Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige has said the construction of the multi-billion naira Second Niger Bridge has reached 80 percent completion.
Ngige, a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), named the bridge among the five legacy projects to be bequeathed to the country by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The former Anambra State governor spoke yesterday as a guest on Channels Television Programme ‘Political Paradigm’.
According to him, the other legacy projects of the current administration are Lagos-Ibadan-Ilorin-Kaduna road, East West Road, Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road and the Mambilla Project.
The minister, who blamed APC’s defeat in the last Anambra Governorship election on the controversial primaries that produced the party’s flag-bearer, allayed fears that the setback would affect the ruling party in the Southeast during the 2023 general elections.
In a statement from his media office, the minister assured that the scenario would be different in 2023, as the infrastructure revolution of the Buhari government has touched the zone tremendously.
the Southeast zone and even beyond as the zonal campaign coordinator, from Abakiliki to Aba, Akwa Ibom, Uyo, Awka and Enugu. In these places we talked about the Second Niger Bridge.
“That Bridge has been built. It is now at 80 percent completion. Before it was being built by Public Private Partnership (PPP), but now, it is being built from the Sovereign Wealth Fund as one of the five legacy projects that this President is leaving for the country.
“The South Easterners have seen that the Second Niger Bridge is being done. He (Buhari) has completed the Zik’s Masoleum. Many Nigerians don’t even know that President Buhari is a Zikist. I know because we had visited Zik’s son, Chukwuma (now late) who was his friend. We visited that tomb before he was elected president.”
On why the feeling of marginalisation still thrives in the Southeast, Ngige noted that the people of the zone love appointments and felt that the President did not treat them well in that area.
He explained that the President felt he could empower and make the people of the Southeast happy through giving them fertilizer plant in Ebonyi State and extending credit and grants to farmers in Ebonyi, Imo, and farming areas of Anambra State.
Ngige added: “But these are people who love appointments. They know and I say it to them. We have seen presidents appoint people from their zones or even other zones for a four-year term. They come and go. We had plenty of appointments during Obasanjo and Jonathan administrations. When I say it, some people are not happy.
“For example, the Enugu Airport has suffered dilapidation over the years but we had four Aviation ministers, namely, Kema Chikwe, Fidelia Njeze, Osita Chidoka and Stella Oduah. How come that airport remained dilapidated while they were in office? The tarmac was pronounced as the worst in the whole of Nigeria by an Ethiopian Pilot who flew us one day.”