=== (AGENDAWATCHDOG) === The collapse of the multi-million Naira Ozuma bridge in Kogi Central Senatorial District of Kogi State, a week after its completion, has been making tidal waves on both the social and traditional media platforms since news of the sad incident broke via a report by Sahara Reporters.
Consequent to the collapse of the bridge located in Okengwe, Okene, plethora of reactions have been elicited from both the ruling party in the state, the All Progressive Congress, APC, and the main opposition party in the state, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, alongside the general public over the embarrassing incident.
While the opposition PDP blamed the collapse of the bridge on the substandard materials used by the contractor in executing the project, despite the millions of Naira that was voted for It, which it described as a waste of resources that would have been put to better use, the Kogi State Government on its part dismissed the PDP’s allegations as untrue, stressing that the bridge collapsed due to the over-zealousness of the company’s truck driver who violated the curing period of the project, adding that all required standards were adhered to in the construction of the bridge.
However, political rhetoric notwithstanding, the fact remains that a project executed with taxpayer’s money is lying in ruins and posing a danger to the people it is meant to serve. The need to immediately fix this critical public asset should be uppermost in the minds of all the stakeholders in Kogi Central Senatorial District – members of the incumbent political administration as well as opposition elements – rather than politicizing by engaging in an unnecessary and distractive blame game that will benefit no one in the long run.
Agenda Watchdog frowns at the unfortunate development in Kogi Central, using this medium to implore the state government to immediately put the necessary machinery in motion to ascertain the remote and immediate causes of the bridge collapse with a view to setting in motion the processes for its reconstructing to ensure that the project does not end up as another wasteful scheme, or conduit pipe.
In this wise, the company that won the contract for the construction of the bridge should be made to explain why a project completed just a week ago could collapse the way it did, while efforts must be made to ensure that future capital intensive projects in the state are executed in line with laid down construction standards.
Towards achieving the above stated objective, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), two principal regulatory bodies that are supposed to ensure that standard guidelines are adhered to in the design and construction of buildings and basic infrastructures in the country, should also be involved in the investigation of the real cause(s) of the bridge collapse in kogi with a view to preventing a re-occurrence of such disasters in the future. Contractors should be made to comply with laid down standards henceforth, for if a bridge could collapse within a week of construction, what would happen with heavier projects such as high-rise buildings, flyovers et.al?
In all, the Kogi State Government and other critical stakeholders should ensure that the Contractor to whom the failed bridge project was awarded to, reconstructs the bridge, having been fully mobilized for the job.