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Opinion

Second Niger Bridge And The Revulsive Attempt At Revisionism (1)

 

By Igboeli Arinze

One would have naturally dismissed the latest antagonisms against the Buhari led All Progressives Congress administration, since it is an election year and owing to our checkered nature of our politics, it is suitable for many to throw in the kitchen sink and cast the present administration in the light of having failed, even in the face of glaring successes these children of hate, reared by their deep seething rage against an administration that has done so much with so little, will stop at nothing to belittle and undermine any of these achievements, attempting to do such on the platter of revulsive revisionist thinking.

Their latest target has been the Second Niger Bridge which after many years of what NdiIgbo will term “Cherekambia” promises made out to the people of the SouthEast Region about the promise to build a Second Niger Bridge to help ease transport flow from the East to other parts of Nigeria by road transport by successive civilian and military administrations.These promises which were made amidst much fanfare saw each administration somewhat falling over each other in their desire to make such promises they very much intended to break! From that of the late Shehu Shagari who not only promised us a Second Niger Bridge but also a new sea port in Onitsha to successive military administrations that followed it and then back to the civilian administrations who went on to use the bridge as campaign poetry. Most notable amongst these civies were the Olusegun Obasanjo administration who never hid his disdain for NdiIgbo and the Goodluck Jonathan administration. Now while Shagari may be pardoned for toying with our hearts owing to the very fact that he was overthrown three months into his second tenure, the others cannot benefit from such magnanimity as they had ample time to deliver on their campaign promise but for lack of political will did not!
All Obasanjo could do was to flag off the project five days to his leaving office, this meant that the Yar Adua administration and not that of Obasanjo would construct the bridge at the cost of 58.6 Billion with a six lane set of roads and a toll entrance. The project was also to take a public private partnership dimension (PPP) for which 60 percent of such funding was to come from the proposed contractor, the Gitto Group while counterpart funding was to come from the Federal Government which was to provide 20 percent while both Anambra and Delta States were to match such with 10 percent each .
The bridge was however one to nowhere as the Yar Adua administration could not evolve neither policy nor one brick to the proposed project site in his near three years as president with his eventual demise while in office.
Goodluck Jonathan did not fare better, not even with his inserting Azikiwe into his set of names. In 2011, during his presidential campaign rounds told the whole world that he would deliver to NdiIgbo the Second Niger Bridge before 2015 or he would go on self exile! 2015 came and it looked like a one chance promise as by 2014, President  Jonathan perhaps thinking that Nigerians suffered from cataplexy was at the  same point in which he made that pronouncement to flag off its construction from which all NdiIgbo and Nigerians saw was a proposed map of the bridge
without any corresponding works on such a bridge as well as how it would be funded.
These children of hate did not at that point in time raise hell with Jonathan for his presumed failure in delivering on his campaign promise. They did not express their now misplaced anger as they are doing now on a man who rode to power with the bulk of votes coming from the SouthEast Region.Neither did they focus their fury on the systemic collapse of public infrastructure as was witnessed all over the SouthEast,no! President Goodluck Jonathan was a man then who could do no wrong, and like a King without no clothes a number of Igbo leaders swirled to the dance of shame, basking in the euphoria that they were properly dressed whereas they appeared naked and naiveSeco to a number of us.
It never dawned on them that for near four years, the Goodluck Jonathan administration had not deemed it fit to deliver on his promise or at least make a head start . Rather with Jonathan having the 2015 elections in mind, he had only come again to whip up the voting sentiment from the region towards his proposed reelection. It did not matter that the cost of the bridge had been inflated, nor did it matter then that a tolling arrangement was in the offing  while the same administration had built bridges for free in other parts of the country with no tolls.
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