Former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan expressed concern about what he described as “negative energy” ahead of the 2023 general election.
Speaking at the commissioning of the 1.15-kilometre Afi-Uko Nteghe Uda bridge on Etebi-Enwang Road in the Mbo local government area of Akwa Ibom state on Monday, Jonathan said he has observed the level of bitterness in campaigns, saying that politics is not about fighting, insulting or abusing your opponent.
Urging politicians to commercialize their ideas during campaigns, the former president said that the politics of bitterness does not bring development to any nation.
He said: “I am a little worried about the negative energy generated ahead of the 2023 election. We have noted a level of bitterness in our politics that it does not create development and I plead with politicians that marketing is about commercializing their ideas. Politics is not about fighting, it is not about insulting, it is not about abusing.
“We have been reading in the newspapers and on social media how posters for presidential candidates, gubernatorial candidates are being torn down and I think by thugs, but sometimes they say some governments even support that kind of thing.
“If you are part of the team that does that, you should know that you are among the unfortunate scoundrels, wolves, viruses or pathogens that are really breaking down our democracy. Please stop doing that; but in all this I think that the security services have a lot to do with it”.
He further said: “I think anyone who commits a crime should not be covered by the policy. Arson is arson and is never subject to statutes so for someone who commits a crime, burns down houses, kills people, a record has to be kept and every time the investigation is completed those people have to be prosecuted ; that’s the only way people would stop doing this.
“But if people commit crimes and walk away, then of course other people will be encouraged to do the same. So the security services in Nigeria have a lot to do, they should not forgive any criminal.”
Jonathan, who described the bridge as one of the longest in West Africa, praised Governor Udom Emmanuel for his development achievements, saying his administration means well for the Akwa Ibom people.
Also speaking, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State said he has satisfied his conscience with his achievements across the state, adding that despite the criticism and falsehoods being spread against his rule, he has tried not to be distracted.
Emmanuel praised the community for supporting the construction of the project and said the project confirms his promise to open up the waterfront areas.
He said: “I said in my second term that we are going to open up the waterfront areas. In Nigeria today, I think we are very few in terms of governors who can have 31 local government areas and development touching 31 local government areas simultaneously.
“This is the only place where a sub-national signs a signature in the sky, on the ground, in the water. Today, if I had obtained the support of the Federal Government, we would have gone far in this area. This is where the industrial center of the future is located. [of] Nigeria is lying.
Describing the bridge, the Commissioner of Works, Professor Eno Ibanga, said that the 1.15 km bridge sits on 412 piles with a minimum depth of 30 meters each, segmented into 52 sections of 22.5 meters, which they sit on 408 precast beams.
For his part, the CEO of AMITEC Construction Company, Aiman Saimua, said that the company was awarded the project four years ago, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused a delay in the project which was completed two weeks late. .