As President Buhari visits Imo, By Oguwike Nwachuku

Posted by News Express | 9 September 2021 | 1,063 times

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•President Buhari


It is no longer news that President Muhammadu Buhari will be visiting Imo State on Thursday, September 9, 2021.

The excitement can be seen on the faces of the people. Their mood, the environment and more are there for everyone to see.

The mood of the good people of Imo State has also started rubbing off on those from the neighbouring states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, who are enthusiastic about meeting with the Number One Nigerian.

Contrary to insinuations, the desire of the people of Imo State and her neighbours to see, feel and touch President is amazing.

They cannot wait to behold the face of the man who has confronted the rebuilding of numerous abandoned infrastructure across the country, particularly in the South East, by past governments without making political noise about them.

Talk about the Enugu/Port Harcourt expressway that became a death trap for years, courtesy of the administration of the then People’s Democratic Party, and you know why President Buhari stands tall amid his political peers.

What of the ongoing revolution in the railway sector? Or have we forgotten in a hurry the Second Niger Bridge that virtually all presidential candidates in the heydays of the now opposition PDP used as a deceitful campaign tool from 1999 till 2015 before providence brought President Buhari on board, using the common people and they were chased away from office like common criminals due to the rabid manner they pillaged the economy of the country and left the people stranded. 

Before Buhari came into office, social security funds for the vulnerable was actually a budget for the already well-to-do in the society who were privileged to be in government.

As was the norm then, the ordinary citizens of the country were only remembered when the next election was around, and when their “services” were needed by the lords of the manor.

Today, I do not think, like many Nigerians, that the welfare of the ordinary people of the country are not taken into consideration by the Buhari administration going by the policy thrust of the APC-led government which Mr. President is leader.

Perhaps for the first time in the history of the country, the welfare of the highly poor and vulnerable members of the society is taken into consideration by government in form of different cash and material palliatives. And this could only have been possible with a leader like President Buhari who believes that the leaders must make sacrifices for the poor.

The credit for Mr. President’s visit to Imo goes to the Governor of the moment, Dist. Senator Hope Uzodimma who, less than two years in office, has made it possible. Hear Governor Uzodimma: “I have secured approval for President Muhammadu Buhari to visit Imo State on Thursday, September 9, 2021, to commission some significant projects put together by my administration, the Shared Prosperity administration.” 

Yes, Governor Uzodimma deserves our commendation because he is not only living up to what he preaches about the South East keying into the grid of national politics so as to reap the benefits, but he is working hard to ensure that more benefits trickle down to all the nooks and crannies of the South East.

As usual, the naysayers and political opponents of the governor, and confirmed enemies of Imo State in particular and the South East in general will not be happy that President Buhari is coming to Imo. One may be wont to ask why? You will know shortly.

As I write, the opposition elements have already started to mis-inform Nigerians on why Mr. President is visiting Imo State. In their imagination, President Buhari is in Imo to give teeth to the RUGA programme, a barefaced lie that will never drown the reality of the reason President Buhari is coming no matter how many times the fake news is broadcast or published.

For the avoidance of doubt, President Buhari will on Thursday, September  9, 2021 commission the multi-billion Naira Balloon technology-driven underground tunnel and surface drainage system, an ambitious project initiated by Governor Uzodimma to deal with the menace of flood in Owerri metropolis.

The underground tunnel and surface drainage system which is located along Dick Tiger Junction and connects Chukwuma Nwoha and Relief Market roads.

You will not be wrong if you say that the tunnel has three main catchment pits : Dick Tiger Road, MCC- ChukwumaNwoha Junction and Ihechuowa - Chukwuma Nwoha Junction.

The tunnel has other subsidiary collection points or drain lines connected to it such as: MCC/Uratta Road left and right drains; Aladinma Hospital Road drains; Dick Tiger Road/Street drains; Relief Market Adjoining Roads drains; Chukwuma Nwoha Road drains; Egbu Road drains; Trans-Egbu and Imo Housing drains.

