By Amuda Dan Sulaiman FAB
No doubt the flagging off of the construction work on the Idah-Agenebode bridge linking Edo and kogi State by Governor Yahaya Bello, appears to have come to the people of the two States as huge sigh of relief.
The location of Idah, which is bounded by rivers Niger to Agenebode in the west and River Anambra to the East, have affected the socio-economic transformation of the people of Idah and her environs for decades.
However, Several attempts to subdued this challenge by constructing a bridge across the Niger that will link them with their kits and kins in Agenebode, although in Edo state, has always suffered monumental setback.
The benefits of constructing a bridge across the River Niger connecting kogi and Edo State therefore, cannot be over quantified. There have be series of agitation from the people of the two States on the need to link the two States by constructing a bridge across the Niger. According to the people, this will ease and increase economic activities, not only between the two States, but the entire northern Nigeria and the South South and south east region of the country.
People from Edo and kogi state who are mostly fishermen and Farmers have been having it extremely difficult to transport their farm produce to and from the two States due to navigability problems associated with the River, as the bigger vessels finds it difficult to ferry goods and persons across the Niger.
The Joy of the president Kogi Traditional Council and Chairman Igala Traditional Area Council, His Royal Majesty, Michael Ameh Oboni II knows no bound when the news of a bridge across the Niger came to him. This is what he has prayed for. I seems to say “God thank you that this is happening in my time”
The elated Governor Bello had described the construction of the Idah-Agenebode bridge as one that is long overdue as he expressed his determination to arrest the challenge which has prevented it’s actualization and see to its completion.
Bello stated this on Saturday in Idah while performing the ground breaking ceremony of this all important project shortly before flagging off his campaign for a second term in office
The governor described the area as one blessed with both human and naturalresources, but however lamented that the natural barrier has limited the exploitation of its potential, adding that he has confidence that those benefits would soon be harnessed when the bridge is completed.
He also said that since he took over the mantle of leadership in Kogi State he has made the well being of the people his priority, even as he assured the people of more dividends of democracy if re-elected for a second term.
Bello also assured them that his administrations will complete the Idah-Agenebode Bridge to open up the state to more opportunities and ease human and vehicular movement.
He equally disclosed that the bridge would be built through a partnership model, saying it is the administration’s belief that when completed, the bridge would open Idah, the eastern parts of the state to many commercial and viable opportunities from across Nigeria, particularly from the East and southern part of Nigeria.
Even though, those opposed to it, particularly the opposition Peoples Democratic party, (PDP), have said that the move to construct the bridge was politically motivated, stakeholders were however in unison that the benefits of having a bridge across the Niger to link the two states far outweighed any other consideration.
Speaking shortly after the ground breaking ceremony, Alhaji Ali Atabor, coordinator CEDO media Network for GYB, commended the Governor for taking the bull by the horn. According to him, the bridge would alleviate the sufferings of the local farmers who have been finding it extremely difficult to convey their farm produce across the Niger for effective marketing.
He said as someone from the area, he knows and feels in the pains experienced by these local farmers every farming season.
“Even if it is done for political gain what is wrong. Are they not voted to work for the people. The bridge is for the people, democracy is a government of the people and for the people. So the governor and his team have scored another first here.
“My only prayer is to see the timely completion of the bridge, so that our people can benefit from it. That is why we have to work very hard to return the governor and his deputy for a second term so that there will be continuity of developments.
Atabor recalled that the traditional ruler of Weppa Wanno kingdom in Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo, has once appealed to the Federal Government to construct a bridge across the River Niger to link the community with Idah in Kogi, because of its numerous economic benefits
The Okumagbe of Weppa Wanno, Dr George Ehabor, also called for the siting of a dry seaport at Agenebode, the headquarters of the local government area, Ali noted therefore, that the move by Governor Bello to have the bridge constructed at this point in time was well considered which he said must be supported by all lovers of kogi state and it’s development.