Andy Esiet, Calabar
Former President Goodluck Jonathan will on Monday January 16, commission the 1.15km Afi- Uko Ntighe bridge project executed by Governor Udom Emmanuel in Mbo local government area, Akwa Ibom state.
The bridge has been described as the fourth longest in Nigeria, and the longest built by a state government in the country.
Conducting newsmen round the bridge on Friday, the Special Assistant to Governor Emmanuel on Research and Documentation Mr Essien Ndueso said the bridge is part of a 19km road constructed by the Governor from Mbo local government to Etebi in Esit Eket local government area with a spur to Unyenge in Mbo.
Essien said the bridge is among over 40 bridges constructed by governor Emmanuel across the 31 local government areas in the state as part of the Completion Agenda of his administration.
He said the Afi- Uko Ntighe bridge was initiated by former governor Godswill Akpabio’s administration but later abandoned in 2014.
“This bridge as you all know was initiated by the former Governor Godswill Akpabio in 2008. Since then, it has been a sad story of neglect and poor contractual disposition to agreements.
“The bridge was only 35 percent executed when Governor Udom Emmanuel took over office in 2015. The governor in 2018 had to get a contractor that specializes in Bridge construction – AMITEC.
“Now, this project is completed. Former president Goodluck Jonathan will commission this bridge on Monday 16 January 2023”.
Essien stated that the bridge has both social and economic impacts on residents of the area as they will carry their goods which are mainly seafoods to different parts of the state.
The Governor’s aide, flanked by his colleagues, Aniefiok Macauley and Engr. Solomon Eyo, said that Governor Emmanuel refused to play politics with projects, hence his decision to complete the project.
“In other climes, Governors declare public holidays to commission mere 1km roads, but here Governor Emmanuel has silently completed a bridge as long as this, on a 19km road.”
The second bridge on the road, measuring 195m, was earlier constructed by the previous administration while the entire road was at 55percent completion when the administration of Mr Emmanuel assumed office in 2015.
The chief Executive Officer of the contracting firm,Aiman Saimua said the bridge has a 1.5m walkway on both side, and is 11m wide and is decorated with streetlights.
Saying the bridge is bound to last for a lifetime, he commended the Governor for showing so much passion and dedication to the cause of his people and explained that despite the rising cost of infrastructure, the Governor never hesitated in assisting them to complete the project.