The Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) has $2billion in Assets Under Management. FGN share assets in the fund are $1.5b as at September 2017. However the Vice president says $2billion has been invested in the Second Niger Bridge (2NB).
How is this possible?
The SWF assets are already invested, there is no $$cash lying about…So why would the Vice President say $2b spent on the Second Niger Bridge?…see his quote below..
“I am being reminded that just two days ago, the Sovereign Wealth Fund paid $2bn for that same project. So we will definitely see our second Niger Bridge. We will not make promises we cannot keep.”
The answer is where he said it. The VP spoke during a campaign event for the APC candidate in the Anambra Gubernatorial election in Onitsha Anambra State. To the South East, the Second Nigeria Bridge is more than a bridge, just as the Enugu international Airport is more than an international airport. The VP made this $2b claim to win South East votes, he must as the number Two man in Nigeria know the assets under management by the SWF. $2b is not a rounding error…but a deliberate error.
Osibanjo is not the first to use the Second Niger Bridge to campaign for South East votes…President Olusegun Obasanjo’s on May 24, 2007, with five days to the end of his second term, announced the flag-off of construction on second River Niger Bridge..(remember Obasanjo wanted a third term but i digress). Goodluck Ebele Johnathan (GEJ) in 2012 in Onitsha said he will “go on exile if he did not build the 2NB”. as far as can tell, GEJ is still in Nigeria.
The 2NB contract was awarded to Julius Berger Plc at the cost of N117b reviewed to N108b. The project is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme. with Julius Berger and the NSIA as partners. The project, which is divided into three phases, will bypass Onitsha and Asaba to connect the Owerri-Onitsha Expressway at Nkwerre-Ezunaka, and then cross Atani to the Asaba-Benin Expressway at Okpanam. Under GEJ, Julius Berger commenced construction on the site with a link road to the bridge, as well as the laying of the ground pillars for the bridge.
Muhammadu Buhari’s administration gave orders for the stoppage of work at the site. The Director General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, ICRC, Malam Aminu Diko announced the stoppage. So counter to the Vice President claims, the APC government was the first to actually stop work on the 2NB, other government promised and failed to deliver.
What about appropriations to the 2NB?
To date, the FGN has committed N18.31billion to the 2NB, Out of this, N10.4 billion has been disbursed leaving a balance of N7.94 billion.The NSIA has spent the sum of $2.21 million on consultancy and another $247,586 on due diligence to determine project viability.
$2m is not $2b..but like i have alluded it was deliberate or has the VP Office issued a clarification? This false $2b claim will travel across the nation, and be restated and retweeted as official truth, it is in fact from the Vice President, it will be sold to the South East voters again as proof that this government understands their issues.
This is why the people no longer thrust of believe their government today, if a Vice President can so blatantly and flippantly misinform for votes, why should people not believe the false reports the Army is spreading infections via immunizations. what institutions are sacred?
The Government of Muhammad Buhari is caught up in a messiah complex and allows untruths to be spread about it, i recall how people argued that “body language” repaired refineries, these falsehood win short term applause but destroy the reputation and political capital of the Government long term.
A Government that is feared and not believed by its own people is not a Government but a political cartel…