Former President Goodluck Jonathan today commissioned a yet to be finished flyover in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, all in an effort to bolster the political fortunes of Governor Seriake Dickson who is in a tough battle for reelection.
An engineer in the state told a correspondent of SaharaReporters that the bridge “has major defects, including visible cracks at its joints.” The flyover is being constructed by construction giant Julius Berger. None of the construction company’s officials were present at the official commissioning.
Governor Dickson has touted the flyover as first of its kind in Bayelsa State, but opposition politicians in the state and several residents have criticized the bridge as a conduit pipe to siphon off millions of naira. One critic said the “the flyover has no economic value to the state.”
One resident of Yenagoa described the bridge as a “monkey bridge,” a term used for a makeshift bridge constructed in riverine communities during flood seasons.
Former President Jonathan lauded the project, declaring that it would boost the landscape of his home state, Bayelsa. However, a Yenagoa-based engineer alleged that officials of Governor Dickson’s administration discouraged the former president when he expressed an interest in walking across part of the flyover bridge. “They did not want him to see the major cracks in the bridge. That’s why Governor Dickson prevented him when he opted to walk on the flyover,” said the engineer, a state employee.
He added that he believed the former president would not have agreed to be part of the bogus commissioning of an uncompleted and defective bridge if he had known about the state of the bridge. The engineer also stated the absence of Julius Berger officials was telling, as the construction company was not eager to be part of a ruse that a bridge still under construction was ready for commissioning.