En-route to his official presidential campaign yesterday, the number one citizen of the country, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, paid an unscheduled visit to the site of the second Niger bridge project at the Onitsha-Asaba axis of Anambra state.
Jonathan also paid a courtesy visit to the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, at his Ime-Obi palace. The president said he visited the site to confirm the rumors making round that nothing was going on there, a project which he said, is very critical to his administration, a multi-billion naira project at that.
“I decided that I must visit the site of the second Niger Bridge to know the level of work there because some people have been saying all sorts of things, so I said I must visit the site before coming to pay courtesy call on His Majesty. Work is in progress on the project,” Jonathan assured.
President Jonathan further disclosed that the federal government had released N10 billion for the project out of which over N1.5b was used to pay damages as part of efforts to accelerate work on the project.
He said:“We have released N10 billion for the project out of which N1.5 billion was used to pay damages. I also discovered that work is really in progress as the access road that will lead to the bridge that is about 3km has been graded just to make sure that there is access to the site and I spoke with the management of Julius Berger and they assured me that the project will be completed within 40 months.”
The president, who was accompanied by his wife, Dame patience Jonathan and Vice president, Namadi Sambo, said he came to seek the support of the people of Anambra state and south east in general ahead of the next month’s general elections.
He expressed optimism that his presidential aspiration would get the support of the people of the zone, adding, “I get a very big support from the South East and that is why I decided to pay a courtesy call on you, Your Majesty, to tell you that your son, Azikiwe Jonathan is contesting for the presidential election.”
Jonathan also played another role while in the Obi’s palace; by reconciling the Anambra state gorvernor, Chief Willie Obiano and his predecessor, Chief Peter Obi, as the duo started having some issues shortly after Obiano took over as the governor.
In his remarks Governor Obiano said the entire Anambra state irrespective of political affiliations have decided to support President Jonathan for a second term in office, adding that the state under his administration has witnessed great re-birth and shall support the President.
“Mr. President, I want to assure you that Anambra people will give you support and vote for you 100 per cent. You don’t need to campaign in Anambra as Ndi Anambra have made up their mind to vote for you. We have given the people hope and I am happy to let you know that security is no longer the problem of Anambra state; feel free any day to visit because it is also your home,” Obiano said.
In his response, Igwe Achebe thanked President Jonathan for his vision and transformation that has been witnessed since he assumed office and reminded him that though the entire people of the state are behind him, there should be a level playing field for all political parties participating in the coming general election.
He further invited the former Governor of the state, Chief Peter Obi and his successor, Chief Willie Obiano before the entire presidential entourage and traditional rulers from all the communities of the state and reconciled them by calling on President Jonathan to serve as the bridge between the duo.