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Akwa Ibom: Connecting people through bridges

GOVERNOR Godswill Akpabio stands in bold reckoning in novel infrastructural renaissance, especially in the area of road infrastructure. The roads are not only built to connect the people and cultures, they are built to endure and outlast generations.

The cultures of proactiveness and excellence have permeated his road construction vision. This is perhaps what has informed the attachment of bridge components in some of the roads that have been constructed and the ones that are being constructed.

The thoroughness in the quality of the bridges, especially as noticeable in the ones that have been completed, persuade public conviction that the ones that are coming would not depart from the already set tradition of excellence and quality.

A bridge is a structure built to enhance human contacts.

According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 7th Edition: “A bridge is a structure that is built over a road, railway/railroad, river etc; so that people and vehicle can cross from one side to the other”.

The key attribute of a bridge is that it provides connection or contact between two or more different things. A complementary attribute is that of aesthetics which bridges imbue in road infrastructure. The appearance of a bridge on a road trajectory increases the aesthetic qualities of the road. Of course, bridges as road components are also conceived for purposes like road decongestion, safety, accessibility and diversions, etc.

The Akpabio administration has wrought on the Akwa Ibom landscape many bridges in its less than five years running. Perhaps, the most outstanding is the concentric flyover which has three fly-overs strategically placed at the entrance into Uyo capital city. The bridges which are, indeed, architectural marvels replace the poorly conceived and derelict structure that was referred to as “Itam Peace Column”.

The bridges which boast of expansive dual-carriage-ways also are usually well-lit in the night. Apart from its remarkable aesthetics value, the concentric flyover also has road arteries which allows the road user to select his/her route, depending on where he/she is going. For instance, while those for Idoro route would go down, those for Atiku Abubakar road go up, while those for Uyo city through Ikot Ekpene road would also go up using the flyover on the left and those for Itam go under the bridge to turn left.

The interesting thing is that the buzz word of the administration being uncommon transformation begins to assail doubting Thomases from the entrance to Uyo capital city. Those who live outside the state and hold any shred of doubt on the validity of the motto, uncommon transformation encounter the reality of their foibles at that entrance and perhaps initiate repentance from that point.

A friend of yours sincerely who lives in London had always told me that having lived in Europe for a long while and having understood what accountable governance meant, he planned to contest for the governorship of the State and according to him, use the office to change things in Akwa Ibom State. Last year, he came home from Europe after about three years and undertook a tour of the state. Having looked around, my Diaspora friend remarked that all the things he planned to do as governor of Akwa Ibom State, including building physical and human bridges to link all of Akwa Ibom into one entity has been done by Akpabio. And that these remarkable strides have forced him to jettison his ambition since he can hardly conceive of anything new that Akpabio’s administration has not extended its solution option to. He stated that anybody that would take over from Akpabio would face an uphill challenge as the man has set such benchmark in governance that is uncommon to this clime.

Indeed, Akpabio has done so much to link Akwa Ibom and its people into one indissoluble unit. His commitment towards building a pan-Akwa Ibom is evident in the way and manner he has distributed public infrastructure and political opportunities.

His disposition in respect of this is selfless and clearly altruistic. In fact, he would go down in history as the most liberal, detribalised and selfless indigenous governor that Akwa Ibom would ever have and who engaged with assiduity in building both physical and human bridges in deference to public good.

There were parts of our state that had been cut off from the arteries of civilization on account of bad roads. Most people from such communities were compelled to abandon their abodes and relocate to neighbouring cities that were still blessed, albeit half- measuredly with equally deplorable but tolerable accessible roads. The people of Etim Ekpo Local Government Area were victims of this loathsome experience.

Their woes were worsened by the state of a rickety bridge built in the colonial era but which could no longer sustain the growing human and vehicular traffic. Crossing the bridge from the headquarters to its mainland region of Eka Uruk Eshiet, Midim, etc, became a suicide mission. Thus, the bad road and the bridge separated Etim-Ekpo from their kith and kin and civilization.

•Mr. By , a public affairs analyst, wrote from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State


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