The effort of Imo State Government to partner Rural Access and Mobility Project under the supervision of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has finally paid off with the final signing of the agreement at the Federal Ministry of Finance recently.
The event took place at the office of Federal Ministry of Finance had the Honour. Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, French business community led by its Ambassador, Mr. Denys Gauer with the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere also present during the historical signing of the agreement the French and Federal Government of Nigeria.
It will be recalled that Owelle Rochas Okorocha led administration, 2014, in her bid to develop infrastructural facilities in the rural communities with a view to engendering economic development, revamp agriculture, agribusiness and cottage industries, sought to achieve this goal by seeking to participate in RAMP to complement it’s effort in improving the quality of life of her citizens
Having been cleared by the national assembly in its desire to participate, Prince Madumere, who Governor Okorocha gave the charge to deliver RAMP to Imo people in one of his many outings, leading a delegation to the world Bank, April 7, 2016, during a meeting with the country Director of the Bank, Mr. Rachid Benmessaoud and other World Bank Personnel, made a persuading presentations where he queried the reason Imo State would not be allowed to participate having met all requirements.
His words; “It will be painful and our people will surely get downcast should they hear that we may not participate in RAMP having raised their hope to the high heavens. We were able to scale through at the National Assembly but could not participate in the last phase following the non passage of Fiscal Responsibility Law and non institutionalisation of Public Procurement Bureau, which you rightly pointed out. Due to the importance my Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and his Rescue Mission administration attach to this Project owing to its projected positive impacts to the rural dwellers, and the State Government’s effort at revamping agriculture and building industrial base at the rural areas, we expedited action, which led to the passage of “Imo State Fiscal Responsibility Law 2016″ by the State House of Assembly… We have properly set up Public Procurement Bureau followed by the Director General and engagement appropriate personnel for effectiveness as required by Imo State Public Procurement Price Intelligence and Related Matters of Law No. 12 of 2010, which have all been submitted to the World Bank”; he submitted.
According to Imo Deputy Governor, laid down procedures and requirements to qualify for RAMP is such that requires presence of mind, consistency, requisite knowledge of corporate governance backed with personnel who know their trade. He however eulogised Governor Okorocha whom he said gave the needed leadership with the will-power to make available whatever resources that were needed to pursue the project to a logical conclusion.
Prince Madumere also commended President Buhari led Federal Government, which has continued to show great interest in the development of rural areas which he said are made manifest in its policies. He also commended the Honourable Minister of Finance, whom she described as passionate in delivering on such projects as RAMP due its value chain in the activating developments at the rural areas, knowing its implication at the overall health of the Nigerian economy. “Over 300 kilometers of rural roads will be constructed with 15 River crossings as well as creating an institutional framework for the maintenance, which will involve the user communities. You can understand that the value chain will be huge”; he enthused.
He further showered encomium on French Development Agency led by its Country Director, Mr. Olivier Delefosse for partnering with Nigeria and Imo State in particular, assuring that Imo State shall make the best of the opportunity RAMP brings with the massive road construction and other facilities. He assured the project will improve on the standard of living of its citizenry with the revamping of agriculture and establishment of cottage industries at strategic points pending the area of comparative advantage of each community.
For Engr. John Uzor, Project Coordinator, RAMP, Imo State, in an emotion laden statement, he said: “Personally, I also happy for coming to the end of this journey that started four years ago. I must give it to the Deputy Governor, Prince Eze Madumere whom our Governor gave the charge to lead out. His sense of responsibility is unequal. He is full of energy with unbridled optimism even when some of the team members are downcast. He is indeed a great leader. I have been inundated with calls coming from local government areas congratulating the Governor, his Deputy and the entire team for their effort. RAMP will change the fortune of our rural dwellers for good. When you have access road in the communities, farmers find it much easier to do business thereby encouraging them to expand the scope of their vocation. It will also improve on the health of our people as moving patients to hospitals become easier especially pregnant women and the aged. It surely reduce mortality ratio in the rural areas. With good access road, it is easier for an investor to invest in the rural communities with work force, which abound. It is win-win situation.
Meanwhile, it has been jubilations from the people of Imo State with the successful signing of RAMP agreement as the communities will come alive since the development will be of immense help to the farmers in transporting their produce and other raw materials from one location to the markets.
According Franklin Opara of Mbieri Mbaitoli, he showered encomium on Governor Okorocha and Deputy, Prince Madumere for their vision to develop the State. He described the final signing of RAMP as good omen since it will engender developments at the rural communities thereby improving on the standard of living for the rural dwellers since their roads will be accessible and transportation of their produce will be made easier.
In the same vein, Miss Ezinne Jerry from Oru East expressed excitement over the RAMP Project, hoping that her community, which she described as majorly agrarian will benefit, adding it will ameliorate the suffering of the rural farmers who carry their wares to trek long distances due to bad roads.
For Jeff Imo, former local government Chairman of Onuiom local government area of Imo State who responded on social media hailed the development. He extolled Madumere’s doggedness and focus for not giving in for almost four years he started the campaign for Imo participation. He said RAMP will complement the effort of government in developing rural communities.
Governor Okorocha had embarked on massive rural road construction and rehabilitation, a programme that saw to the tarring of average of twenty kilometers of road in every local government. About three backward local government areas were alloted double of what others got. Therefore coming of RAMP, will surely up such effort,which will ultimately improve the living standard of the rural dwellers.