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Breaking A 22 Year Old Jinx Of Inaccessibility: ‘If You Feel Grading My Road Is Unimportant, Grade Yours’

The Oasis Reporters

February 8, 2022



By Sir Don Ubani; KSC, JP

Okwubunka of Asa Gburugburu and Oke Amadi Nd’Asa.

It is a known fact world wide that road infrastructure is a sine qua non, not only in economic development terms but also in the social and political growth of a people.

Our highways are strategic in boosting the main hub of our national economy and our infrastructural status to visiting foreigners. But our rural roads constitute the ‘arteries’ of our economic survival.

In Nigeria’s first republic, even during the British colonial era, the third tier of government, represented in the defunct Eastern Regional Government as Native Authority Administration, vis a vis County Councils, was unrelenting in construction and maintenance of rural roads, which were referred to as Native Authority Roads.

Such roads attracted adequate attention because they were strategic in the transportation of agricultural produce. The economy of both colonial and first republican governments was basically agro-based and so, rural roads had to be in good state all year round.

Otherwise, agricultural produce would not be transported to their expected market destinations for much-needed export that was the major source of Nigeria’s foreign exchange.

In those good old days, no delegation from any Regional Government went to Lagos to lazily sit for money to be shared as it is unfortunately and ridiculously done today.

In those days, as a child, I observed with keen interest how painstaking ‘Labourers’ of Asa County Council worked dedicatedly to make sure our rural roads were kept motorable all through the seasons. With shovels, cutlasses, tapes or ropes and diggers, the Labourers filled potholes on our rural roads and manually constructed drainages.

Even though some persons may argue that haulage as at then was almost nothing compared to what obtains today, the truth remains that there was clear evidence of Native Authority Administration, Community Service and interplay of the dynamics of dignity of labour.

My Community, Umuiku-Isi-Asa, is located at the extreme northern hemisphere of Ukwa-West Local Government Area. We share proximal boundary with the people of Eberi-Omuma in Omuma Local Government Area of Rivers State. Our Federal electoral Ward is Asa-North. Umuiku-Isi-Asa is the most northern of Asa-North.

Asa-North Electoral Ward is made up of five distinct villages and in this order; (1) Umuiku, (2) Umuekechi, (3) Omuma-Uzor, (4) Obingwu and (5) Umuezeke.

The Colonial Government constructed a road that linked the five villages. That road was called Umuiku-Omuma-Uzor-Obingwu road. By expansion, some Amaukwu Oberete-Asa people today live on that road. Hence, it is now Umuiku-Oberete-Omuma-Uzor-Obingwu Road.

This strategic road which, by every definition, belongs to Ukwa-West Local Government Council, as inherited from Asa County Council, was last graded in 1997 by Ukwa-West Local Government Council, under the energetic chairmanship of late Mr Chiedozie Zokuba.

Since then, no other Council Chairman has considered it important or even necessary to grade the road. The worst is that two Council Chairmen that had hailed from Asa Group where the road is located, failed to do anything on the road.

The aftermath of these many years of irreconcilable and unjustifiable neglect and abandonment is that the road was overgrown by weeds and stumps. It, therefore, ceased to be accessible.

The People eventually became victims of that administrative heartlessness and recklessness. The economy of the people became comatose.

An Omuma-Uzor or Obingwu farmer that would naturally use the road to go and sell his produce at Ekeakpara Market in Osisioma-Ngwa Local Government Area became frustrated as the access road had been irresponsibly blocked.

The Man from Umuiku that would, on his bicycle, access Omuma-Uzor in about ten minutes, was compelled by negligence to resort to hiring a commercial motor-cyclist who would go through Obokwe, which is another Electoral Ward and Umuekechi before arriving at Omuma-Uzor, at an avoidable great expense. The situation was quite inconvenient and worrisome.

Taking advantage of the rare privileges accorded me by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu’s considerate appointment of my person as his Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of the Deputy Governor of Abia State, I resolved to break that jinx of inaccessibility to that road by my People. I have successfully engaged a Construction Company to recover that road that was lost for Twenty-two years.

Before commencement of this recovery engagement, I had asked a close aide, Mr Chukwunenye Ogbonna, to request that the people of Oberete-Asa living along that road help clear the bushes on the road.

They were reportedly exceptionally excited at the news of my intent to recover the road. I am now like a hero to them. Yet, some ill-informed individuals would write what they do not know anything about.

Work is currently ongoing there. The People of Umuiku-Isi-Asa, Oberete-Asa, Omuma-Uzor, Obingwu, Umuezeke and Umuekechi are happy.

It is important to note that Umuiku-Isi-Asa is just about eight kilometers to Ariaria Express Road Junction in Aba and this means that once Ariaria Express Road Junction-Umuiku-Isi-Asa Road becomes fully accessible, the success of the new Abattoir at Omuma-Uzor would be considerably enormous.

With the grading I am doing, I have succeeded in linking Umuiku-Isi-Asa and Oberete People to the Uratta-Obokwe-Ugwati road which Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has already tarred up to Umuekechi.

Any person going to Umuiku-Isi-Asa from Aba could now have easy access by going through Uratta and branching off at Obingwu, through the Abattoir. My father’s compound is just a walking-distance from the Abattoir.

The good news is that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has graciously directed that the Chinese Construction Company handling the Abia State University Teaching Hospital Road, Aba, to conduct an immediate survey of Omuma-Uzor-Umuiku-Isi-Asa Road, with the intent of constructing A Cement Pavement on it.

What an irony of life! Those who have consistently mocked me for having no access road, even as I have been in Government for quite a reasonable length of time, I hope you would be prepared to laugh with me in the final analysis.

Believing that one would forget, following my appointment by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu as his Deputy Chief of Staff, I had executed an aggressive road grading from Ariaria Express Road Junction to Umuiku-Isi-Asa in 2020. I also opened up many feeder roads in Umuiku-Isi-Asa.

It was funny that some ill-bred critics had queried why I was excited about my rural road grading programme.


Of course, I did not bother myself descending to their bestial level of reasoning. A patriotic observer had called to inform me that the criticism was purely born out of envy. As he put it, none of those critics would point at any political appointee from their place(s) that had done for their people what I did and continue to do for my people.

In response, I told him that at my age, level and exposure, I was and am immune to criticisms by erratic dejected irresponsible mental urchins who can not lay claim to any community service in their native places except to haul insults at their Elders.

In the picture below, my son, Chukwuka, a fourth-year Student of Computer Engineering, is busy making sure the grading is well delivered.

Who on Earth and in his right senses, except the Mkpurumiri Bomboys, will say that Sir Don Ubani is not Okwubunka of Asa Gburugburu and Oke Amadi Nd’Asa?

If you feel what I have done is not important, grade your road.

Sir Don Ubani is a former Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Abia State and writes from Asa.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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