Second Niger Bridge: Obi of Onitsha counters presidency

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  • Denies altercations with Obasanjo

The Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, has faulted the presidency’s claims that he was involved in altercations with former President Olusegun Obasanjo over the 2nd Niger Bridge.

Uba Group

This was contained in a statement signed on Tuesday by the chief of staff, (Ime Obi Onitsha), of the Traditional Council of Onitsha, Osita Anionwu.

The Point recalls that a Presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, had on Monday, while reacting to the letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in which he endorsed the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, said Obasanjo was acting in frustration and jealousy over achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari
Shehu, while referencing Buhari’s landmark achievements in office, listed the 2nd Niger Bridge, which he said was finally “completed after three decades of failed promises”
Shehu had claimed that “Obasanjo laid the sod for the bridge in his first term as elected president and work never started.

“When he sought re-election for his second term in office, he returned to the site to turn the sod for the bridge the second time. When the Obi of Onitsha, forthright and scholarly, reminded him that he had done this in the past, Obasanjo told the foremost southeast traditional ruler that he was a liar, in the full presence of the chiefs and oracles in his palace.”

According to the Presidential spokesman, “Obasanjo lied to the southeast to get their votes. President Buhari didn’t get their votes but built the bridge because he believed it is the right thing to do.”

But in a statement signed by the chief of staff, Ime Obi Onitsha, Osita Anionwu, on Tuesday, the Onitsha Traditional Council pointed out that the “only involvement of His Majesty with President Obasanjo regarding the second River Niger Bridge was the very tail end of his second term as president during a low key flag-off of the project when His Majesty prayed that the succeeding administration would construct the bridge expeditiously.”

The statement, however, assured that “Onitsha people will continue to express their utmost gratitude to President Buhari and his government for successfully constructing the magnificent bridge.”

The statement noted that the Obi of Onitsha, by his position as traditional and natural ruler, should normally not engage publicly in high level discourse on affairs of state between two of our highly respected national leaders, such as President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

It said, however, that the palace deemed it absolutely necessary to ensure that public statements relating to our monarch are factually correct.

“Accordingly, the palace would like to state categorically that His Majesty was never involved in any sod turning ceremony for the second River Niger Bridge during the first tenure of President Obasanjo and, therefore, could not have engaged in any altercation with the then president as stated in the press release by Garba Shehu.”