The Emmanuel adminstration is building a transport network to maintain existing roads and link up all the state’s economic centres
WHEN UDOM Emmanuel was elected to take over from Akpabio as state governor last year, he undertook a survey of basic public needs. One area that remained a priority was that of roads, particularly connecting routes from wards and local governments to Uyo, the state capital.
Based on the outcome of the survey, the policy thrust of his administration is to ensure that not only are existing roads well maintained but that communities that had been left out of the previous administration’s roads programme benefitted from a fresh construction drive.
According to Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, the State Commissioner for Works, “In order have industrialisation in the way this government intends, it is important to ensure that linkages in terms of existing infrastructures are consolidated.”
One of the first projects that was approved was a 3.5km road with a 15m bridge in Ikot Udom, Ibiono local government. This community is in Uyo Senatorial District and had generally been left behind in development terms.
A contract for the 5km Ikot Uboh road in Mkpat Enin local government, plus a 30m bridge, was also awarded. Also, within the first 100 days of the new governor’s administration, Eket metropolis, which was experiencing serious flooding, was brought into the spotlight with a comprehensive drainage contract.
Ini local government, that was almost completely cut off because of poor roads, is now being linked up with Abia state. Ini to Arochukwu road is another project whose profiling and draw works have been completed.
The commissioner added: “One thing so remarkable about these projects is that they all started at a time most states in the country were suffering from paucity of funds.”
Inyang-Eyen believes the governor’s banking background is one of the reasons Akwa Ibom has managed to juggle its finances successfully.
“What the government is simply doing is that from Uyo, the state capital, there should be dual carriage way to all these places,” the State Commissioner for Works continued:
“We are also trying to ensure that the entire state is linked up with dualised roads so that the industrialisation dream of the state government can be achieved. At the moment, if you move from Uyo to the places we want to focus on industrialisation, you will discover that there are no good roads there.
“The government has therefore decided that Uyo-Etinan; Etinan to Eket and ultimately to Ibeno are linked up. As we speak, construction giant, Julius Berger, is working on Uyo-Etinan road. Etinan-Eket is being worked on by CECC. We are, therefore, focusing on roads for economic reasons and not just roads for political considerations.”
Another grand project is the 1.5km road between Mkpok and Ukat in Onna local government. When completed, the road will lead to the beach in Ukat, reputed to have the finests sands in the state. “Reviving this road will help to revive the economic life of the people there,” commented Inyang- Eyen .
He added: “What we want to ensure is that the road network already created by the previous administration of Chief Godswill Akpabio is not only maintained but improved upon with further linkages We do not want roads to terminate in the middle of nowhere - we want to ensure that they link up and are properly maintained.”