As controversy continues to trail the flag off of N13.5bn road projects in Imo by the State governor, Emeka Ihedioha, reasons why similar exercises by the immediate past administration couldn’t execute the programs despite similar exercises have been unveiled.
According to online reports, the Country Director of AFD, Pascal Grangereau has noted that RAMP project failed under the Past Administration of Owelle Rochas Okorocha due to certain demands by the then Governor and officials of the Government.
Mr Grangereau while speaking at the flag off of the Construction of rural roads in the State, thanked the Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, for making possible in just two months, what they could not achieve in the entire 8 years of the past administration.
In his words, “When we came here some months back, we were told that for us to carry out our project, we will settle the entire community, settle the Traditional Rulers, Youths and other bodies itemized by the officials of the Former Governor”.
Speaking further, “the official revealed that several underhand practices were brought in. We were also asked to increase the counterpart fund so that when the Development agencies take theirs, the Government officials will have what to work with. These situations become unbearable for us and we had to leave.”
“Coming back here months later to see that a Governor can agree to pay His own share of counterpart fund without making any demand from us gives us joy,” He noted.
Mr Grangereau assured that the projects will be delivered in due time and of great quality. He commended the Governor for His “Development minded” nature and assured him of the commitment of Development Agencies in his Rebuild Imo Agenda.
Meanwhile, the governor of Imo state, Emeka Ihedioha, has flagged off the construction of 13.5bn rural road project.
The World Bank assisted Rural Access and Moblity Project (RAMP) include 380.7 kilometers of rural road across the 27 Local Government Areas of the state.
Speaking at the flag off at Onuimo, Isu and Mbaitoli LGAs of the state, Governor Ihedioha assured the readiness of his administration to partner development agencies for the betterment of the state.
The governor said he approved the swift payment of the counterpart fund to activate the project upon assumption of office.
The Imo no one citizen who decried the poor states of roads in the state said the project will boost Agriculture and socio-economic development in the state and reduce rural urban migration.
In his words, “As soon we assumed office, the RAMP project attracted our attention, and so came under review. Our task teams and committees analyzed the program and its processes, and being satisfied with its objectives, immediately ratified it, then provided the necessary approvals and directives therein including updating payments of counterpart funds.”
He continued, “As a State, and indeed as a person, we are particularly grateful to the two (2) institutions that have made today possible – The World Bank and the AFD (the French Development Bank). As a policy of State, we will continue, as a matter of fact to intensify our engagements with the development partners and multi-lateral institutions, in order to leverage on their pedigree.”
The governor revealed his administration’s intention to revive the Imo Rural Roads Maintenance Agency (IRROMA), to ensure that no part of Imo State rural areas remained inaccessible due to bad roads.
“In order to ensure that beyond the construction of these projects, their continuous use is guaranteed, we will revive the State Road Maintenance Agency. This will ensure that our roads remain in satisfactory conditions even years after construction, “Ihedioha said.”
Governor Ihedioha assured that construction on the State’s urban and major link roads will commerce in earnest.
“Let me use this platform to say that in the next few days, massive constructions will commerce on Imo urban and major link roads. You will agree that we met a road network in a deplorable state of disrepair. We have painstakingly gone through the path of due process – from the design to the procurement.
“We have involved the Ministry of Works, as never before, in the process. We want to deliver durable roads that will stand the test of time. Be assured, development will get to all parts of Imo State, no discrimination or exclusions.”, he concluded.
The Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Rural Development, Richmond Osuji, said the state government approved the payment of 15% Initial Mobilization Fund for the project.
He disclosed that the state government has mapped out fund to compensate owners of properties that will be affected in the course of the project.
Osuji promised that the Bureau for Rural Development will ensure the compliance of the contractors with the technical specification, budget and timeline for the completion of the projects.