President Goodluck Jonathan has promised to go on exile if he fails to build the Second Niger Bridge before completing his term in 2015.
The Nigerian leader made the promise in his remarks at a Town Hall Meeting held yesterday in the commercial city of Onitsha as part of activities marking his one-day visit to Anambra State. During the visit, Jonathan commissioned several projects, including the oil production facilities of Orient Petroleum at Aguleri, the massive SABMiller Brewery at Onitsha and the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu Gateway in Onitsha.
The issue of Second Niger Bridge naturally came up during the Town Hall Meeting since Jonathan had during his campaigns for the 2011 presidential ballot promised to construct the bridge if elected President. Experts have warned that the existing bridge constructed in 1965 may collapse any time in view of the heavy traffic.
Speaking yesterday at the Town Hall Meeting, the Nigerian leader said that “when the first bridge was built, it was during the presidency of Nnamdi Azikiwe; the second Niger bridge will be built under the presidency of Azikiwe Jonathan.” To further reassure the people, the President said he would go on exile on the completion of his term if he does not build the bridge.
To convince his audience that serious efforts are being made to build the bridge, invited Works Minister Mike Onolomemen and Finance Minister Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to brief the people on what was being done about the construction of the bridge. Onolomemen reeled out the technical details about the design of the bridge and the companies bidding to construct it, while Okonjo-Iweala unfolded details about the financial arrangements being made to construct the bridge.
At the end of the meeting, some of the participants, among them businessman Prince Arthur Eze were so thrilled that they urged President Jonathan to seriously consider seeking re-election in 2015.