President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday inaugurated the Second Niger Bridge, amid encomium from many prominent Igbo indigenes of the South East zone, including Prof Chukwuma Soludo, Chris Ngige, Senator Hope Uzodinma, among others.
Buhari performed the inauguration virtually from Aso Villa in Abuja, the nation’s capital, opening it to motorists plying through Asaba in Delta State to Onitsha in Anambra State.
The President in his address before the inauguration expressed delight at being able to provide the bridge, saying that it will promote economic growth for the people.
He said: “Getting out of poverty is much more difficult without infrastructure investment. This reflects our administration’s emphasis on the well-being of the people.
“The Second Niger Bridge is now a reality, and it will provide business efficiency and service in a timely manner.
“It is my distinct honor to open the bridge to the public. This is an example of the long-term change that we promised,” President Buhari said.
Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola who was at the commissioning ceremony described the bridge as the story of development, while also giving the hint that the bridge may have been named after President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “The Muhammadu Buhari 2nd Niger Bridge is a story about how Buhari’s policies meet people where they are, how travel time has been reduced by half, and how multi-dimensional poverty has been pushed back.”
Meanwhile, there was joy among many prominent Igbo individuals yesterday, over the commissioning of the bridge.
Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, described the commissioning of the Second Niger Bridge as a fundamental change that will catalyze new waves of prosperity and economic growth in the South-East region.
Soludo stated that he was personally overjoyed because the people of the South East have long advocated for infrastructural development.
He said: “President Buhari, the South-East will remember you as you leave office. It will not be a mistake to refer to the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola, as “Mr. Infrastructure.” This is indeed a fulfilled promise. We express our heartfelt gratitude for connecting Anambra, Asaba, and Delta.”
Also, Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, hailed Buhari for completing the Second Niger Bridge and other infrastructural projects in South East region despite that the people failed to vote for the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC).
“We have cried to many governments for years yet the projects were not done. The state of the First Niger Bridge makes it difficult for our people returning for Christmas and other festivities to sometimes spend five days or more on the road.
“We thank President Buhari for delivering the projects even though he begged for our votes but we didn’t give him our votes. He is a hero to me and people of South East,” he maintained.
Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige in his own address said that the Southern part of Nigeria would remember the Buhari’s administration, as the projects would reduce the cost of governance and transportation as well.