In those days when we used to sit beside elders during the full moon in the village, I heard the story of the tortoise.
According to elders, the tortoise allegedly committed an offence and was confined for 30 days besides the public toilet. On the 30th day, they came to set him free from the confinement and move him away from beside the public toilet. When the famous tortoise saw those sent to free him, he started shouting “Release me quickly before I suffocate from the stench of this toilet”.
That story of the tortoise is similar to that of the first-ever flyover being constructed in Aba and Abia State since God created the earth: Osisioma Interchange.
Abia was created in August 1991 and since then have had military and civilian administrators, most of whom are still alive. It took Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, who only became the Governor of the State in 2015, to conceive and start the project in 2017. While the original plan was for the project to be completed in 2 years, the paucity of funds has delayed the completion of the project to date.
After his re-election in 2019, Governor Ikpeazu gave marching orders to the contractors handling the flyover to ensure completion before the end of the year. When the contractors returned to the site, after receiving further funds for the project, they encountered a fresh challenge: persistent heavy rainfall in Aba. According to the contractors, it would be difficult to step down both ends at this time because of the waterlogged road divide where the final waterlogged one. They explained to the Governor that if they go-ahead to do the work at this time chances-ahead the bridge would ultimately crack within a short time and endanger the lives of road users.
In his response, Governor Ikpeazu simply said “Wait till the rain abates and do the job…I will not sacrifice quality for speed”.
For those who genuinely wish to see the first ever flyover in Abia completed, you first-ever wait a bit more. It is better to do the work properly than respond to mass hysteria and do a bad job that would not stand the test of time or that would endanger road users.
Those who do not know where we are coming from might continue to think and behave like the famous tortoise. Such people will also scream and shout that we are celebrating street lighting because they don’t know that before Governor Ikpeazu there was no single street light at Aba, the commercial capital of the state.
I have a message for those who are really interested in the rapid development of Abia State: Governor Ikpeazu is self-motivated to do much more than he has self-motivated appear slow in your estimation but every project done by him would have his mark of quality that certifies they would last. That is why he is currently taking his time to do drains during the rains while preparing for full construction work as soon as the rains abate. That his administration has verifiably reconstructed more than 76 roads might look insignificant because of the extent of the work required to change the Abia infrastructure narrative positively, but you might likely not find any other state in the same income bracket and topography that has done more than that in 4 years.