The Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has called for considerable developmental gains for the oil producing Niger Delta region.
He said that a key objective of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is ensuring inclusive prosperity, which informed why the Federal Government is collaborating with state governments and increasing efforts towards ensuring the wholesome development of communities in the Niger Delta region and nationwide.
Osinbajo, who spoke during the weekend at the flag-off of the Angiama-Oporoma Bridge, on the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie Road in Bayelsa State, stated that Niger Delta Communities such as Oporoma, Angiama – where the Bridge is now being constructed, and others across the region, are home to vast amounts of mineral wealth and natural resources.
The Vice President said the communities deserve to have considerable developmental gains to show for it.
He noted that the Angiama-Oporoma Bridge construction is a symbol for development in the region, and will have a far-reaching impact on the lives of the people in the communities.
“By facilitating easier access to places like Yenogoa and beyond with this bridge, we will be laying a foundation for development that will deepen commerce and create individual and collective opportunities for the people of these communities,” he stated.
Osinbajo explained that the federal government is committed to the wholesome development of the Niger Delta region, through its Niger Delta New Vision initiative.
According to him, “As a matter of urgency, we are well on our way towards correcting historical lapses in this respect, through the collaborative efforts of the federal, state, and local governments, each one putting aside personal interests, and doing the best they can for the communities which have undeservedly suffered for so long.”
The Vice President also assured the people of the Federal Government’s full support and collaboration in every way possible.
“You have not been forgotten, and this milestone is only the beginning of greater things to come,” he said.
He added that under the Buhari administration’s New Vision initiative, the region has witnessed significant development strides and projects, such as the ongoing Ogoni cleanup in Rivers State; the take-off of the Nigeria Maritime University; establishment of modular refineries across states in the region; infrastructure projects, including the 34-km Bonny-Bodo Road and Bridge project, the Warri-Itakpe railway line, among others.
Osinbajo observed that for a country with the population and geographical span of Nigeria, guaranteeing inclusive prosperity is a mandate for Government.
He added that this is especially so with the rapid urbanization of the last two decades, the consequent pressure on cities, and the difficulties of allocating scarce resources, faced by governments at all levels, and across the country.
Highlighting the importance of such infrastructure projects to a nation’s development, the Vice President said, “We must always find the commitment, innovation, and persistence to put in place the quality and scale of infrastructure needed, to give our people the productive and competitive edge to better their lives, and we need to do it as fast as possible.”
Speaking about the importance of the Angiama-Oporoma Bridge and Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road to development across the state, Osinbajo observed that “there can be no inclusive prosperity without the effective linkages of communities and the effective facilitation of trade that roads like this provide.”
On how to ensure inclusive prosperity, the Vice President disclosed that “our ability to create an environment that allows each and every person, in each and every corner of the country, to get a fair chance at maximizing their potential, is one of the surest routes to sustainable economic development.”
He noted that the flag-off and completion of the project will unlock many commercial activities in Oporoma and neighbouring communities.
“The farmers and fishermen that will be connected to new markets as easier and more efficient logistics enable them to expand their operations, employ more people, and provide better opportunities for their families; not to mention the improvement of security through an access road that circumvents sea pirates, and allows traders go about their businesses safely,” the Vice President observed.