Governor Rochas Okorocha’s house is among those demolished for the massive upgrade and road network projects in Orlu town.
Managing Director of Timik consult Limited, Mr. Goke Anjoirn, one of the firms, handling the projects, told Daily Sun that the governor approved the demolition because the house fell among those to be removed to facilitate the project.
One item that has featured prominently in the Rescue Mission Agenda of Governor Rochas Okorocha is probably the infrastructural development of the three senatorial zones. To this end, Okorocha’s administration has embarked on massive road constructions in the Orlu zone to reverse the critical infrastructural deficit and now the city is wearing a new look.
Driving from Owerri into Orlu, a visitor is greeted by 87-metre span city gate, arguably the largest modern city gate in Africa that is still under construction. When completed the gate would provide a spectacular view to the entry into the envisaged new city of Orlu.
The city gate spans across two six-lane Orlu-Owerri Road Highway. When Daily Sun visited the emerging Orlu city, road construction and beautification projects were ongoing while some have been completed. Anjorin explained that massive demolition and clearing works, which opened up the town for development, were carried out by his firm.
According to him, even one of Governor Okorocha’s buildings was also demolished to pave way for the expansion of old Orlu city. He said Okorocha had allowed his building to be demolished to underline his administration’s serious intentions that no single individual or group could be above the law or constitute a barrier to the desperately needed infrastructural development in the zone.
The Timik boss commended the governor for engaging local contractors in the development of the area.
He disclosed that his company conceptualised the new Orlu city, which Governor Okorocha keyed into. He also noted that if indigenous contractors were given the opportunity and necessary financial backings, they would perform very well and deliver on time.
“Rochas has tremendous vision for development of the state. A lot of road constructions are taking place in Orlu. Government at all levels should invest in local companies and monitor them. Infrastructure should not be left until it goes too bad before government comes in.
“There should be proper monitoring and evaluation of projects and feedback by resident engineers from time to time. Awarding contracts to only foreign firms will not help in capacity- building.
Project management skills are lacking on the side of indigenous contractors. Employing expatriates to join indigenous companies to help out in projects will ensure quicker transfer of technology,” he stressed.
Among completed and ongoing works in the emerging Orlu city, Anjorin said, included, a stretch of 1.5km of the federal highway from the popular Banana Junction to Nkwoito Junction, which is near completion, a 6.22km stretch of six lanes expressway, from Nkume Y-Junction to Banana Junction, Timik’s biggest ongoing project.
“All the required right-of-way for the road expansion project has been cleared and the panoramic view of the expressway is already visible. From Banana Junction, about 2km of stone base (on one side) had been completed and almost a kilometre of drainages with beautiful walkways over them are ready,” he said.
Also, the Project Manager (Operations), Timik, Mr. Ante Asuguo, explained that work had progressed so fast in Orlu because of co-operation of the community and youth leaders, who love what the governor is doing in the area and have ensured that nobody disturbs the work, as majority of the youths have been employed by the firm.
However, he pointed out that work in the area had been slowed down recently due to paucity of funds, urging Governor Okorocha to expedite the construction works in the area by ensuring that the contractors were paid as at when due. Mr. Joseph Echendu, one of the elders in the area, expressed gratitude to the transformation, going in Orlu and thanked the Okorocha-led administration for the initiative.
He also commended Timik Construction Company for their efficiency and working towards ensuring that Orlu becomes a beautiful city as envisaged by the governor and the people of Orlu.
Another indigene of the area, Mrs. Felicia Okorie was full of praises to the governor for the transformation going on in Orlu. She said Okorocha had performed very well when compared with his predecessors in the area of road construction.
She agreed that the age-long saying of Orlu being the least developed in Imo would soon be a thing of the past. Similarly, a trader, Mrs. Mercy Williams, thanked the governor for constructing the street that runs through the market where most of the neighbouring villages come to buy food items.
The Umuezeala Street is one of the nine streets fully completed and asphalted by Timik while four other similar streets in the area are near completion. Meanwhile, a youth leader, Mgbeahurike Cosmos, said the infrastructural transformation of Orlu was good and urged Governor Okorocha to ensure that most of the roads were completed before the rains.
He further admonished the governor to pay contractors promptly so that they would be able to complete the works on schedule.