By Emmanuel Ikechukwu-Jonathan
The people of Isi-Uzo Local Government Area in Enugu State are currently soaked in joy over Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s reconstruction of 8.8km Eha Amufu-Nkalagu Road, Abandoned for Over 36 years, making it difficult for the agrarian communities in the area to export their farm products.
The reconstructed 8.8km road, is a gateway to the North through Obollo-Afor connecting Ebonyi State through Nkalagu and provides access to the Nigercem Factory at Nkalagu that used to be the mainstay of the economy and tourist attraction to the Eastern Nigeria.
The road is also one of the hitherto abandoned critical infrastructure and legacy projects in the rural areas, executed by Gov. Ugwuanyi’s administration in line with its rural development policy.
Speaking during the inauguration of the road by Gov Ugwuanyi amidst a jubilant crowd who thronged out in their numbers to celebrate what they described as freedom from bondage, the Chairman of Isi-Uzo L.G.A, Dr. Benjamin Edeoga, on behalf of the people of the council, said that their age long tears of suffering has been wiped away by Ugwuanyi whom he described as a people oriented Governor.
While thanking Gov. Ugwuanyi for remembering Eha Amufu community and its environs after over three decades of neglect, Edeoga pointed out that they had been exposed to unbearable hardship due to the difficulty experienced in exporting farm products to urban areas and businesses associated with moving in and out of Eha Amufu.
“This road has been a death trap for the past 30 years and nobody had touched it until you came and rescued us. It was always a nightmare each time one thinks of going in and out of Eha Amufu.
“Your Excellency, our people are very happy because you have wiped away our tears. You have been addressing our plights. You are the David of our time. We have not seen it so good like this. It is when you came on board that this road that had been abandoned was asphalted. Thank you, Your Excellency, God will continue to strengthen you and bless you”. The LGA Chairman explained.
Also speaking, the State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Hon. Augustine Nnamani, who is an indigene of the council, said that the people of the area had lost hope over the reconstruction of the 8.8km road because many successive Administrations will promise to reconstruct the roads but nothing will be done.
Also Speaking, a Commissioner-nominee from the council, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, described Ugwuanyi as a grassroots man whose love for rural development is unique and highly emulative.
The Commissioner-nominee commended Gov Ugwuanyi for freeing the people of the area who been from movement because of the difficulty associated driving on Eha Amufu-Nkalagu Road.
A University Don and former Vice Chancellor of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Prof. Hillary Edeoga, commended Gov. Ugwuanyi and those who gave one support or the other towards the reconstruction of the gateway road.
The traditional rulers, and other stakeholders, appreciated Gov. Ugwuanyi for the indelible footprints he has left in their area through the provision of legacy projects such as roads and inter-state bridges and appointments of their sons and daughters into sensitive government positions.
Inaugurating the road, Gov. Ugwuanyi stated that the project was part of the deliberate efforts to provide critical infrastructure to the rural communities to improve the quality of life, ease evacuation of agricultural produce and facilitate market linkages, improve earnings amongst rural population, stimulate local commerce and ultimately reduce poverty while curtailing rural-urban migration.
The governor, said “integrated rural development and inclusive governance are the major planks of our administration. We have vigorously pursued these objectives through numerous strategic rural infrastructural interventions”.
Describing the road as one of the oldest Federal Roads in the country, built before the Nigerian Civil War, Gov. Ugwuanyi, who was accompanied by the Speaker of the State Assembly, Rt. Hon. Edward Ubosi, his colleagues, and the member representing Enugu East/Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, Hon. Prince Cornelius Nnaji, among others, revealed that it was last rehabilitated in 1981 by the administration of Senator Jim Nwobodo as Governor of old Anambra State.
Appreciating the jubilant crowd of the people of the area who came out en masse to witness the event, the governor said: “We are encouraged by the happy faces of the people from communities in Eha Amufu and environs that we see here today. I congratulate you, the true heroes of democracy for you deserve this and even more.
“Your prayers and sincere support have been our major sources of strength and inspiration. We are in government to alleviate the sufferings of our people and we remain irrevocably committed to this mission”.