Abia Alex Otti Says The Transport Facility Flag-Off Ìs A Strategic Infrastructure Development Agenda

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Gov. Otti has flagged off the Phase 1 of the Abia State Public Transport Facility Project, a world- class inter-modal transport facility in Aba.
The venue of the flag off was the Mega Mall premises along the Enugu/ PH Express Way.
The earmark of this project underscores Gov. Otti’s commitment in systematizing public transportation system, significant in subsiding the congestion of motor parks and transport vehicles in the state

Gov. Otti’s adminstrative effort in decongesting Aba and Umuahia through implementation of this project highlights his immediate interest in boosting the economy of the state through enhancing transportation means for easy thriving of business in the both cities

The project is being undertaken by Project Planet, a company known for delivering similar projects expeditiously over the years, with the actualization of this project, it’s safe to say that Abia is rapidly gearing up to assume a top position among states with humongous developments

The flag-off of the Abia State Public Transport Project is in keeping with Governor Alex Otti’s strategic infrastructure development agenda for Aba as a commercial hub and emerging smart city.

On the Wings of Big Dreams

BEING THE TEXT OF SPEECH DELIVERED BY GOVERNOR ALEX C. OTTI, OFR, AT THE FLAG-OFF OF THE ABIA URBAN RENEWAL & PUBLIC TRANSPORT PROJECT IN ABA ON TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2024

Protocols,

1. Let me with great joy, welcome everyone who has joined us for the formal flag off of the first phase of the Abia Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project in Aba. Tomorrow (Wednesday, May 29, 2024) in Umuahia, we shall flag off the second phase. The combined infrastructure development and remodelling works shall proceed and run simultaneously in the two major urban centres of the State.

2. The critical components of this project include: the modelling and construction of central bus terminals for bigger commuter buses at strategic locations in each of the two cities, bus shelters and laybys along the intra-city routes, and junction improvement works at major road intersections.

3. The Abia Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project is conceived and structured to bring holistic improvements to the general inter and intra-city transport ecosystem in the urban centres of the State, ease traffic congestion and improve the aesthetics of our cities. The flag off of this project underscores our commitment to setting higher standards in social service delivery as we seek to deliver to our people, an end-to-end transport system that structurally mirrors what you find in the more developed cities of the world.

4. The Project is essentially about moving people in safety and comfort from one part of the city to another, cutting out the inefficiencies of the present system and opening up the general transportation ecosystem to new private investors. With accommodation for various vehicle types and sizes, the new system is poised to effectively change how we shuttle from one part of the cities to another.

5. Beyond just changing the way individuals and families move round the cities for businesses and leisure, the Abia Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project holds even greater promises. With provision for the development of Truck Transit Terminals in the outskirts, this project will, when completed, solve a lot of problems associated with the uncontrolled movement of heavy-duty vehicles into the city centres. From providing a safe environment for the truck drivers to park, refuel and access several other services, the new system guarantees safety of road users, security of goods-in-transit, as well as free flow of traffic on the roads.

6. This Project however goes beyond roads as it has incorporated other modes of transport in its design and conception. As you are aware, the Nigerian Railway Corporation recently resumed services on the Aba-Port Harcourt corridor. Efforts are already in top gear to extend the services to the city of Umuahia.

7. The Abia Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project has been designed to make it easy for commuters to alight from the trains and connect to their destinations within the cities seamlessly. Structured as an inter-modal transport framework to cater for those arriving our various cities from other parts of the country through different modes of transportation, the Project will on completion eliminate the hassles travellers coming into our urban centres faced before now.

8. While the State Government will fund the development of associated transport infrastructure including the bus stations, lay-bys and depots, we shall work with private sector partners in the acquisition of the right types of vehicles for the various circuits, operations and maintenance. Transparency shall be at the centre of the selection process for the right transport service companies operating the different legs of the service routes that will emerge at the completion of the exercise.

9. The gains of the Urban Renewal and Public Transport Projects for the cities of Aba and Umuahia are enormous. In addition to changing the face of the public transport system, it shall create room for the introduction of more energy-efficient vehicles, job creation for our youths, and make the cities more liveable for the modern man and woman.

10. What shall happen to the different services operators earning their living from the transport sector in the two cities including keke riders and commercial bus drivers — are we suddenly going to chase them away? The answer is no. They will still be very relevant, serving different segments of the population.

11. In the new system however, we shall work with the relevant stakeholders to map out different routes across the various ends of the cities where they will continue to serve commuters to the last mile. We appreciate the very important role the transporters play in our economy and shall continue to create spaces for their continuing participation as job creators and service providers.

12. What difference will the Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project bring upon completion? The first is a more efficient, secure and reliable transportation system along the major intra-city routes. This new system will also guarantee that our streets are cleaner, and that vehicles can park safely on the lay-bys along the roads without obstructing the smooth flow of traffic.

13. For the commuters, the bus shelters will keep them safe from the harsh elements of the weather while they wait to board their vehicles. The commuters are guaranteed access to safer and more comfortable vehicles every time.

14. The completion of the Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project will also mean the end of some old habits that had become popular traditions in the present system. There will be no role for touts and the old culture of spending longer time to fill vehicles with passengers will be gone. What we are setting up will be very similar to what obtains in the developed societies where buses arrive at a particular time of the day, board passengers and leave within minutes.

15. A few people may ask why we want to disrupt the transport ecosystem in the State. The reply is thus: our people deserve something better than what we currently have. Remember that we are making extensive investments in the development and restoration of the urban road infrastructure. The Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project represents the next phase of our programme for the regeneration of our cities, making them more environmentally friendly.

16. The success of this grand project will require the cooperation of every stakeholder. We invite you to give the necessary support to the contractor, Planet Projects, which has demonstrated excellence in the delivery of projects of this nature. We expect that they would leverage their extensive experience in project execution and management to complete this assignment on schedule.

17. The various agencies and organs of the Government shall continue to engage with the relevant stakeholders, smoothening rough edges and working actively to see to the timely completion of this project.

18. I will invite us to develop a new mind set and work with the Government to move our urban centres to the next phase of development where the push for survival and economic success does not cost us our decency, and sense of order. The Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project will come, as you have heard from the various project managers, with modern bus terminals and shall have in them public conveniences, water treatment buildings, amongst other facilities that will make the adoption of new habits very necessary as we interact with the city and its wider ecosystems.

19. A few inconveniences are bound to come but we must keep our eyes on the bigger picture. Our cities have fallen behind their peers on very critical development parameters and we must now move with greet speed to catch up and create new standards for urban living in the region. We shall, however, be very mindful of the economic realities of the time in the execution of these projects, and manage them in ways that their disruptive impacts are anticipated in advance, and curtailed.

20. As I mentioned a few months ago, ours shall not be an administration that restricts itself to the mundane duties of governance. We promised to do think better and do more in terms of delivering world class infrastructure projects and services to the people. The Abia Urban Renewal and Public Transport Project is another demonstration of our commitment to deliver more to the people.

21. Thank you for listening and may God bless you.

Dr. Alex C. Otti, OFR,
28/05/2024