Radio commentators have expressed deep concern over comment attributed to Akwa Ibom Governor that COVID-19 pandemic caused delay in the timely completion of Ikot Oku Ikono Flyover in Uyo Local Government Area of the state.
The commentators in Planet Radio 101.1 FM, Uyo have on Thursday berated Governor Udom Emmanuel over the comment that COVID-19 had a hand in the speedy completion of the project.
Straightnews gathered that the project was awarded in 2019 to Julius Berger, a company that had handled and completed similar projects before 2015.
While expecting the project on Wednesday, January 27, Emmanuel was quoted as saying ”What I’m seeing is completely different from the complaints I’m hearing. Look at the length of the road, the size, the quality, I don’t know how people expect this to be completed overnight, looking at what happened last year in terms of COVID-19.
”So, many construction companies had to close down for a long period of time. Right now, seeing the extent of work done, if Julius Berger commits to finishing in May, I’m so sure they will finish in April because they always give themselves a buffer.’’
Though most of the comments came from Planet FM Whatsapp, one person commented
”Why is the governor using COVID-19 as an excuse in the completing the project.’’
Another queried, ‘’Didn’t the governor collect monthly allocations during the COVID-19 era? Why the excuse? Why is Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike commissioning projects every week?’’
”Last time the Governor blamed juju mbiam for responsible for the stunted coconut tree in Mpkat Enin. Today, the Governor is blaming COVID-19 for causing the delay. I do not know the excuse of other projects like Aka-Atan Ring Road in Uyo,’’ a commentator observed.
”When was the project awarded? Has the Governor released sufficient funds to the contractor handling the project? I hope the governor would not use this excuse in failing to complete other projects in the state,’’ another commentator inquired.
However, Emmanuel at the project site, had expressed satisfaction with the pace and quality of work on the ongoing Ikot Oku Ikono flyover.
He said the level of work at the site has beaten the insinuations by critics suggesting abandonment, despite constraints posed by the COVID-19 lockdown on project execution in 2020.
The Governor vowed for the quality of the job and said that the bridge, when completed with all its adjourning structures, will be the longest in the state, calling on the people of the state to appreciate the concept, quality and sincerity of purpose brought to bear in the project.
While commending the progress and quality of work on the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road, Governor Emmanuel expressed confidence in the capability of contracting firm to deliver the projects in record time and quality.
Speaking for the contracting firm, the Regional Manager of Julius Berger PLC, Mr. Juergen Fischer, affirmed that the company and the state government were in good working relationship in terms of contract agreements.
Fischer assured that the flyover bridge would be completed in May 2021, while all adjourning structures, including roundabouts, access roads and service lanes will be completed in August.