Open letter to the President

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First and foremost, we wish to elect the liberty to thank God Almighty for sustaining Nigeria under your able leadership despite the destructive array of man-made disasters and the challenges of climatic and ecological problems in recent times.
We appreciate your resolve to weather the storm, against all odds, to take Nigeria to the promised land of economic prosperity and political stability through your Transformation Agenda. We are behind you and it is our prayers that during your reign, Nigeria will shine like ‘Sirius’, the brightest star of the first magnitude in the Milky Way Galaxy.
The recent flooding of the ever busy Lokoja – Abuja Trunk “A” Federal Road, which led to the closure of the route for almost two weeks has once again brought to the fore the need to fast track the completion of the link bridge over river Benue, the Bagana – Guto Bridge, to create a virile and viable alternative route linking the Southern States with the Federal Capital, Abuja.
Mr. President, Sir, you are aware that the Lokoja – Abuja highway had to be closed to traffic by the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) when it became impassable and unsafe due to the unprecedented flood. Travelers on this route were compelled to divert to the only available route, Makurdi – Lafia ­Akwanga route. The hardship was much as it was too long, congested, strenuous and cumbersome, for road travelers coming to FCf from Southern and eastern parts of Nigeria.
Since this experience, completion of the abandoned BAGANA -GUTO Bridge has become a focal point of North and South/East travelers as the most expedient remedial alternative. A lot of articles and editorials have been carried in dailies on this matter (hence there is no need to bug you down with too many details) and the general opinion, of Nigerians is that the BAGANA – GUTO route to the Federal Capital is the most convenient, time saving and less stressful alternative. Hence this call for your gracious intervention.
Ife Development Association (IDA), in Omala LGA of Kogi State, a socio-cultural and development focused organization (immediate host of the Bagana – Guto Bridge) has been closely following your administration’s development programmes as encapsulated in the National Transformation Agenda and has all reasons to believe that your Administration will not indulge in wastes and abandonment of Proiects of huge Economic value to the Nation. This is why we consider it imperative to draw the gracious attention of Mr. President, The Honourable Minister of Works, ARC. MIKE OZIEGBE ONOLEMEMEN, and the Economic Management and Implementation Team (EMIT) headed by the Coordinating Honourable Minister, DR. NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA and present this advocacy for the completion of BAGANA – GUTO Bridge.
Having said this much, the Association wishes to draw your gracious altention to the following weighty reasons why we solicit your urgent and gracious intervention of the completion of this project.
your Excellency may recall, that on the 12th May 2007, YOU (Prcsident Goodluck Jonathan) accompanied the Forner President, Chicf Olusegun Obasanjo to flag off the Bagana – Guto bridge as a pilot, Public Private Partnership (PPP) project for the Nation with the Federal Government, Kogi and Nasarawa State Governments and Digital Tolls/NAIRDA (a private company) as key partners. This development brought untold joy to the immediate, community, who saw their long awaited dream of being properly linked to the rest of the country coming into reality.
It was conceived not only as an alternative route to and from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), but primarily as the shortest and most viable route to the Eastern/Southern parts of the country.
The Federal Government has already – committed billions of naira to the project.
The Kogi and Nasarawa state governments have also committed billions of naira to the project
The project commenced and a good number of pillars are already raised..At this stage, it is economically unwise and inappropriate to abandon it
Kogi state government has built new roads to Bagana to facilitate smooth movenlent across the bridge when completed.
The project has over 20 years history, having been approved, since the 1980s based on national infrastructure imperative and found as the most realizable route to the Eastern/Southern part of the country by the feasibility report of a Commissioned Engineering Company
With the Bagana – Guto bridge, the distance between Abuja to Enugu and Port Harcourt is reduced by over 300 to 400kilometres (or over 3 hours if travelling).
It is the most pragmatic and practically realizable alternative route that can forestall a reoccurrence of hardship encountered by travelers in the face of impassable Lokoja – Abuja route due to flood, and the reoccurring gridlock during Christmas and other notable public holidays leading to thousands of passengers being stranded on the road for days.
On the strength of the above rationale, we join millions of concerned Nigerians to appeal to Your Excellency to graciously intervene and take drastic actions (even if it means following due process mechanism of government to terminate the contract with the private partners) to surmount whatever reason or challenge is responsible for the abandonment of the bridge project. This is because it will not be in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians to let such an important project into which so much money has been committed to go down abandoned.
Your Excellency, we restate our confidence in your ability and interest to act positively on this issue because we strongly believe that you will not fail to expedite action on any matter of serious concern that adversely affects Nigeria and Nigerians. Your highly Commendable Emergency Response to the unprecedented flood in Kogi and other parts of the nation bears eloquent testimony to your fatherly care and love. Besides, the Bagana-Guto Bridge Project is propitious realisable.
Your Excellency sir, once more, the Association salutes your uncommon courage and leadership qualities.
Mr. Gabriel Ibrahim President (IDA)

Musa Makoji
Gegeral Secretary (IDA).

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