Umuahia - Gov. Theodore Orji of Abia said on Saturday that his administration spent N3.5 billion to rehabilitate federal roads in Aba, the economic hub of the state.
Orji said this during the question and answer session at the Citizens’ Forum, organised as part of the activities to wind up a four-day National Good Governance Media Tour of the state.
He said that N1.8 billion was spent on the Aba-Owerri Road, while N1.7 billion was expended on the Aba-Port Harcourt Road, which are in deplorable conditions.
He further explained that the government had awarded contract for the rehabilitation of 16 state roads, adding that two of the roads had been delivered.
The governor’s explanation came on the heels of the question that most of the projects by his administration were concentrated in Umuahia, the state capital.
He remarked that no road project in Umuahia cost more than N500 million, saying that the cost of road projects in the capital city ranged from N100 million to N500 million.
He, however, noted that it was imperative for government to give the city a befitting look as the state capital.
"It is possible that visitors to the state may not get to Aba and the impression they might have about Umuahia as the state capital is what they will hold about the state,’’ he said.
Orji also said that government did not owe any worker in the state.
On the issue of the delay in the payment of workers' salaries, he explained that the failure of some local governments to present their payrolls to the auditor-general for vetting at the end of every month led to the delay in the payment of workers in such councils.
Orji further explained that efforts were being made to ensure that the School of Midwifery, Amachara, had its programmes accredited through the present efforts by the government to provide the requisite infrastructure in the school.
He gave the assurance that he would ensure the sustenance of developmental projects in the state and the security of lives and property of the people.
The Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, had noted in his comments that "part of the things opposition say against his administration is that local government workers are not getting their salaries.’’
Maku said that the tour would help to move the nation forward, noting that it had triggered off competition among states and local governments in the country.
A cross-section of the people of the state described the exercise as laudable, saying that it should be sustained in order to keep the nation’s political leaders on their toes.
They said that if the leaders were conscious that the media were watching them and would hold them accountable they would sit up and develop their areas.
In his remarks, the state Coordinator of Nigeria Prays, Rev. Chuks Alozie, said that the tour, if sustained, would help to create the needed awareness about the successes of President Goodluck Jonathan’s transforamation agenda.
A teacher, who identified himself as Michael, also commended the initiative but recommended that the visit should be extended to the rural communities in the country.
Michael lamented that there was no government presence in his Nnono community in Ikwuano local government area of the state.
He explained that a visit to rural areas would help the Federal Government to appreciate the level of neglect in those areas and the plight of the rural dwellers.
NAN reports that the town hall meeting was attended by prominent personalities from the state, including the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sen. Ike Nwachukwu and an elder statesman, Chief Bob Ogbuagu.