the contracts for the dualization and reconstruction of the Old Aba Road (Rumuogba–Woji Road and Oil-Mill–Elelenwo-Akpajo Road (the Old Refinery Road).

The administration completed two major interchanges, two flyovers, 25 bridges, and five shore protection projects. The government said it had also completed 890 kilometres of the then-ongoing 1,424 kilometres of road projects across the state. There were over six land reclamation/shore protection projects at Andoni, Opobo, Buguma, Abalama, Olumbie/Owukiri Island, and Oba-Ama-Okrika with over 1,140,000km completed.

Conclusion

In summary, Amaechi gave significant attention to the development of good roads in Rivers State on the understanding of its many benefits to the socio-economic well-being of the state. The Amaechi administration left a number of nearly completed roads that became low-hanging fruits for the new administration. What was required was for the present government to build on the excellent foundation laid but not Nyesom Wike who took over the reins of governance immediately after Amaechi whose vision differed from that of Amaechi. While Amaechi’s vision is to build while that of Wike is to destroy whatever can progress the fortunes of Rivers State. Even after eight years of his wastage reign WIKE is not tired of aiming actions to impinge the growth of Rivers State

Eze Chukwuemeka Eze is a Port Harcourt-based Media Consultant & can be reached on: ezemediaconcept2020@gmail.com or 08022049770.

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