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Budget: South- East APC Critizes Jonathan Over Zero Allocation For 2nd Niger bridge

Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

Ahead of Monday’s groundbreaking for the Second Niger Bridge, the south east chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) on Saturday blasted president Goodluck Jonathan, for the non inclusion of the project in the 2014 Nigeria budget.

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan

Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan

The party regretted that such magnitude of project was not captured in the nation’s national budget, saying “it has observed regrettably, a trend where Ndigbo have become a toy in the hand of President Goodluck Jonathan.

A statement signed by its publicity secretary, Osita Okechukwu, made available to African Examiner in Enugu, condemned a situation where the project is not directly being funded by the federal government.

The party though, welcomed the immediate construction of the much-treasured Second Niger Bridge, a bridge adjudged to be the alternate main artery between the industrial – commercial axis of the South East and the West Africa Sub-region, but frowned “that it was not being directly funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria, but by debt over-hang”.

“The party recalled with nostalgia, how the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, majestically penultimate week at his palace challenged President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for reneging on his promise during the 2011 presidential campaign to commission the 2nd Niger Bridge and there and then to the consternation of many, Mr President resorted to self-denial.

It noted that from all indications, “His Royal Majesty, Obi of Onitsha, a former top executive of Royal Dutch Shell, hinged his challenge on the truism that Ndigbo fulfilled their own side of the bargain by voting overwhelmingly for President Jonathan in the 2011 presidential election.

The statement reads further: “Therefore, we are at a loss why President Jonathan three years down the line after making the promise to complete the construction of the much-treasured 2nd Niger Bridge, never deemed it fit to include it in any of his national budgets?

“Accordingly, it is our candid view that the debt tilts more in favour of President Jonathan’s political campaign slush fund; because if the Second Niger Bridge has found its way into any of President Jonathan’s national budget, Nigeria could have saved over N70 billion through competitive bidding.

“For is it not a paradox that Lagos State government awarded 1.3km Epe-Lekki bridge of similar status to Julius Berger Plc and completed it at N29 billion; while the same company without competitive bid got 1.8km Second Niger Bridge at N117 billion, a whopping difference of N88 billion?

“APC South East regrettably, observes a trend where Ndigbo has become a toy to play with on President Jonathan’s hand. As he seems to have forgotten too early in the day that Ndigbo sacrificed our turn to be president of Nigeria in the nearest future on his alter. Hence unwittingly created unsavoury relationship between Ndigbo and their contemporaries in the Nigerian political landscape” South-East APC stated.

The party further noted that for the avoidance of doubt, the President first deceptively launched with fanfare a non-operational Onitsha Sea-port; where up-to-date no vessels has landed and secondly, the Enugu Coal-Fired-Power-Plant he promised has become an empty promise.

“South-East APC also lamented that most federal roads in the South East are either dilapidated or on FERMA patch-patch work and now the President wants to leave a huge debt hanging on the neck of the people of South-East by borrowing a humongous amount in their name, forgetting the old English proverb, which admonishes that, he who goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.

The statement added: “In sum, the least we expected our beloved president to have done as pay back was to instruct our sister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and our wife Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, Ministers of Finance and Petroleum respectively, to fund the 2nd Niger Bridge from the missing $10.8 billion Crude Oil instead of hanging the cross of Shylock-Toll-Gate on our neck?”



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