Otti, 2nd from left, cutting the tape to inaugurate Cemetery Road on Friday, September 15, 2023 at Aba

Aba back for global businesses, investments as Otti commissions 3 roads


From Boniface Okoro, Umuahia

Otti, 2nd from left, cutting the tape to inaugurate Cemetery Road on Friday, September 15, 2023 at Aba

Abia State governor, Dr. Alex Otti, has inaugurated three roads in Aba, saying that the exercise was to announce to the business world that “Aba is back.”

Governor Otti said his administration has a holistic urban renewal plan for the commercial city with the goal of turning it into a modern eco-system that could attract and retain the best brains in businesses, Information, Communication and Technology (ICT), arts and entertainment and every other human worthwhile endeavours.

The Governor was emphatic during the Friday evening commission of the roads that by the time he would round off his tour of duty, “Aba must work,” and “would never be the same again.”

The Otti administration, on assumption of office, embarked on the reconstruction of five roads in Aba, namely Umuiomo, Jubilee, Shalom, Cemetery and Emelogu, with the aim of marking their 100 days in office with the completion of the roads.

The roads would have been inaugurated on September 6, 2023, but Commissioner for Information and Culture, Prince Okey Kanu, had explained that the event was delayed because the government came up with the idea of beautifying them with streetlights and fixing water fountains at major junctions of the roads. Though the water fountains are expected to be in place soon, the solar street streetlights are already illuminating all the three roads.

Governor Alex Otti explained that the ceremony, being the commissioning of the first phase of road projects in his administration’s long list of programmes to rebuild Aba, the famous Enyimba City in a bid to restore its glory as the leading commercial city in West Africa, was not celebrate government’s achievement, but a way of letting the world know that Aba was being reshaped for the global business community to come and invest again.

“We are here to commission these roads, not necessarily to show that we are working because most residents in Aba can attest to the fact that a new thing is happening in Abia

“We have come because the world needs to know that Aba is back as a favourite investment destination, a thriving commercial hub and a goldmine of opportunities. We are here not to pat ourselves on the back, but to let the message out that any investor who is not already in Aba may find himself playing second fiddle in no time,” Otti said.

Apart from rebuilding the dilapidated road infrastructure in Aba, the Governor revealed that there were plans to build hotels and international conference centre, recreational and industrial parks, among other facilities, in the commercial city.

“While we are moving fast to fix the roads, our vision to rebuild Aba is more robust and all-encompassing: we have a plan to build transport hubs, family friendly recreational facilities and ICT innovation parks in different parts of Aba and across the state.

“Additionally, we are speaking with investors who are keen on partnering with existing shareholders to deliver a World-Class Hotel and Conference Centre at the site of the present Enyimba Hotels.

We are working to get the commercial and legal frameworks ready before the end of the year. And when that is done, Aba will become not just a city that is renowned for trade and commerce but a favourite destination for global business and social events,” the Governor said.

“Our desire is to build the best of everything in Aba: the best roads, modern markets, best hospital facilities and, of course, the hotels and conference centres,” he added.

The Governor announced that the federal government has made a firm commitment that work would soon commence on the abandoned Aba Port – Harcourt Expressway because Abuja appreciates the enormous importance of the road, not just because of the business in Aba but as a gateway to Rivers and other neighbouring states.

He said his government decided to start with road rehabilitation in the Aba rebuilding programme because it facilitates commercial and economic activities.

“We are investing heavily in road projects because it has been proven that roads are economic enablers,” he said, emphasizing that it creates a direct access to harnessing the economic opportunities that lie within a territory.

“Our plan for Aba is very clear: make the right decisions, invest money where they will have optimum multiplier effect on the economic and social lives for the residents and open the city up for private investors from across the world, to move in and take advantage of the enormours human and material resources that this town has been blessed with,” Otti said.

“We will commit everything available to us, so that what we deliver to Aba in terms of infrastructural development, social investment programmes and economic empowerment vehicles,,” he further promised, assuring the people of Aba that his administration would do its best to fulfill its campaign promises to them to justify and to retain the enormous confidence and trust the people have in his government, recalling how they identified with him through thick and thin during the 2023 electioneering.

He urged the people to continue to support his administration to turn the state around for good.

“Our plan for Aba is holistic and all we shall request is your consistent support to achieve that concrete agenda: pay your taxes as at when due, do not drop refuse indiscriminately and support the security agents to stamp out crime from the state,” he said.

The governor said that government would deal ruthlessly with anyone caught extorting money from businesses in Aba and would do everything to stamp out touting.

In his speech, the Commissioner for Works, Engr. Don Otumchere Oti, said giving adequate attention to road infrastructure was paramount to the Governor Otti-led administration as revitalizing the road networks would impact on economic growth and development, as well as ease off stress on the citizenry. He called on the residents living within reconstructed roads and other road users to reciprocate government’s gesture by taking responsibility of keeping the roads free from refuse and refrain from blocking the drains.

The Commissioner hinted that soon, it would be a serious offence to drop refuse in the drains or to repair automobiles or display wares on the roads, adding that the necessary legislative frame work to put that to force was in the works.

The roads commissioning attracted the masses of Aba who trooped out to cheer the governor for the good work he was doing.

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