Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the Federal Government was focusing on new vision for strengthening infrastructural development, especially with rapid urbanization, pressure on cities, and the difficulties of allocating scarce resources, faced by governments at all levels.
As part of the new vision, the federal will collaborate with state governments to strengthen efforts at ensuring the wholesome development of communities across the country.
Osinbajo stated this in Bayelsa State at the construction flag-off of the Angiama-Oporoma Bridge, on the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road, at the weekend.
While highlighting the importance of such infrastructure project to a nation’s development, the vice president stated that “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 to better their lives, and we need to do it as fast as possible.”
According to him, the Niger Delta communities such as Oporoma, Angiama – where the bridge is now being constructed, and others across the region, are home to vast amounts of mineral wealth and natural resources, so they deserve to have considerable developmental gains to show for it.
The Angiama-Oporoma Bridge construction is seen as a symbol for development in the region, which will equally have far-reaching impact on the lives of the people in the communities.
Angiama-Oporoma Bridge and Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road are projects envisioned to help spur development across the state, allow for inclusive prosperity through the effective linkages of communities and the effective facilitation of trade that such roads provide.
He noted that the flag-off and completion of the project will unlock commercial activities in Oporoma and the neighbouring communities.
“The farmers and fishermen that will be connected to new markets as easier and more efficient logistics enable them 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 go about their businesses safely,” the VP observed.
He assured the region that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was committed to the wholesome development of the Niger Delta region, through its Niger Delta New Vision initiative.
“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,” he stated.
“As a matter of urgency, we are well on our way towards correcting historical lapses in this respect, 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,” he emphasized.
He also assured the people 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,” he said.
Under the Buhari administration’s New Vision initiative, the region has witnessed significant development strides and projects, such as the ongoing Ogoni Clean-up in Rivers State; the take-off of the Nigeria Maritime University; establishment of modular refineries across states in the region; infrastructure projects, including the 34-km Bonny-Bodo Road and Bridge project, the Warri-Itakpe railway line, among others.
On how to ensure inclusive prosperity, the Vice President disclosed that, “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.”
He further pointed out that “no local economy in the world can survive by being isolated, as cities and towns thrive partly because they develop and sustain infrastructure that allows for profitable and free economic, social, and cultural exchanges.”
Noting the state’s potential, Osinbajo observed that “the challenge, historically, has been in getting the obvious potential of the state to match up to its realities”
While commending the state government for embarking on the project, he expressed hope in the quality and timely completion of the construction.
“The breadth of the projects you have embarked upon and the thoroughness of their execution speak clearly to your unfolding vision and gives confidence that, in the near future, we will see a State gradually elevated to world-class status,” he said.
The Vice President also encouraged the people of the community to take ownership of the project, “and to work with the government to ensure that it is completed and maintained without hindrance or sabotage.”
According to him, “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 realize their full potential.”
During the trip, the Vice President was conferred with the traditional title of “Ebi-akubo-owei of Agia-Ibe” meaning, One who brings glory to the land of Agie-Ibe.”
He was also conferred with the title by the Amanana-owei of Agie-Ibe, HRH Millionaire Abowei.
Vice chairman of the state’s Traditional Rulers Council, the Obenibe of Epie Kingdom, King Malla Sasime, thanked Osinbajo for the visit.