Photos: Hope Dashed for Itungwa Umuoba Road Construction Amid $50 Million Abia RAMP Scandal as Project Coordinator Resigns | #NwokeukwuMascot


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Umuahia - The construction of the 19.1 km Itungwa Umuoba road has faced a significant setback following a scandal involving the $50 million Abia Rural Access and Mobility Program (RAMP). The resignation of the Project Coordinator (PC), Engineer Chinemeram Ogbonna, has cast a shadow over the project's future.

The Itungwa-Umuoba RAMP Project, initiated under the previous administration led by Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, had reached approximately 75% completion. Dr. Ikpeazu secured a $50 million facility to cover 500 km of roads and handed the project over to the current administration of Governor Alex Otti. Upon taking office, Governor Otti dismissed the initial coordinator, Mr. Babington Chibunna John, and appointed Mr. Ogbonna, who has now resigned.

Under the leadership of Governor Alex Otti, Abia State has encountered criticism for continuing the perceived tradition of governmental inefficiency. The recent developments have only reinforced this sentiment.

Yesterday, Engineer Chinemeram Ogbonna, the former Project Coordinator of RAMP, abruptly resigned after a series of heated discussions and arguments among senior government officials. Ogbonna had recently come under scrutiny, facing allegations of personal interest influencing the procurement process for the Abia RAMP project.

According to sources, Ogbonna was accused of favoring a particular contractor in exchange for substantial sums of money. He allegedly promised to secure the contract for this contractor, a move that did not sit well with influential figures within the state government. These power brokers had reportedly earmarked Cranburg Construction Ltd and Ferotex Construction Ltd for the lucrative project.

Photos of the Itungwa-Umuoba 19.1KM RAMP Project.

Ogbonna attempted to justify the money received from the contractor, claiming it was used to settle an aggrieved contractor threatening to derail the procurement process. However, his explanations failed to appease the key stakeholders. Consequently, he chose to resign, citing misalignment between his interests and those of the project’s primary backers.

This resignation marks a considerable setback for Abia State. While many other states have progressed to RAMP Phase 2, Abia is yet to complete the initial phase. The scandal, driven by allegations of greed, has tarnished Abia's reputation, particularly in the eyes of the World Bank, which oversees the RAMP initiative.

The adage "the more things change, the more they remain the same" seems apt as Abia State grapples with ongoing challenges in governance and project execution. The path ahead for the Itungwa Umuoba road project remains uncertain, and stakeholders are left to ponder the broader implications for development in the region.

 About RAMP

The Rural Access and Mobility Program (RAMP) aims to improve rural access and mobility in Nigeria by enhancing road infrastructure and connectivity in rural areas. The program is funded by the World Bank and implemented by state governments.


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