Politics of Second Niger Bridge

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In Nigeria
Mar 11th, 2014
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SIR: The immaterial controls the material; a people’s circumstance is largely influenced by their philosophy. Other continents of the world have advanced so farther than Africa that it is often wondered if the African is less endowed (intellectually and otherwise) than the rest of humanity. Experience, however, shows the contrary for we see individual Africans across the globe proving that they are equally as good. The pitiable state of the continent and Nigeria in particular is therefore largely a consequence of defective philosophies of the people.

One of these wrong orientations is in our concept of development. While in most other parts of the world development (especially as it pertains to basic amenities) is largely seen as a matter of necessity, here, politicians see them as luxuries, as favours to be bestowed as they wished. Sometimes due to malice or ethnicity, infrastructure which would benefit not just the host community/part of the country but also contribute to the overall growth of the country is left undone. A community/part of the country is subtly given crude conditions under which necessary amenities will be provided for them. Generally, politicians still play politics with matters of development, provision of basic amenities.

One necessary project that has been the subject of so much politicking is the second Niger Bridge. Former President Obasanjo used it to canvass for Igbo vote, so did Yar’Adua. President Jonathan during his 2011 election campaign promised Ndigbo that he will construct the bridge during his first tenure if elected. Well, the tenure is almost up and the bridge is nowhere to be seen. This did not come as a surprise. I knew the same bridge would be used to woo Ndigbo ahead of the 2015 election; it was all too predictable.

On March 10, the president performed the ground-breaking ceremony of the construction of the bridge. Only the hopelessly naïve will not see the politics behind the ceremony and its timing. It holds both promise and threat –vote me in and you get the bridge, fail to vote me and forget the bridge. It is so unfortunate that we cultivated such deplorable culture of politicizing development.

The ground-breaking ceremony has come and gone, yet that is no guarantee that the project would be done –we still have a culture of abandoning projects. In fact some ‘smart devils’ would still prefer to have the project delayed for future political purposes. That would be very unfortunate indeed. I sincerely hope this is the last time a politician will ask Ndigbo for votes using the second Niger Bridge.

• Nnoli Chidiebere

Aba, Abia State.

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