The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, said on Saturday that guaranteeing inclusive prosperity in the governance of a country like Nigeria with its geographical spread and a huge population is a major headache of the government.
According to him, this had been made even more challenging by the growing urbanisation and the difficulties of allocating scarce resources for development in the last 20 years.
Osinbajo spoke at Angiama in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State while flagging off the 670metre-long Angiama-Oporoma Bridge of the Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie road project in Bayelsa Central Senatorial District.
The bridge is among 10 bridges on the 36-kilometre road which is a Federal Government project conceived over 50 years ago, but construction had been undertaken by successive administrations in the state, including that of the incumbent Governor Douye Diri.
The vice president said, “One of the key challenges of governance today, more than ever, is ensuring inclusive prosperity.
“Our ability to create an environment that enables each and every person in each and every corner of the country to get a fair chance of maximising their potential is one of the surest routes to sustainable economic development.
“But for a country with the population and geographical span of Nigeria, guaranteeing inclusive prosperity is a major challenge, indeed. And this is made all the more so by the growing urbanisation in the last two decades, the consequent pressure on sittings, and the difficulties of allocating scare resources that are faced by governments at all levels across the country.
“But we must find the commitment, innovation and the persistence to put in place the quality and scale of infrastructure that is needed to give our people the productive and competitive edge that they need to better their lives, and to do it as fast as possible.”
He said the intention of the road project, which he described as “extremely important infrastructure”, had been clear from the outset but it was slowed down by several factors including, militancy, floods and gaps in political will to the detriment of the people.
Osinbajo pointed out that the road project was a partnership between the federal and state government for the benefit of the people of the state and the Niger Delta region.
He said, “This (road) is a partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria, and President Muhammadu Buhari, in his open-mindedness, has done what previous administrations have not done. And that is refunding what had been spent by the state on this road. That is true spirit of partnership.”
He said the completion of the road would make positive impact on the lives of the people of the communities with the attendant increase in commercial and agricultural activities as well as improvement in security and reduction in crime.
He commended the avowed commitment of the Diri-led administration to improve the infrastructural base of the state.
Osinbajo said the sheer breadth of the road project and the thoroughness of the execution had clearly demonstrated the governor’s unfolding vision and also given confidence that the state would in future be elevated to a world-class status.
While lauding the partnership, the vice president noted that the road project had reached a critical stage and he was hopeful that with one more determined push the construction would be completed.
In his remarks, Governor Diri thanked Osinbajo for accepting the responsibility to flag off the Angiama-Oporoma bridge.
He said he was glad that the flag-off took place during the second anniversary celebration of his administration, stressing that Southern Ijaw is the largest local government area in the country and endowed with huge deposits of oil and gas resources.