Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike last Saturday commissioned the Rebisi flyover bridge in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Capital. The contract for the construction of the project, the Governor said, was awarded to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc on 8th Octoberer, 2019. The contract was later signed on 18th day of October and the project works were flagged off for operational execution on 24th October 2019 with a 16 months schedule for completion, delivery and commissioning for the use of the public. A clearly satisfied Governor Wike declared: “Today, Julius Berger which the whole country knows for its high quality, impeccable construction works and lasting engineering standards, has completed and delivered this infrastructural masterpiece for the beneficial use of our people, and Julius Berger has achieved this success a whole four months before the project’s scheduled date of delivery. I can therefore say Julius Berger is topclass and matchless in project delivery. If we have more funds, we will very well give more projects to this seriously performing company”.
The satisfied Governor further added the Rebisi flyover project was one of five such flyover bridges initiated by his administration simultaneously and with Julius Berger, a contractor of no mean repute. “I am so happy today, I made a promise to my people. And today, I have fulfilled that promise. So many people doubted and said it was not going to be possible. When you make a promise, you fulfil that promise.
Governor Wike, placing a well-founded empirical reliance on Julius Berger’s very proactive commitment and performance of contracts, confidently stated that: ”…by December, Okoro Nobo (former Rumuokoro) flyover would be commissioned, while in February 2021, the Rumuagbari (former Artillery) and Rumuola flyovers would be commissioned and GRA flyover would also be commissioned by March/April 2021”.
The Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike at the event declared his unrelenting commitment to continue his implementation of people-oriented projects, promising the construction of a sixth flyover along the Aba Expressway in Port Harcourt. For the sixth bridge, and to a roaring appreciative applause of the people in attendance at the Rebisi flyover commissioning ceremony, the Governor assured that “Julius Berger is carrying out the appropriate soil tests already, a logical precedence leading to the flag off of the works”.
The Honourable Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), was the Special Guest of honour who inaugurated the Rebisi Dual Carriage Flyover Bridge, which has a 969. 4 metres’ length and a width of 17.6 metres.
Fashola commended Governor Wike for what he observed and described as a “massive urban regeneration and renewal programme of the Rivers Governor”. The Minister, who toured the entire length of the bridge with Wike, said “such development efforts would promote peace, tourism and return Port Harcourt to its Garden City status”. Fashola noted that the country’s development must transcend the limitations of politics, and said: “…Ministers have President Buhari’s mandate to support the developmental initiative and aspiration of every state in the country”. The Minister added that “It was the reason the Federal Government took a decision to refund money spent on federal roads by states; the first tranche of refund being about N577bn, while the second tranche, for which, Rivers State was a beneficiary, being N148bn”.Continuing, Fashola said: “It was his (President Buhari’s) initiative that it was only fair and just to refund to states monies they had spent on federal roads. And it was done across party lines without discrimination. I want to say that in all the 36 states I have visited in my capacity as minister that federal government is not in competition with any state. Our responsibility and our mandate before Mr. President is to support the developmental initiatives and aspirations of every state. Our elections happen only once in four years. But, our developmental challenges happen every day. And, so, we have no choice who to serve. We serve the people of Nigeria.”
Giving his remarks at the event in Port Harcourt, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, the brilliant, energetic and ever competent and inspiring engineering and management professional, Engr. (Dr.) Lars Richter said: “Your Excellency, the Governor, Sir, I assured you that Julius Berger would meet our contractual commitments, and today I am happy that by the grace of God, we delivered the project four months before due date”. It would be recalled that, as the then Project Manager in charge of the massively technically challenging rehabilitation works for the strategic Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, Engr. (Dr.) Lars Richter who is presently the Managing Director of the engineering contruction icon, had also worked day and night and delivered the important Abuja airport works ahead of scheduled delivery date. Richter thanked the Governor whom he described as “more than a Project Manager” for the Rebisi Bridge works in view of his regular inspection visits to the site which further served as motivational tonic for the company to work assiduously to accomplish the project. Richter, on behalf of the Board of Directors, the Executive Management and the entire staff of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc expressed the gratitude of the company to the Governor for his show of trust and confidence in Julius Berger’s capabilities.
Asked later by media correspondents on the secret of the company’s operational success for over fifty years of being active in Nigeria, Engr. (Dr.) Lars Richter, the Managing Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc said: “It is the only way we plan and know how to work. As an engineering corporation, it is our operational policy not only to get the job done as contracted, but we prioritise exceeding our clients’ expectations, always. The more and better we work, the more satisfaction, employment and happiness we generate and guarantee for our shareholders, employees and communities as well as for our highly valued clients as the case may be. That policy has become our successful work culture for over fifty years of consistent and progressively excellent delivery of infrastructures in Nigeria. We simply cannot change a winning corporate policy; neither, indeed, do we intend to”. Richter, with warm camaraderie and brilliant folksy understanding of cultural application of local knowledge, added: “There is an African proverb, my dear friends, which says the Leopard cannot change its body spots in old age. Like an aging wine, also, Julius Berger will continue to proactively work for increasingly better results with each succeeding project we contract for. This shall remain our productive operational legacy as the nation’s developmental trajectory beautifully unfolds into an assured future. God bless us and God bless Nigeria.”
Other members of the Julius Berger delegation who accompanied the Managing Director to the ceremony in Port Harcourt included the Regional Manager, South-East/South operational region, Juergen Fischer, Management Staff Chief Sam Ngbor, the Flyovers Project Manager Mr Finn Drosdowski, Rimon Marisho, Isah Tijani, Dennis Faeth; and the Group Head of the Media Relations Office of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Prince Moses Duku.
The ceremony was also heavily attended by dignitaries from all walks of life, including revered traditional, community and religious leaders, beautifully atired women and vibrant and energetic youth organizations, as well as cultural troupes from all across the State.