As part of activities marking the 100 days in office celebration of the Imo State governor, His Excellency Rt Hon Emeka Ihedioha, contracts for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of road projects have been awarded and flag-off ceremonies for the construction of these roads are ongoing as I write.
As an Imolite, it would be insensitive of me to castigate every action taken by the governor, especially, when such actions are likely to benefit the ordinary people. To this end, I commend the governor and his team for the political will to begin work on these strategic roads. I also congratulate Imo people, because all of us are sure to benefit from these roads when they are done and done well.
However, the governor should not use the construction of these important roads as a smokescreen to loot Imo’s commonwealth. It is curious that a whopping sum of over 25 billion Naira has been mapped out for the construction of less than 50 kilometers of road, if what the governor’s social media crew has been posting is to be gone by.
At 25 billion Naira for 50 kilometers of road, we are talking about 500 million Naira for each kilometer of road, and this would be outrageous malfeasance and daylight robbery by the governor. A kilometer of road should cost between 60 to 100 million Naira to construct to standard and less, if we want a makeshift job that would last for five years or less.
Also, the governor’s choice of foreign but unpopular construction companies for these jobs raises suspicion that something might be amiss and that Imolites may be losing more than they will gain from these construction works. With the money the governor is ready to pay these construction companies, our local construction companies will certainly do a better job, while at the same time creating wealth for the local population. T
If Coduc, which is owned by an Imo man can do some of these roads, Rhas, Marcon and other local construction companies could as well do a lot better if empowered with the same resources, which our governor is handing over to Chinese and Abia State owned construction companies.
One can also raise concerns about the procedure of awarding these contracts. The governor did appoint a Director-general for the State’s Public Procurement Office, but at no time did I read a notice calling for bids for the construction of these roads.
The exclusion of most critical roads in Orlu zone also calls for serious concerns. The governor should not give the impression that he was merely mocking the people of Orlu and Ideato, especially, when he took journalists to the failed portion of bridge at Umuchima in Ideato South LGA of the State, as it was expected that that road would be among the first set of roads to receive the governor’s attention.
Personally, I pray that the contractors live up to the promise made by the governor, to the effect that these roads would last for upwards of 20 years before demanding any form of maintenance.
MAY IMO MOVE FORWARD!