President Goodluck Jonathan will, on Monday, flag off the construction of the Second Niger Bridge in Anambra State.
He disclosed this on Tuesday when he received a delegation of Anambra people led by Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, and the state governor, Peter Obi, on a ‘thank you’ and solidarity visit to Presidential Villa.
The President had, during a recent visit to the state, pledged to perform the commencement ceremony before Obi leaves office on March 17.
He explained that he could have flagged off the project long ago with fanfare, but did not want it to be like similar efforts which ended up without actual work commencing on the bridge, adding that this time around, with proper planning and funding put in place, he was ready to start the project in earnest.
“The Minister of Works has briefed me that they have done a lot of mobilisation; we are coming to do real ground breaking ceremony, the second Niger Bridge and any other projects, in terms of our programme, our plans for Anambra will continue”, Jonathan said.
He commended Obi for maintaining a cordial relationship with the Federal Government, and admonished other elected officials and politicians to focus on developing their states rather than make a past time of attacking and abusing the President of the country or the Federal Government.
According to him, “A number of politicians feel that the best thing to do is to be abusing Mr. President, abusing the Federal Government and so on.
“You are elected to develop your state and I think the best thing is to have good relationship with the centre; whether you have a pin or you don’t have, but one day it will come.
“Wearing boxing gloves, jumping into the boxing ring to face Mr. President does not help the development of any state”.
The President also commended Obi for his people-oriented programmes and for managing an opposition-controlled State Assembly without a crisis, and pledged to give his successor, Willie Obiano, equal support to help him succeed.
Jonathan told the delegation: “Really, you don’t need to thank me; we are the people to thank you, because, we know the role you played for us during the election, not just delivering Anambra State, I’m not even talking about votes given to us, but the role you played for us; you galvanised people across the country”.
The President promised to retain Obi in the Federal Government’s Economic Management Team, even after he leaves office as Anambra governor next month.
In his remarks, Obi also noted that it was difficult for a state governor to make meaningful impact without the support of the Federal Government, especially the type he had received from Jonathan’s administration.
“I have been governor under three Presidents and I know the difference. Anambra State is your home and we are committed to supporting you and your government”, he stated.
The delegation’s address was read out by former Minister of Health, Alphonus Nwosu, and was full of gratitude to Jonathan for all the assistance given to Anambra State, while urging him to extend the same cooperation to Obiano.