Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, the preeminent Igbo social and cultural organisation, applauds President Muhammadu Buhari for keeping his word and finishing the Second Niger Bridge before his term ends.
This follows a decision by the Federal Government to temporarily open a portion of the Second Niger Bridge to improve holiday travel in the axis.
Ohanaeze argued that the bridge was a crucial piece of national infrastructure that would have benefited not only the contiguous states but the entire country.
This information was released in a statement dated December 16, 2022, signed by the organisation’s National Publicity Secretary, Dr Alex Ogbonnia.
Ogbonnia noted that the First Niger Bridge, opened in 1965, was severely damaged during the Nigerian Civil War, prompting the need for the Second Niger Bridge.
He also shed light on the Second Niger Bridge, a pressing issue for Southeast Nigeria for over half a century.
In part, the statement read as follows: “Apart from the traffic lock jam on the bridge, the greatest fear was that the bridge had evidence of cracks such that the stress of weights on the bridge could cause collapse of all the vehicles and their contents into the river Niger with untold consequences.
“Based on the general clamour for a Second Niger Bridge, the former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida, in 1992, challenged the Nigerian engineers to come up with a design of the second bridge. It was believed that upon completion, the bridge will ease traffic flow, allay fears, improve road safety and create greater road user confidence among the commuters.
“Several administrations had used the second Niger Bridge as a bait on the Igbo, especially during political campaigns. When President Buhari promised that he will complete the second Niger Bridge, not many believed, especially when he could not conceal his lopsided political appointments and other resource allocations against the South-East.
“On assumption of office as the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Ambassador Professor George Obiozor in company of several APC government officials on February 6, 2021, visited the site wherein he remarked that the ‘people of the South-East would continue to be grateful to the present Federal Government for hearkening to the needs of the Ndigbo’.
“A few days ago, the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), disclosed that the Second Niger Bridge would be open to traffic from December 15, 2022, to January 15, 2023, to ease the experience of travellers during the Yuletide break. And so, it has come.
“Surely, President Buhari did not start the work on the bridge, but in a country where the abandoned projects far outnumber the completed ones, vital infrastructure that should have been taken for granted are celebrated.
“While the Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Obiozor immensely appreciates Mr President on the Second Niger Bridge, it is hoped that Mr. President will use the remaining few months in office to pursue some other transcendental objectives which will write his name with gold in the sands of time.”