Raji Fashola (SAN) Minister for works and housing federal Republic of Nigeria, commissioning Rebisi flyover Bridge constructed by the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike in Port Harcourt.
From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
The Minister for Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) has decribed the Governor of Rivers State, Barr Nyesom Wike as a Lion following his commitment to developmental strides in the state.
The Minister made the description on Saturday while commissioning the Rebisi flyover, one of the five ongoing flyover projects in Port Harcourt.
Fashola who noted the radical commitment of Rivers state government in urban development, commended Governor Wike for the massive regeneration and renewal of the state capital.
He appreciated the governor for inviting him to commission the project completed within 12 months.
Fashola said “Let me thank Governor Nyesom Wike for the invitation to me to commission one of the five (5) flyover projects and he said the sixth is coming.
“I bring you very best wishes of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government of Nigeria. And to say as I have said to all the 36 states that I have visited in my capacity as a Minister that the federal government is not in competition with any state. Our responsibility and mandate both Mr President is to support the developmental initiative and aspirations of every state.
“I must commend Governor Wike because we went through three or four flyovers but to say, what I witnessed is a massive urban regeneration and urban renewal of Port Harcourt. Giving what I know of Rivers, I hope its tourism, peace, happiness and its status as a Garden City will come back and everybody who joins Governor Wike in that journey joins for the development and and revive of our country.
“I am really glad to come here today to come and declare this Rebisi Bridge open and to commend the Governor, the government and the people of Rivers State for their radical commitment to urban renewal and development”.
However, the Minister dismissed the rumour that federal government have released the N78billion refund to the state government used for construction of federal roads in the state.
“It was the initiative of Mr President that it was only fair and just to refund to the states monies you have spent on federal roads and it was done across party lines without discrimination.
“Some of you may have also heard stories that Governor Rotimi Amaechi my colleague in the Federal Ministry was somehow not happy, nothing can be further than the truth. The champion for the fund among the Ministers was Rotimi Amaechi himself.
“In the first tranch, the refund were in order of M577billion, more than half a trillion certainly I don’t have the exact number and it was done across the states, across party lines.
“In this second tranch, it was five states; out of those five states I think only two were APC states and it was a total of N148billion, and of course Nyesom Wike and Rivers State got the lion share, he is a Lion. He got N78billion.
“But don’t leave here and think that he had received N78billion, not yet, he still has to go to the National Assembly because this is part of Nigeria’s borrowing plan, this is part of debt you will hear government is borrowing. Is coming back into development”.
Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike has lauded the late Chief Of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola for their efforts in ensuring the refunds of the monies spent by Rivers government on federal roads.
This as Governor Wike has also requested for refund of the monies spent on the ongoing federal projects in the state.
The governor who spoke during the commissioning of the Rebisi flyover project, reminded Rivers people that he will always keep to his words and will continue executing projects in the state as long as there is available funds.
He said: “Last year when we came to flag-off this project, we flagged-off three of these projects at the same time: The Rebisi flyover, Rumuokoro and Rumuogba flyover.
“It has never been in record where a state government can carryout five flyovers at the same time, is on record. For me am so happy today, that I have made a promise to my and have fulfilled it today.
“So many people doubted that it will not be possible, that how can a state say they want to build three or five flyovers at the same time. We are also going to start the sixth flyover by the Kaduna bridge. Julius Berger is carrying on the test.
“Those who are criticising that we are doing all things in Port Harcourt, I have no apology for them and if I have more money I will do more, even if I build flyovers everywhere in Port Harcourt.
“For those of you who know me I don’t play politics with everything. You remember that this state is one of the states that government have not refunded to based on the jobs that state carried out on the federal roads.
“Sometimes last year, the former Chief Of Staff to Mr President, Abba Kyari called the Minister and asked why is it that Rivers state was not paid, he said he will look at it. I never noticed, I never had a close relationship. I was thinking if he sees my file he will throw it away based on what people will say but on that date he took me to his office, called his people and requested for the file.
“He promised to get me feedback after he visited the President who was already with file, before I got to my residence, he has called me back that my file has left for the bureau of procurement.
“The people of the state should join me and thank the late Abba Kyrai and the Minister, Babatunde Fashola, for what they have done for the state. We don’t have anything to pay him back but to ask the Almighty God to give him life.
“People like Fashola should be encouraged for leadership is key. Today, when we were going round you can see a man with passion, a man with commitment. He didn’t consider politics but only did the right thing”.
Hon Eloka Tasie-Amadi, Commissioner For Works, explained that “The project was flagged-off on October 21, 2019 with the delivery lifeline of 16months. It is a thing of joy that on November 7, 2020, four months ahead of schedule it was commissioned.
“The Rebisi flyover has a total length of 969.4metres, with width of 78.6metres. The suspended section of the flyover which over passes the Port Harcourt/Aba Expressway/Trans-Amadi road junction majors 360metres. The flyover is very well linked. This project has been built to last”.