Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has declared that he would not stop carrying out people-oriented projects, with a plan to start construction of the sixth flyover at Kaduna bridge by Aba Expressway, Port Harcourt.
Governor Wike stated this yesterday, at the commissioning of Rebisi (former Garrison junction) flyover constructed by Julius Berger construction company.
He said: “It is on record, it has never happened before, where a state government can carry out five flyovers at the same time; and with a contractor of no repute.
“So, for me, I am so happy today, I made a promise to my people. And today, I have fulfilled that promise. So many people doubted and said it was not going to be possible. When you make a promise, you fulfil that promise.
“We are going to start the sixth flyover in this Kaduna bridge. Julius Berger is carrying out the test”, he stated.
Governor Wike said by December, Okoro Nobo (former Rumuokoro) flyover would be commissioned, while in February 2021, the Rumuagbari (former Artillery) and Rumuola flyovers would be commissioned and GRA flyover would be commissioned by March/April 2021.
Speaking on the recent N78 billion released to the Rivers State government by Federal Government being money spent on the construction of federal roads, Governor Wike commended the Minister of Works and Housing and late Abba Kyari for the roles they played in ensuring the money was refunded to Rivers government.
Responding, Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, said the federal government is not in competition with any State in terms of projects execution.
He commended Wike for embarking on “massive and radical urban regeneration and urban renewal” in Rivers, expressing optimism the would soon return to its former status of Garden City.
He explained that monies refunded to the States by the federal government were done without any discrimination, noting that the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, was the champion for the refund to Rivers State.
He said: “It was his (president) initiative that it was only fair and just to refund to states monies they had spent on federal roads. And it was done across party lines with discrimination.
“I want to say that in all the 36 states I have visited in my capacity as minister, that federal government is not in competition with any state. Our responsibility and our mandate before Mr President is to support the developmental initiatives and aspirations of every state.
“Our elections happen only once in four years. But, our developmental challenges happen every day. And, so, we have no choice who to serve. We serve the people of Nigeria.
“Let me make an important observation here; in the first tranche, the refunds, I think, were in the order of N577 billion, more than half a trillion. And it was done across the states, across party lines.
“In this second tranche, it was five states. Out of that five states, only two were APC states; and it was a total of N148 billion. And of course, Rivers State got N78 billion.
“But, don’t leave here and think that he has received N78 billion. Not yet! It still has to go to the National Assembly, because this is part of Nigeria’s borrowing plan. This is part of the debts that you hear the government is borrowing. It is coming back into development,” Fashola explained.
State Commissioner of Works, Mr Eloka Tasie-Amadi, said the project was flagged off on October 24, 2019, with a delivery timeline of 16 months, noting that the work was finished four months ahead of the scheduled deadline.
He said it was noteworthy the efforts made by Governor Wike and other stakeholders in ensuring the completion of the project without any disruption.
He added that the Rebisi flyover would ease traffic and improve the economic life of people of the area and the state in general.
The Rebisi four-carriage flyover has a total length of 969.4 metres, with a width of 17.6 metres