Enang Blames Udom, Lawmakers For Poor State of Calabar/Itu Highway
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta Affairs and Economic Diversification, Senator Ita Enang, has attributed the poor state of the Calabar/Itu Highway to alleged complacency on the part of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State and the 24 lawmakers representing Cross River and Akwa Ibom states in the National Assembly.
Speaking during an interactive session with newsmen in Uyo, Enang said, with the exemption of Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State, he (Enang) is the lone voice at the federal level talking, in the past years, about the bad shape of the highway.
He claimed that he has been in the struggled since 2015, when President Buhari took over power, to ensure that money is earmarked in the yearly budget for the road project but he is not succeeding because of lack of push from other angles.
“I struggled from 2015. I got first N6billion in the 2015/2016 budget but when it was awarded, it was rehabilitation that was advertised from Ikot Ekpene to Calabar. I said no.
“I took the budget to the Minister and Bureau of Public Procurement. It was advertised in the Federal Tenders Journal that that was not what was in the budget. By the time I was able to overcome the fight, the budget had lapsed; the year had gone and the N6billion had gone.
“I struggled in the following year to have N4.7b in the budget. I split the road into two because the money was not enough for the initial mobilisation. One section is from Odukpani Junction to the Power Plant.
“Then I came to Oku Iboku Junction to Mbak Itam. That was awarded to Julius Berger. That was what the money I got for that year was able to cater for. Julius Berger was paid that money but it was not enough for them to mobilise. We still got more money for them.
“Two years after, I struggled to have the other positions awarded: from Power Plant in Odukpani to Kilometre 1.2 and to Calabar Itu Bridge up to Oku Iboku Junction where Julius Berger project begins and the one that starts from Mbak to Ikot Ekpene Junction.
“I got it awarded at N50billion two years ago to CCECC. Before we could finish documentation and tidying up everything, the year had lapsed and the money had lapsed. As at today, CCECC has not been mobilised for that job.
“I struggled last year to have money in the budget for that but there is no reasonable provision for any of the aspect of the road despite my efforts” Senator Enang said.
The presidential aide said the lawmakers representing both Akwa Ibom and Cross River states in the National Assembly are not making efforts, on the floors of both houses in the federal legislature, towards fixing the road.
“I am one person: my hands are lifted before God. I challenge the six senators of the two states, the 18 House of Representatives members of the two states to say before God and man what they have contributed to get the road fixed.
“Let the governor of Akwa Ibom State and the governor of Cross River State also lift their hands to say how much they have contributed. For the governor of Cross River, I want to speak for him; he has made efforts with me to get funds for that road but nobody from Akwa Ibom has made any effort,” Enang stressed.
He reasoned that the N78.9b refunded to the Akwa Ibom State government by the Buhari administration ought to have been used to fix, at least, the part of the road from the side of the state.
“The N78.9b refunded to Akwa Ibom State government by President Buhari was the money that the administrations of Obong Victor Attah and Chief Godswill Akpabio saved for the state by applying it to federal roads, which were refunded to this government. It is supposed to have been ploughed back into the road,” he said.
Enang however assured that all hope is not lost as he disclosed that plans have been concluded to apply to the NDDC to see to the completion of the East West Road and the Calabar/Itu High Way.
He called on the Akwa Ibom State government, as the highest recipient of Federal Allocation, to use part of its allocation and its Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to execute the project, even if another company would handle it, but with the permission of the Federal Government.