Second Niger Bridge will haunt Jonathan – Prof. Dike

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A legal luminary and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Francis Dike has condemned President Goodluck Jonathan for being insensitive to the development of the South East. According to Chief Dike (SAN) who was a former Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice in Imo state, President Goodluck Jonathan is worse than any past Nigerian president in terms of execution of capital projects in the South East. He recalled that late Muritala Mohammed as head of state in 1976 initiated and built the first dual carriage way, the Enugu-PH highway in the East while Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shagari would be remembered for the Federal University of Technology Owerri, Federal Housing Estates Owerri and a number of highways in the East to mention but a few.

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Buhari is credited with converting Nekede Polytechnic to a Federal Institution while Ibrahim Babangida during his days as military President under a diarchy gave us the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, the Federal Medical Centre Umuahia, (former Queen Elizabeth Hospital) with late Sani Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar converting the former General Hospital Owerri to a Federal Medical Centre. The present specialist Hospital along Umuguma road, Owerri was built by Tanko Zubairu, also a Hausa Military Administrator in Imo state.
Though late Yaradua converted Alvan to a Federal College of Education with a proposal to making it a Federal University of Education, his successor, President Goodluck Jonathan who only answers “Ebele Azikiwe” whenever elections are around the corner, he has refused to approve the conversion. Prof. Dike (SAN) who felt disturbed by the present clamour for Jonathan in Igbo land, had stated this. While speaking exclusively to the community watchdog in Owerri yesterday. He opined that President Jonathan hates the Igbos, if not he would not surround himself with only those Igbo charlatans and sycophants who are more interested in sharing the loot than delivering the goods. When reminded that Jonathan is constructing a second Niger Bridge, Chief Dike recalled that the second Niger Bridge was to the best of his knowledge initiated with its feasibility studies and designs, commissioned by General Olusegun Obasanjo while late President Umaru Musa Yaradua was to award the contract for the dredging of the Nigeri River which funds were released also. Though he acknowledged that Jonathan has since commissioned a consortium of private investors to embark on the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge out of so much pressures, persuasion, he does so on condition that a toll gate be built to recover costs, “the second Niger Bridge is nothing to write home about when compared to what Jonathan has done elsewhere in the North and West of Nigeria”. According to Dike, even though the 2nd Niger Bridge is strategically important to even those travelling to Bayelsa and other South South states and with the old bridge steadily sinking, Jonathan is more committed to the East-West road that will bring the Yorubas directly to Ahoada without passing through the 2nd Niger Bridge than seeing to the completion of the project.
Thus he retorted, “Jonathan has neglected the East. He has not done anything tangible in the East to justify the multiple voting offered him in 2011 and the fact remains that it took an Igbo person, late Dora Akunyili to champion the quest for his presidency. He does not even warrant the present clamour. He has regrettably concentrated development in the North and West, while there is practically nothing to write home about in the East in terms of what he has done to elevate the state of infrastructure”. What we see as classroom blocks at the local Universities, Polytechnics and the upgrading of hospitals which are even less than that done elsewhere are either executed via Education tax funds, the TETFUND or as a result of legislation and appropriation by concerned members of the National Assembly who wish to have something to show for effective representation of their constituency projects, across the country. There are the NDDC projects which are statutory in our area. Otherwise Jonathan has not done any special favour to Ndigbo”.
Prof. Francis Dike (SAN) then drew the attention of the people of South East to the fact that Jonathan has extensively developed the rail system in the North and West and queried, “Why is the railway to the East not completed or even efforts intensified? On the so called Akanu Ibiam International Airport recently refurbished at Enugu under Stella Oduah’s ministerial appointment, Prof. Francis Dike pointed out that late Umaru Yaradua as president initiated and awarded the contract which was subsequently inherited by Jonathan and with Stella Odua playing a prominent role in his election in 2011, he had no option than to allow the project to go on in appreciation of Mrs. Oduah. However, the legal luminary queried, “how can the Igbos jubilate over an international airport when there are no appreciable international flights”. Continuing, Dike averred that elsewhere, there are more than one international airports, saying the whole of the South Eastern Region, with all the huge oil money in Nigeria has nothing to show for their support for Jonathan but an international status that is not even international airport.
He posited that the Port Harcourt International airport Omagwa is now a shadow of itself with the Airport Hotel Complex now moribund and the premises overgrown by bush. He attributed the lack of an oil refinery, non-consideration of an Igbo man as NNPC Group Managing Director and zero intention of the establishment of a common Petrochemical Industry in the South East to the preference of Jonathan towards surrounding himself with Igbo nonentities who do not mean well for the good people of Igbo land and their welfare. “As a former university don, Jonathan is expected to screen carefully and consider only those Igbo intellectuals, who are of high integrity as members of his cabinet. But a situation where Jonathan has taken the people of Igboland for granted for too long is unacceptable, he stated. Speaking further, Dike observed that Igbos are presently more educationally backwards with the least number of universities in the country. He then called on the Igbos to eschew sentiments in choosing the next president insisting that the next election should be the “issue-based” especially now that it is absolutely true that Jonathan is not ready or prepared to appoint Igbo politicians with impeccable characters into his cabinet but rather only those whose only interest is to amass as much wealth as their great grand children cannot manage.
In a similar vein, Prof. Francis Dike has charged the youths to show cause why they should be entrusted with leadership and the future of this great nation. Seething with anger over how our youths have through acts of omission or manipulation, deviated from anything credible, Dike regretted that far from what obtained in the past, our youths have lost bearing. “There are no youths in Nigeria today who can stand on their own, afterall they are part and parcel of the prevailing corruption and immoralities in our system. At best they are collaborators with men and women in high places whom they hail for their own, arguing that the youths now embrace and imbibe corrupt practices as a way of live. That explains why they are running after 419 people saying, “oga we dey here oo”, when they should be charting a cause for credible leadership and posterity.
Advising the youths, he told them to brace up themselves and fight against the cankerworm of corruption and bad leadership rather than lacking in genuine allegiance to the Nation. “Youths are kidnappers, armed robbers, militants. They lack courage, will and never care to scrutinize the contestants since they can’t compare themselves with their contemporaries in decent climes, they have failed woefully as agents of change.

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Courtesy: Community Watchdog Newspaper

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