Ring Road; Another Legacy Project of Gov Umahi -- Engr Otta

The Special Assistant to Governor David Umahi on Ring road project, Engr Felix Anayo Otta, in an interview with Ebonyi Times managing Editor, Celestine Okeh, speaks on the strategic economic importance of Ebonyi Ring road project under the administration of Engr David Umahi, Executive Governor, Ebonyi state and other issues.

So far, how is the ring road project going?

Well, Ebonyi ring road project is a project that has impacted on Ebonyians. It is one of the good legacy His Excellency, Engr Chief David Nweze Umahi is bequeathing to Ebonyi state. Of course, it was signed at the third quarter of last year, 2021, and it has eight lots. Why eight lots? His Excellency out of his ingenuity decided to do it lot by lot to bring in competitiveness, so that there will be no indolent by the contractors and I think, that is paying off because of the speed we are witnessing.

Currently, What is the progress of work in the ring road project

Work is currently going on and all the contractors are working in all the eight lots. Currently, we have achieved over fourthy percent of completion. Remember, Ring road has 198km and some of the areas had already been intervened by this present administration because, at the negotiation point, the bank was not so privy about rigid pavement, but His Excellency being a technical person made them to understand that the clay content of soil in Ebonyi is very high and a clay has a characteristics of contraction and expansion. It means that in the rainy season it expands and in the dry season, it contrast and that characteristics brings problem of depression, So, His Excellency insisted on rigid pavement because asphalt does not have the rigidity modules of concrete because concrete contains reinforcement, so it impact to ensure that contraction and expansion is not being witnessed unlike that of asphalt. If it were places that we have more of Sandy soil, it will be okay, and that is why he insists, it must be concrete, irrespective of the cost implications, but at the long run, you notice, it is cheaper because, instead of routine maintenance and reconstruction in every three to five years, this one last longer. At the initial cost, it seems to be higher but if you do a proper appraisal, one will find out that it is cheaper because of the long time effect.
The project has eight lots, what is the completion level of work in each of the lots

There are doing very fine. For example, the first lot started from 135 Ezzamgbo in Ohaukwu Local Government to Nkumoro in Ezza North Local Government Area and it has 19.79kilometers and currently, they have done over 6kilometers of 7.3 meters width of concrete. The second one started from Nkumoro to Onueke being handled by Karkata C.E. Limited, their own is 16.43kilometers. they have done 4.7kilometers. then we have from Onueke to Ikwo Area immediately, after College of Education, being doneled by reinforce  Patan J.V. their own is 20.508kilometers and they have done 10.5kilometers. then you have from that Ebonyi River to Nwezenyi, 26.43kilometers being handled by CBC Nigeria Ltd and they have done over 16kilometers. So, these section are from Islamic Development Bank sponsored section. Then you move from Nwezenyi to Nwofe, we have another one sponsored by African development Bank being handled by Patan Reinforce JV, with 17.23kilometers. they have done 5.3killometers completed. Then from that Nwofe axis down to Ndoko Agbaja, they have 16.23kilometers. the contractor is CGC and they have done 9.5kilometers. then you move for CCECC, they started from Ndoko  bridge to Umuakpu , close to Ebonyi Local Government. Their own is 17.23kilometers and they have done 11kilometers. from there you move between mbeke in Ebonyi Local Government and Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government where state government has started to Ngbo area, 16.23kilometers. because of the incident of Effium, we have only done 4.3kilometers, not that they have stopped work but once in awhile they have issues. However, we should also note that the fluctuation in price of construction materials is also a problem, because the bill was done in 2020, there's an issue but His Excellency, who is the man that God has brought to salvage the problem of Ebonyi, have also waded into it and see how he can pacify with the contractors so that they will not stop work because of the increase in the construction aggregate.
Aside that, is there any other challenge?

There's no any other challenge apart from pockets of problems from Communities, which we are appealing to all the Communities to cooperate with this noble project that His Excellency has brought to bear, knowing full well that these roads has been designed to take at least minimum of fifty years, given to the specifications of the construction we have embedded in this, that they should cooperate with the contractors so that at the end of the day, we have more joy, we have to rejoice with the noble project because it has really opened the rural areas. The difficulties in deplorable road will be a thing of the past due to the quality this road is been constructed.

How do rate the quality of the work done so far?

Yes, that has been our routine movement. It is not quite long we came back from inspection. We have a team of engineers, whereby we split ourselves because, this serves as project implementation unit (PIU), however, we also have a consultant representing Ebonyi state Government, though there are international Consultant who also monitors to ensure specifications were followed. But, we did not end up in using only Consultants, His Excellency, out of his experience have also employed engineers to work together with the Consultant and ensures that quality as written in the contract agreement are followed.

How do you estimate the direct jobs created by the ring road project

The direct jobs has multiplier effect. It is one of the project that have attracted so many thing that will improve the socio economic development of the state, in the sense that not only the direct jobs it has attracted but it is also bringing safety who wants to access health Care services, ab intio  those deplorable bottle neck has been jettisoned. It will also help our rural farmers to evacuate their farm produce without hindrance. Presently, you can see people coming from different parts of the country such as port Harcourt, Enugu, accessing Nwofe area which was hitherto not accessible. In their local market days, you see influx of people accessing those areas and its now bringing gains to the rural farmers, something there were not able sold for one naira, they can now sell them for twenty naira, just to make profit unlike before. So, it is has a win-win situation after the full construction of the road project.
Considering the enormous achievements so far recorded by Governor David Umahi's administration, what is your advice to Ebonyi People as we move into the electioneering period

My advice to Ebonyians is that, this Government of His Excellency, Engr Chief David Nweze Umahi has brought Ebonyi to the limelight. The slogan now is 'Follow Who Know Road', he knows the road, because for him to have performed creditably, like this, it shows that he knows the road. I urge and advise everybody to look at where he points as the direction, because his leadership prowess, his technical ingenuity has robbed off to the tremendous achievements we have recorded in the state. Ebonyi is now beamed to the limelight. Everywhere is pointing at Ebonyi and we don't have any other leader order than His Excellency, Engr Chief David Nweze Umahi because we know that his emergence will continue to take Ebonyi to places.

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