Flag-off Of The Construction Of Angiama-Oporoma Bridge On Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie Road On 19/02/2022

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First let me thank my dear brother the Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri for the kind invitation to be here to join you at the second anniversary of the government of Bayelsa State, and also for the warm hospitality.

I must express my deep gratitude to His Royal Highness, the Amananaowei of Agie-Ibe, Prof. Millionaire Freeborn Nestor Abowei, for conferring on me the title of “Ebuyiakubo-owei keni of Agia Ibe” meaning, the one who brings glory to the land of Agie-Ibe. I pray that the almighty God will help me and you bring glory to this land of Agia Ibe.

I also bring you the very warm greetings from President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who is excited about what is going on here and sends his congratulations to the governor, government and people of Bayelsa State.

I’m very excited to be joining you today for the flagging-off of this extremely important infrastructure, the ANGIAMA-OPOROMO BRIDGE and what it symbolizes for development in the region.

But let me say that driving through the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road, the natural beauty and the enormous potential of this great State is so poignant and self-evident. Few places in the world can boast of some of the gifts that nature has graciously bestowed on the people of Bayelsa State, and by extension Nigeria.

The challenge, historically, has been in getting the obvious potential of the State to match up to its lived realities. And to this end, we must appreciate the doggedness with which Governor Diri’s administration has gone about ensuring that Bayelsa lives up to its billing.

The breadth of the projects you have embarked upon and the thoroughness of their execution speaks clearly to your unfolding vision and gives confidence that in the near future we will see a State gradually elevated to world-class status.

Speaking about the importance of the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road to development across the State, in some ways, will be preaching to the choir. We know there can be no inclusive prosperity without the effective linkages of communities and the effective facilitation of trade that roads like this can provide.

One of the key challenges of governance, today more than ever, is ensuring inclusive prosperity. Our ability to create an environment that allows each and every person, in each and every corner of the country, to get a fair chance at maximizing their potential, is one of the surest routes to sustainable economic development.

But for a country with the population and geographical span of Nigeria, guaranteeing inclusive prosperity is a huge challenge indeed, made all the more so by the rapid urbanization of the last two decades, the consequent pressure on cities, and the difficulties of allocating scarce resources, faced by governments at all levels across the country.

But we must always find the commitment, innovation, and persistence to put in place the quality and scale of infrastructure needed, to give our people the productive and competitive edge they need to better their lives, and we need to do it as fast as possible. This is why projects like this are of utmost importance.

We commend our dear brother Governor Diri and his team for the vision and commitment they have shown to completing what was imagined almost 60 years ago.

Previous administrations, including the Federal government, also understood this and began the groundwork for its execution many years ago. But governance is a continuum, and sometimes what began in the heart of Moses will find fulfilment in the hands of Joshua.

The intention to build this important stretch of road has always been clear, with the efforts of past administrations including Gov. Seriake Dickson, your illustrious predecessor, culminating in the construction of the Ekole Bridge and the road towards Angiama. But at various points, several factors, including militancy, floods, and perhaps small gaps of will, have conspired to slow it down to the detriment of the people.

I must say at this point just as Governor Diri acknowledged, this is a partnership between the Federal Government and President Buhari in his typical open-mindedness, has done what previous administrations have not done and I’m happy and thankful that Governor Diri pointed this out – that is refunding what has been spent by the State Government on the road. That is the true spirit of partnership.

It is so important that we have in President Buhari and Governor Diri, a combination that works. I want us to not only congratulate Governor Diri but also congratulate President Buhari for this partnership that is working.

However, marked by fits and starts, it is safe to say we have arrived at a turning point in the history of the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road, and with one more determined push, it will be brought to completion.

The construction of the Angiama-Oporoma Bridge, which is in itself a significant component of the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road, will have a far-reaching impact on the lives of the people of this community.

It is not hard to imagine how much commerce we will be unlocking in Oporoma and the surrounding communities by flagging off this project and seeing it to its conclusion.

The farmers and fishermen that will be connected to new markets as easier and more efficient logistics enable them to expand their operations, employ more people, and provide better opportunities for their families, not to mention the improvement of security through an access road that circumvents sea pirates and allows traders to go about their businesses safely.

No local economy in the world can survive by being isolated. Cities and towns thrive partly because they develop and sustain the infrastructure that allows for profitable and free economic, social, and cultural exchanges. And so, by facilitating easier access to places like Yenogoa, and beyond, with this bridge, we will be laying a foundation for development that will deepen commerce and create individual and collective opportunities for the people of these communities.

Communities like Oporoma, Angiama, and others across the Niger-Delta, are host to vast amounts of mineral wealth and natural resources, so they deserve to have considerable developmental gains to show for it. We are well on our way towards correcting historical lapses in this respect as a matter of urgency, through the collaborative efforts of the federal, state, and local governments, each one putting aside personal interests, and doing the best they can for the communities which have undeservedly suffered for so long.

And so, we take this bridge in the long line of Governor Diri’s ambitious projects across health, education, security and infrastructural development, as a symbol of those ongoing efforts. It should not cost you almost the same amount of money to move from Oporoma or Angiama to Yenogoa, as it does to Benin or Lagos. And we believe those days are behind us.

We are confident that what your administration has started will be completed at the highest level of quality possible and in good time.

We encourage the people of the community to take ownership of this, as with all the ongoing projects of this administration, and to work with the government to ensure that it is completed and maintained without hindrance or sabotage. The miracle government can only do miracles if the people cooperate and I am sure the people in this community will cooperate.

We assure you of the Federal Government’s full support and collaboration in every way possible. You have not been forgotten, and this milestone is only the beginning of greater things to come.

There are dreams on this side of the proposed bridge as it is flagged off today – dreams that it will be speedily completed, and that our people will thus be connected to all the possibilities needed to realise their full potential.

Once more, I congratulate Governor Diri, the government and people of Bayelsa State and all of the communities here around on these game-changing achievements as they unfold.

We celebrate the progress being made here today and stand with you in your journey to building a Bayelsa that commands the respect of cities everywhere in the world. A Bayelsa where every town, village, people, or person, can benefit from their God-given resources and live their lives in peace and prosperity.

A Noah!! Alua!! Adooooooooo!!!

God bless you all.

Thank you.