By Idongesit Ashameri
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has inaugurated a 1.15km Afi-Uko Ntighe Bridge along the 19km Etebi – Enwang Road, recently completed by Governor Udom Emmanuel to link Mbo and Esit Eket local government areas of Akwa Ibom State.
Recall that the Etebi-Enwang bridge project said to have been awarded to a British Construction Company headed by Engr Fidelis Cobbs in 1949 and considered the fourth largest in Nigeria had enjoyed massive publicity by the last administration in the state but was however left uncompleted.
Inaugurating the project in Mbo, Akwa Ibom State on Monday, former President Goodluck Jonathan applauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for consistently delivering well-structured growth-promoting projects in the state.
Jonathan who was in the state in the company of his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan, said It takes someone with total commitment to improving the lives of the people to embark on a project of such magnitude.
“A Bridge is very very useful to riverine dwellers. This is visionary leadership that gives substantial evidence of well-structured growth promoting leadership.
“Your strategic development plans have continued to deliver great dividends to the development of this great state. You have delivered several projects, and built many bridges, but this is a flagship project.
” It takes someone with total commitment to improving the lives of the people to embark on this. Your projects have direct impacts on the lives of people in remarkable ways. Your award as Governor with the best economic blueprint was befitting.
“This is the third time I am coming to Akwa Ibom to commission a project. This must be one of the longest bridges in West Africa. Let me also commend the people of this community for cooperating with the construction team.
“You build both economic, human and social bridges. People like you are the stars and heroes of our democracy. You work hard to ensure that democracy produces good fruits for the people, we need more people like you”. He said
The former President of Nigeria, therefore, urged whoever would emerge as incoming governor of the state to effectively follow the footprints of Governor Emmanuel.
Addressing the gathering, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State said the completion of the bridge was in fulfilment of his electioneering promise to open up riverine communities in the state.
The Governor returned all glory to God for the enablement to impact the lives of people and communities across the 31 Local Government Areas of the state.
He thanked members of the community for the support shown throughout the duration of the construction and assured Akwa Ibom people that no amount of blackmail would distract him from his avowed commitment to continue to drive the state in a path of rapid industrial growth.
Explaining components of the bridge, the Commissioner, Ministry of Works and Fire Service, Akwa Ibom State, Prof Eno Ibanga said the bridge is 1.15km, the longest in South-south, the longest ever commissioned by any state government in the country and sits on 212 piles with a minimum depth of 30meters,
segmented into 52 spans of 22.5m each and the spans sit on 408 precast beams, with an impressive lifespan.
On his part, the Managing Director of AMITEC Construction Company, Aiman Saimua said the company was awarded the project four years ago but the COVID-19 pandemic caused a delay in the project which was completed two weeks behind schedule.
Saimua commended Governor Emmanuel for providing the funds required for the project and the community for their support, saying without it, they would not have been able to complete the project.
Secretary to State Government and son of the soil, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem in his welcome remarks said the bridge has created a major gateway for the industrial revolution in the state.
“The bridge will enable Ibom industrial city to be approached, Ibom solution hub, Forward Operation Base, Dakada Global Oil. This is a part of the rapid industrialization agenda of the governor. The longest bridge in South-south Nigeria”. He said.
In their goodwill messages, the National Presidents; Nigeria Union of Journalists, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Engr Tasiu Sa’ad Gidari-Wudil, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo fnipr, the Catholic Archbishop of Calabar, Most Rev Dr Joseph Ekuwem all eulogised Governor Udom Emmanuel for his remarkable strides in Akwa Ibom State.