The poor road networks in Aba have attracted the anger of a Catholic priest in the city, the commercial nerve centre of the South East and he has chosen to show it in an unusual way. Recently, the lanky priest who is in charge of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, Eziekwu, Aba was seen in a viral online video lamenting over the poor situation of roads in Aba, even as he waded through a pool of dirty water along a deplorable street, clutching the holy book. The strange sight has since caught the fancy of thousands who expressed mixed reaction over the way and manner the priest chose to express his dismay over the insanitary condition of the roads in Aba. While some said the priest has every right to express his anger through the public protest which saw him walking into the dirty, water-logged roads, others said he could have done so in a more dignifying manner.
When contacted, the Director of Social Communications for the Diocese of Aba, Rev. Fr. Peter Obinna Umekwe affirmed the incident and said there was nothing out of place with the manner the priest chose to express his dismay over the deplorable condition of the roads in his area. “We all know that many roads in the state can be much better. I believe the purpose of the protest was to draw the attention of the governor of the State to put the roads in order. If his action is able to attract the required reaction, then it would not have been in vain.” In recent times, the poor condition of roads in Aba has been the subject of debates, with many wondering why the government was finding it difficult to renovate them. It would be recalled that the state governor, Ikpeazu was recently diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus and is receiving treatment in Abuja. Meanwhile, responding to the video, a top official of the state government said works have resumed to rehabilitate the road at Ngwa.
“One of the attached pictures was shared on social media of a priest who entered mud water around Ngwa Road some days ago and was purportedly praying for the road to be fixed. The NDDC awarded that road, Ohanku, and already paid about N1b to the contractor. I don’t know if the priest is aware or not but if he has been living in that area he probably was among those who recently celebrated that the road has been done by one Abia opposition politician. With the subsisting NDDC contract no state government can legally take over the road project without bottlenecks. However, unimpressed by the continued deteriorated state of the road, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu courageously included it in the N27.4b World Bank assisted Watershed Management Project that also includes reconstruction of Obohia, Ngwa Road etc despite its failed subsisting NDDC status.