Coastal Highway Project Not Priority, Obi Replies Presidency, Umahi, Explains demolition As Governor

Coastal Highway Project Not Priority, Obi Replies Presidency, Umahi, Explains demolition As Governor

3rd May 2024, NewsOrient

The Labour Party Presidential Candidate in the 2023 General Election, Peter Obi, has reacted to incitement allegation from the Federal Government of Nigeria over his position that the trillions of Naira Coastal Highway Project is not a priority in today’s Nigeria.

Obi who insisted that his position on it remains, said that allegation that he was inciting the people is divisive actions to distract from the main issue he raised that such a project now will lead to loss of jobs and will increase hunger and spread poverty in a land troubled already.

He also said that priority should be put on internal roads first to move the economy.

According to a statement signed by Dr Yunusa Tanko, the POMR Spokesman, the former Anambra State Governor also took time to react to the demolition which took place during his tenure and said the circumstances were different and wondered why they were not addressing the issue of poverty that is spreading like wildfire.

Below are Obi’s responses to the FG’s attack on him.

“It has come to my attention, and I strongly denounce the distortion of facts surrounding my actions and statements during my tenure as governor of Anambra State, particularly concerning the ongoing demolitions for the construction of the Lagos-Calabar coastal super highway. I aim to address these issues directly, devoid of political rhetoric, to ensure clarity for all.

“Let me be unequivocal: during my governorship, I made it abundantly clear that all structures obstructing existing roads and lacking approval would be removed. The circulated video clearly stated this, and I only initiated removal when construction had already commenced.

Any insinuation otherwise is a blatant misrepresentation of the truth. I challenge anyone to verify and show me where the demolished structures on existing roads or ongoing businesses were not encroaching on the road and built without government approval while I served as governor.

“To provide further clarity, consider concrete examples. I decisively demolished the Onitsha North local government headquarters situated on the only existing stadium, relocated, and built a brand new structure for the local government office away from the stadium.

This action was necessary to restore the stadium to its original purpose as a sporting facility for the people. Subsequently, the stadium was rightfully named after the first owner of the first football club figure in Nigerian sports, Chuba Ikpeazu, as a tribute to our commitment to honoring our heroes.

“Similarly, the Onitsha South Stadium, the sole local playing ground for the community, was converted into a local government office. Recognizing the importance of recreational spaces, I reverted it to its original status by demolishing and relocating the local government office. I then renovated the stadium and renamed it after the longest-serving Green Eagles captain, Godwin Achebe.

“My actions were strategic, aiming to prioritize the repair and maintenance of existing infrastructure over projects that risked disruption and destruction. This approach aimed to safeguard the livelihoods of Nigerians and ensure the efficient use of resources.

“It’s crucial to clarify the false comparisons drawn between my actions on Brewery Road and the current coastal super highway project. I never proposed creating a new road that would disrupt existing structures. Instead, I focused on removing obstructions on existing roads to enhance accessibility and safety for all.

“The ongoing destruction and disruption of jobs and livelihoods associated with the Lagos-Calabar coastal road construction sharply contrasts with my administration’s efforts to improve infrastructure while minimizing adverse impacts on communities.

“Regarding allegations of incitement against the government, I firmly reject these unfounded accusations aimed at tarnishing my character. My focus is on fostering constructive dialogue and inclusivity, rather than engaging in divisive politics. Claims of incitement are baseless distractions. I advocate for unity and advancement, refusing to partake in reactionary politics. My commitment to serving with integrity remains steadfast, and I encourage all Nigerians to unite for a prosperous future.

“In conclusion, I stand by my record as governor and reject any attempts to distort the narrative for political gain. My commitment remains unwavering: to advocate for the rights and well-being of all Nigerians, ensuring that development initiatives prioritize the needs of the people. – PO

~ NewsOrient