By Yolamchi Ukaga, Umuahia
The Abia state government has been issued a 100-day ultimatum to rehabilitate roads in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state and its environs. Failure to do this, they threatened, will result in lockdown of the Government House in Umuahia.
The ultimatum was handed to the Governor Okezie Ikpeazu-led government on Wednesday by a group of women protesters under the aegis of Women for Change Initiative and Equity Organisation.
Dressed in blue wrapper cloths and white blouse, the women marched round notable roads, including Ngwa, Aba-Owerri and Ikot-Ekpene Roads, singing and brandishing different placards and banners, bearing notable bad roads in various parts of the city.
Spokesperson of the group, Lady Jane Ogbonna, told newsmen that the era of keeping quiet, while residents of the commercial city and other parts of the state were suffering because of poor state of roads, was over. Ogbonna argued that Ebonyi, which is the youngest state in the South-East region, had left Abia behind in development. According to her, Ebonyi was soaring in infrastructural growth with Abia retrogressively becoming a laughing stock among its neighbouring states.
She said: “Aba women are not happy. Anyone who stays in this city and still claims she’s happy deserves serious pity. There’s absolutely no motorable roads in Aba.
“They are using some media houses to tell people out there that Aba has been fixed; which is a blatant lie. We are not happy with what we are seeing in our state and how people are telling us that roads we see with our eyes everyday have been fixed.
“This year is 90 years those before us did the Aba women riot and we are not happy again. The women you are seeing today are just from Aba South and Aba North local government areas. Our members are in all the 17 local government areas of the state.
“The message of Aba women to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is that we are giving him 100 days to take action in Ngwa Road, Port Harcourt Road, Ikot Ekpene and Opobo Roads.
“If he fails to listen to us, we shall organise 10,000 women march to lockdown the Abia Government House and the State House of Assembly.
“Ebonyi state of yesterday is now far better than Abia. We have everything here, but industries are folding. Customers that come from other states have stopped coming to Aba to patronize us and the women are bearing the huge brunt of all these.
“We are telling Gov Ikpeazu to keep what we gave to him or Aba women will fight him. If the governor knows that the federal government is not giving Abia allocation, like other states, let him boldly tell us and we shall shift our fight to the federal government.
“Aba women are out and heaven is backing us. Ancestors of Ngwa land are with us. One thing they should know is that I’m not scared of the DSS, I’m not scared of SARS.
“Even if they stop me, more women will continue. All we want is for the government we elected into office to do the needful. Before people from Akwa-Ibom and Cross River states come to Aba to buy things, but the table has been overturned on us.
“We are not happy and this is why we are telling the governor, the speaker and members of the House of Assembly to do the needful. We are also telling all our senators and House of Representatives members that Abia women are no longer asleep.
“Anybody in this Abia state who thinks that women are nothing that we are more than something”, she stated.