Vice-Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, has advised Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, to focus his energy on how to make Nigeria work, rather than continued engagement in mischief, which, according to him, Ngige is too old for. Obi spoke through his Media Adviser, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, in a release made available to the press on Sunday.
Obienyem was reacting to statements made by Ngige that he was ashamed of the quality of roads constructed by his successors in the Anambra State Government House, including Obi. He wondered why Ngige loves attacking Obi, who had not, except during electioneering, attacked him, but rather compliments him on his modest achievements on roads.
“What is most condemnable in Ngige’s attacks are the lies he tells just to bring Obi down,” Obienyem said, adding: “How could he mention roads such as Abatete-Nteje-Aguleri-Otuocha road and Igboukwu-Ezenifite-Umunze, Iseeke roads and deliberately forgot that Obi did greater portions of those roads?”
Obienyem said it was instructive that over 90% of the roads Ngige mentioned were done in his local government. He said that “though Obi used local contractors in line with his policy of supporting our own people, just like he supported Innoson and other industrialists in the state which some of the contractors disappointed, the majority of roads Obi did, like the Umueze-Anam-Nmiata road, was done by RCC; Anyamelu and Onitsha road done by Nigercat; Headbridge-Upper Iweka was done by CCC.”
Obienyem opted to take Ngige round some roads Obi did such as Akwa-Amawbia dual carriage road; Old Nkpor-Abagana-Awka road; Adazi-Obeledu-Akwaeze-Igboukwu road; Igbarian-University road; Ichi roads; Nkwo Okija; Umunze Anam-Mmiata; and Nkweleezunaka bypass. Others are over 30 roads within Onitsha GRA; over 10 roads within Onitsha Habour industrial area; the six-lane dual carriage road from Head Bridge to Upper Iweka; Upper Iweka-Umunya; the Nkpor flyover built in collaboration with the Federal Government which can even carry trains; Obosi bypass; Awka road; Oguta road; Old Oba-Nnewi road; Mmiri John road (Ojoto); and Creek road, among others, “for Ngige to see that the roads are still standing like the Gibraltar.”
On what Ngige said on roads not being maintained, Obienyem said that Obi always included money for road maintenance in his yearly budget and that he maintained all the roads in the state by patching potholes and yearly desilting the culverts such that the roads stood the test of time even during the rainy seasons.
He said: “During Obi’s time, the Umuoji-Nnobi road Ngige did developed massive erosion cutting the road at Uke which Obi did; Abatete-Oraukwu road developed similar erosion which Obi did; the Nimo-Neni-Awka-Etiti road was the same and only made passable because Obi was maintaining it. Today Neni-Awka-Etiti road that he did is one of the worst roads in Nigeria.”
Continuing, Obienyem said: “Knowing the importance of road maintenance, shortly before he left, Obi set up the Anambra State Road Maintenance Agency with full compliments of brand new equipment. He also left over 4 billion Naira in the Ministry of Works for road maintenance before he handed over. We have the account details and other relevant evidence.”
Obienyem, who noted “Ngige’s endless brag on the Federal roads he did”, said they were only two that are in Idemili: Nkpor-Nnobi and Borromeo-Nkpor as against many that Obi did such as the Head Bridge-Upper-Iweka; Upper-Iweka-Umunya; Oba-Nnewi; Nkpor-Amawbia; Zik’s Avenue, among others. “Ngige did his without approval, while Obi secured approval to be re-funded before his own intervention,” Obienyem said.
He advised Ngige not to go to the area of comparing his government with that of Obi, saying that the people of the state know the truth.
“Where,” Obienyem asked, “will the comparison start? Is it health, where Ngige did nothing? Is it education, where Ngige did nothing? is it commerce and industry, where Ngige did nothing? is it the provision of infrastructure, where all he did was to cause the burning down of the state? Is it our relationship with donor agencies? Where?”