THE Bonny Kingdom Advancement Front, BKAF, a socio-economic and cultural advocacy group in Ancient Grand Bonny Kingdom of Rivers state has said they will explore legal and civil means to ensure the Federal government accept its part on NLNG’s offer to provide 50 percent of the funding (about N60 billion) for the completion of Bodo/Bonny road.
In a press release signed by Rexlawson A Hart, secretary of the body, said: “NLNG offered FG N60 billion for Bonny-Bodo Road on February 3, 2016. NLNG called on the federal government and relevant agencies, including the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, to partner it in the development of Bonny-Bodo road a long-standing government project which will help improve the infrastructure in the Niger Delta.
Before the Senate Committee on Niger Delta in Abuja, NLNG restated its offer to provide 50 percent of the funding, worth N60 billion, provided the partnership was accepted and matched by the Federal Government .
According to Kudo Eresia-Eke, general manager, External Relations Division, the road will better the lives of the thousands of Nigerians, mainly from the Niger Delta living on Bonny Island, as well as other Niger Delta residents in Ogoni, Okrika, Eleme, Andoni, among others.
Prior to the 2015 election build up former President Jonathan gave assurance when he received in audience Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple XIII, King of Bonny Kingdom, and his delegation at the Presidential Villa.
He explained that major lapses in the first procurement of the Bodo Bonny road, was responsible for the stalling of the project, first awarded 11 years ago under the former President Olusegun Obasanjo administration, leading to its eventual cancellation under his administration.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan while responding to some of the demands put before him by his Majesty, said on the Bonny Bodo road, ” I won’t want to bore you with details of the lapses in the first procurement of the Bodo Bonny road, why the contract didn’t hold was because there were major lapses. Ii is almost like the story of the East West Road that was awarded without proper design and so with time it got stuck. We just had to come back and that is what happened to the Bodo Bonny Road, we are now going back to proper procurement, proper design, proper cost and this time God willing once we start we will not stop again.
However, it is unfortunate that this project is yet to be completed after 12 years. In any project, a time frame is established by the bidders. The winning bid is obliged by the contractual laws to complete it on schedule and before you publish a bid, the project should have a final design, you do not go to the construction phase without a final design.
The completion of a project is not by luck or God’s will. It is just respecting the contractual obligations established, agreed and signed by the parties involved, which we think parties involved didn’t adhere to professionalism and world best practice. The road transverses a swampy terrain was known to the consultant who executed the design and the design work should reflect this fact. That the project is still uncompleted after 12 years goes to the Guinness book of records and is a pity and shameful, an affront disregard and abuse on the goodwill of Bonny Kingdom.
Procurement is a primary phase of any project and it is un-excusable to talk about faulted procurement after 11 years and handing over the site keys to the executing Contractor and probably after paying the Contractor about 90 percent of the project cost for works not executed, the release said.
Bonny people were expectant on the completion of the Bodo/Bonny road, while we were still hopeful, Federal government flagged off the Federal Polytechnic of oil and gas Bonny, jettisoned the ongoing construction of Bodo/Bonny road which was under construction for more than 11 years.
“As a people we took it with a smile, we celebrated and gave accolades to the federal government, for most of us we had put into consideration the consequence which the oil and gas polytechnic poses to the latter, The historical Bodo/Bonny road was at that the time 30% of its initial design and execution.
“Be that as it may, How well would a Federal Polytechnic of oil and gas flourish without a road linking it to the urban cities, with the menace of sea piracy would our federal poly see the light of day, would the campus of the fed poly flourish with students from the hinterlands or the school is expected to be for only Bonny people who are used to traveling by engines and fibre through the creeks. That was our constructive thought as it were.
“The Federal Polytechnic saw 90% completion in less than 3 years; this was because there was a political will by the President Jonathan led administration to see to its execution. The Bodo/Bonny road is essential not just for Bonny kingdom, also for the economical benefits of our national coffers.
“It is arguably true, an undeniable fact that the Bodo/Bonny road is not on a quagmire for economical reasons, but as a result of zero political will and timid political extensor of the Bonny people. As sad as it may sound, the federal government, both past and present lack the political will and sincerity to execute the bodo bonny road and as a people we lack the political gladiators/frontrunners to deep into the mucking waters of national politics to lobby and drive home our demands as we have seen in contemporary politics.
“We have not only been marginalized, we have been measured, scaled, weighed and then prioritize. We call on the federal government, President Muhammad Buhari and the minister of Transportation to look into the Bodo/Bonny road, resurrect all efforts for its completion, and muster the political will and sincerity to liberate the Bonny kingdom and the plight we have suffered for more than 15 years.
“It is quite worrisome and alarming that all capital projects that would be of great benefit to the Bonny people are either abandoned or uncompleted. Federal housing estate Bonny didn’t see the light of day, Bonny Ring road was flagged off but currently a shame, The Federal polytechnic of oil and gas which is 90% completed but currently not operational but laying to waste and the list goes on and on.
“This is really sad for a kingdom that contributes so much to our National GDP and if these issues raised are left unaddressed, we would no longer keep mute and watch. Bonny people might resort to legal, civil and democratic means to drive home our demands. We call on all agencies involved to act fast and now, Bonny kingdom refused to be prioritise,” he said.
— Oct 20, 2016 @ 18:45 GMT