By Vincent Ujumadu
Awka – THE All Progressives Congress, APC, has promised that it would build toll –free 2nd Niger Bridge if elected into office on Saturday, vowing to revoke the ongoing contract awarded by the present administration under Public, Private, Partnership, PPP, with provision for toll collection.
The APC presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, who spoke through Chief Audu Ogbeh, one of the leaders of the party and former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, during the town hall meeting organized in Onitsha, Anambra State, said it was not fair for the PDP government to be contemplating building a bridge in which users would be paying toll fees, when the country has the resources to build the bridge for the people.
According to Ogbeh, money for the building of the bridge would be saved from plugging the avenues of financial corruption that had tended to impoverish the country and her people by those in authority.
He said that the present government has been spending nearly 90% of the country’s income on recurrent expenditure where the high corruption is embedded, adding that an APC government would ensure that the resources of the country were properly accounted for and used for the benefit of Nigerians.
Ogbeh also regretted that the economy of the South East geo-political zone has been on the downward trend because of the unfavourable government policies, assuring that APC would reverse the situation when it takes over power in May this year.
He said: “The South East is the place Nigeria’s industrial revolution will take place. We recall that many industries took off in this part of the country, but unfavourable structural adjustments led to the collapse of most of the industries. The APC sees South East as a strategic zone for the survival of Nigeria industrially, but with the present situation, it is very difficult for the industries to survive.”
He also said that APC believes that power must rotate among the geo-political zones, assuring that the best bet for the Igbo to occupy the office of the president of Nigeria is for them to support Buhari in 2015. He also said that the whole of the South East cities would be linked by rail, just as the party would properly dredge the River Niger to make it possible for the business community to clear their goods in Onitsha.
Chairman of the town hall meeting, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, who was a former president of Ohaneze Ndigbo said there is need for the Igbo to support Buhari because of their desire to return to the center of action in Nigeria.
He said: “We need a toll –free 2nd Niger Bridge because no bridge in Nigeria is on toll. We hope that if Buhari comes to office on May 29, 2015, the bridge will be completed by 2018.
“Also, 32 years after the commissioning of Onitsha River Port, no ship has berthed there, just as the Aba Dry Port also commissioned several years ago has remained abandoned.”
He pleaded with Nigerian leaders not to push Igbo out of the country as their actions tend to portray, and made a personal request on APC that he would like to see an Igbo president before he dies.
The Onitsha town hall meeting, however, failed to live up to its billing due to the absence of the APC presidential candidate.
Though the event was billed to start by 1pm, the entourage that eventually addressed the gathering arrived at 5.46 pm.
Former governor of Anambra State and senatorial candidate for Anambra Central, Senator Chris Ngige, while explaining Buhari’s absence, said the APC candidate had to attend an urgent meeting with ECOWAS commission in Abuja, adding that he therefore had to travel to Abuja after APC rally in Owerri.
He explained that Buhari might still make it to Onitsha before Saturday’s election, regretting his inability to speak with the people directly.