APC caught pants down lying about 2nd Niger Bridge
On Friday October 20, 2017, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was in Onitsha to flag off the APC governorship campaign for Dr. Tony Nwoye. At the event, apparently to drive home the point that APC-led federal government delivers on its promises, VP Osinbajo told the world that the government had two days earlier (on Wednesday) released 2billion US dollars (about 700bn) from the SWF to complete the 2nd Niger bridge.
As a reporter, I knew it was impossible for any body to release N700bn for a bridge that shouldn’t cost more than N110 billion. I waited for the government spokespersons to say “Ah! VP was misquoted. He never said 2billion dollars!” Up until Monday (Oct 23) no such clarification came. On Tuesday (today), I wrote the following story in The AUTHORITY newspaper “FG’s Release of N700bn for N108bn 2nd Niger bridge Sparks Controversy http://www.authorityngr.com/…/FG-s-release-of-N700bn-for-N…/
Just this evening, the office of the VP came up with this;
OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT: SECOND NIGER BRIDGE: N2BN, NOT $2BN
During the APC Governorship campaign flag-off in Onitsha, Anambra State, on Friday, October 20, 2017, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, had reiterated the Buhari administration’s commitment to keeping its promises to the Nigerian people.
One of these promises is the construction of the second Niger Bridge.
In the official press release I sent on the Vice President’s remarks during the campaign rally in Onitsha that same day, I did quote the VP as saying that “the Sovereign Wealth Fund paid N2 billion for that same project (Sum paid to the contractor: Julius Berger for early works). We will definitely see our second Niger Bridge, we will not make promises we cannot keep”.
However, a short video clip from the event captured on the news segment of a television channel quoted Prof. Osinbajo as mentioning “$2bn”, and not “N2bn”, which was what he had actually meant to say. Mentioning the dollar currency was inadvertent.
As it happened, the excerpt from the video, which was shared online, was what was quoted in the headlines of some media houses, and in comments on social media.
The figures were misplaced. Kindly set the records straight, from the speech I had sent.
It is also pertinent to state that the highlight of the rally and Prof. Osinbajo’s remarks was the commitment of this administration to improve the country’s transportation network and economy.
“The APC government is a government that will do everything it has promised. We are not making promises for nothing. The second Niger Bridge, we have been talking about it for a long time, but for the first time, the President went by himself to negotiate the facility to do that second Niger Bridge. That is why the second Niger Bridge is in our current budget and we have provided for it,” the Vice President had said.
Please note, again, the sum provided for this is actually two billion naira (N2 billion).
Below are the remarks by the Vice President, as earlier sent on October 20, 2017.
WE WILL NOT MAKE PROMISES WE CANNOT KEEP, WE KEEP OUR PROMISES – OSINBAJO
*N2B JUST RELEASED FOR EARLY WORKS ON SECOND NIGER BRIDGE
REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY PROFESSOR YEMI OSINBAJO, SAN, GCON, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, AT THE APC GOVERNORSHIP CAMPAIGN FLAG-OFF IN ONITSHA, ANAMBRA STATE EARLIER TODAY, FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2017
How many people know that we are blessed in Anambra State? If you are blessed, just raise your hand.
Ahhhh, I see that all of us are raising our hands! The Lord God Almighty will bless you.
I have come on behalf of Mr. President, many people know already that our President is a man who loves this State, and if you are looking for evidence that he loves this State, I am sure that you will not look very far.
The first time that he ran for President, his running mate was from this State, yes, Chief Chuba Okadigbo. The second time that he ran, his running mate was from this State also, Chief Ume-Ezeoke. So I want you to give Mr. President 3 Gbosas! (Crowd responds!)
The APC government is a government that will do everything it has promised. We are not making promises for nothing. The second Niger Bridge, we have been talking about it for a long time, but for the first time, the President went by himself to negotiate the facility to do that second Niger Bridge. That is why the second Niger Bridge is in our current budget and we have provided for it.
In fact, I am being reminded that just two days ago, the Sovereign Wealth Fund paid N2billion for that same project (Sum paid to the contractor: Julius Berger for early works). We will definitely see our second Niger Bridge, we will not make promises we cannot keep.
When we were talking about railways, Lagos – Calabar railway, under the old administration, I will not mention them by name, they said Lagos will go to Calabar, there was no connection to the Southeast. It was when President Muhammadu Buhari came, that we re-designed the Lagos – Calabar, in order to pass through Onitsha in the first place. That new design is what we also have- the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri railway, which has a connection to Umuahia, Owerri, Enugu, and Awka. So we will not make promises we cannot keep, we will keep our promises.
This State was the first to receive our Home-Grown School Feeding Programme, we gave this State money first for that programme. And we have already in 807 schools, here in Anambra State, fed young children in primary schools. We have over 103,000 children that are already being fed here in Anambra. The school feeding programme is an APC programme and we have engaged over a thousand cooks.
Also, we have our N-Power programme for young graduates. Already we have employed 4,518 young graduates and we intend to increase the number. We will not make any promise we cannot keep.
That is why I am so sure you will be making the right choice, you will be doing the right thing. How many people know that when you do the right thing, you will get the right result? One plus one is two not two and a half, two plus two is four not four and a half. If you make the right choice, you will get the right results.
When we made the right choice and voted the APC, we are getting the right results. By the grace of God, you in Anambra State will also get the right results.
So it is my very special pleasure now, to invite the National Chairman to present our flag, I am going to join him. The proper person to present the flag is our Chairman, so that it will be valid, because we don’t want any invalid presentation of our flag, and I will also accompany him and all of us here will accompany him.
Senior Special Assistant on Media & Publicity to the President
Office of the Vice President
24 October, 2017