Second Niger Bridge – Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity on Friday gave details of how former Presidents elected under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) deceived Nigerians with the Second Niger Bridge project.
In his weekly article titled ‘ My Mercedes Is Bigger Than Yours’, Adesina said former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo who ruled Nigeria from 1999 to 2007; Umaru Musa Yar’adua who was President from 2007 to 2010 and his successor, Goodluck Jonathan only used the Second Niger Bridge project as a campaign promise during the 16 year reign of the PDP.
He said “We can never say too much about the Second Niger Bridge. The existing one was built in 1965, and had become totally inadequate to serve as the artery between the southern and other parts of the country. When it is festive season like Christmas, come and see how people suffer on the bridge, spending hours on end, sometimes days”.
“The bridge became an object of fake political promises, particularly in the 16 years of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). It was like a pie in the sky, which they kept building with their mouths. Whenever elections approached, they would go to the site with hoes, cutlasses and wheelbarrows, pretending to dig the ground, all to win votes. Whenever the polls were completed, and they had swindled the people of their votes, they disappeared. Till the next election”.
According to Adesina, despite huge revenue from crude oil and spending billions of naira, the project was at non- existent level until President Muhammadu Buhari came in 2015. He added that the Bridge is now at 48 percent completion stage and will be fully completed in the first quarter of 2022.
“And they claimed to have spent billions upon billions of naira on the project. Yet, it remained at the blueprint level. Olusegun Obasanjo launched it with much fanfare. That was where it ended. Umaru Yar’Adua did not seem to touch it, maybe he did, maybe he didn’t”.
“Goodluck Jonathan said his middle name was Ebele, making him an indigene of the South East, where the bridge was situated. He said what would he say he did for his people, if he couldn’t build the bridge. He spent six years in office, and all he left were the ubiquitous hoes, cutlasses and wheelbarrows”.
“Enter Muhammadu Buhari. Without fanfare, without flourish, he set to work. The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) was set up in 2018 to fast-track completion of critical infrastructure projects. And at the last count, the Second Niger Bridge was 48% completed, with the sights firmly set on the first quarter of 2022 as completion time”.
“The things we couldn’t accomplish when we were swimming in petro-dollars, we are now daring and making steady progress on, at a season of scarcity. That is what you get when the Captain of a ship has only come to serve, not to feather his own nest” .