The features of the tunnel will help us to properly comprehend why Imo people are excited about the project.

It is a 2.45-kilometre drainage system whose point of water collection is at Dick Tiger Road and MCC Junction and Chukwuma Nwoha and discharge, at the Otamiri River.

With a diameter of 1.8m, depth of 0.9m-11.5m, the effectiveness of the tunnel in collecting and discharging stormy flood cannot be over-emphasized.

Other features of the tunnel include its sloppy nature which is 0.25 percent and height of 6 meters and these characteristics make the tunnel self-clearing and free from clogging with dirt and debris as well as easy for flood discharge.

The tunnel has 94 manholes that make it easily assessable and easy to clear. It is equipped with trap nets and discharge points at Otamiri River to collect debris and waste that find their way into the tunnel from point of collection.

Needless to say that Governor Uzodimma started getting accolades from Ndi Imo, both home and in the Diaspora, when they first noticed the massive earth excavation embarked upon by the contractor, an indication that a serious project was in the offing.

With its completion, relief and excitement best describes the feeling of residents around the MCC/Uratta axis, Imo Housing Estate, Trans-Egbu/Uratta Housing Estate, Aladinma Estate, Egbu Road, Ikenegbu Extension/Relief Market, as well as the entire Owerri metropolis residents who have had to bear the pains of devastating flood over the years without the past governments having a clear cut idea of how to deal with it.

Let me also say that President Buhari will commission the newly built Imo State Executive Council Chambers by Governor Uzodimma, 40 years after late Sam Mbakwe built one. Until Governor Uzodimma mounted the saddle, January 15, 2020, five governors had presided over the affairs of Imo.

The import of the new EXCO Chambers is that is it fitted with modern gadgets that are in sync with contemporary living and governance and away from the analogue facilities that were used by the government then. The beauty of the new Imo EXCO Chambers cannot be hidden for/from anyone who has the opportunity of inhabiting therein, even if temporarily.

It is not my desire to forget that President Buhari will also commission the newly reconstructed Naze/Nekede/Ihiagwa road that connects two key higher institutions in the state - Federal University of Technology, Owerri and the Federal Polytechnic Owerri. For years, the institutions yearned for a proper access road, but thank God Governor Uzodimma has finally given them hope and shown that shared prosperity is reality and not a fluke unlike what past administrations did to undermine everybody’s interest.

Before President Buhari leaves Imo, he will also cut the tape to declare the Egbeada By-pass formally commissioned. The significance of that road cannot be under estimated as it is part of the strategically conceived ideas of Governor Uzodimma to ease human and vehicular movements in and around the Owerri metropolis.

The Egbeada By-Pass which will be renamed Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu Way by the time President Buhari commissions it will serve as a window for those travelling on Owerri to Onitsha axis and numerous persons residing on that corridor to do a detour using the road instead of emptying into the single Bank Road that connects motorists to the area.

Indeed, the traffic management ingenuity of the Governor Uzodimma’s administration that has found expression in the critical roads mapped for commissioning and the conscious effort made to check the ravaging flood will go a long way to improve the living standard of the people.

To say that economic activities are picking up in Owerri is to say the least. This is also because security has been guaranteed. And with improved infrastructure that makes for easy movement comes improvement in the health of the people. That is what proper planning in government is all about and that is what Governor Uzodimma will continue to do with the total support of the good people of Imo State.

Finally, President Buhari will have his day with South East leaders, most of who have started pouring into Owerri already.

Perhaps, this is the first time a sitting Governor of Imo State extraction will invite a President and summon key leaders and opinion moulders from the South East to sit in one same room to discuss issues of their common interest. The question is: will they take advantage of it?

It takes a Governor, a selfless one at that like Hope Uzodimma to do all that within two years of mounting the leadership saddle of his State. If therefore you are surprised that he has repeatedly said he has come to serve his people because he entered into a covenant with God to do so, yours sincerely is not.

•Oguwike Nwachuku is the Chief Press Secretary/Special Adviser Media to Governor Uzodimma.

Source: News Express

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