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Sunday, 13 January 2013

MY MESSAGE FOR THE NEW YEAR-2013-- GOV. DICKSON


Let me start by wishing all Bayelsans and indeed, all Nigerians across the country a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

As we celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another, we are always hopeful and prayerful that the new year will be better than the previous one.

The year 2012 was particularly very challenging for us as a state in many respects. Not only were we confronted with a devastating flood which had most of our communities submerged and rendered many of our people homeless; we also suffered the tragedy of an helicopter crash which claimed the lives of two prominent Nigerians and four others.

The death of Governor Patrick Yakowa and General Owoye Azazi along with four other patriotic Nigerians who died in the ill-fated crash is still fresh in our hearts. For most of us, we are still mourning their departure. Once again, let me seize this opportunity to commiserate with the families of the departed souls. Please be rest assured that our prayers are with you always.

As a government, we enter this New Year with a renewed zeal to rise up from the tragedies which has befallen us in 2012 to encourage ourselves in the Lord, especially with the knowledge that God has our best interest at heart always. That is the same message we bring to all those who have suffered one form of set back or the other in the year just gone by. We urge you to encourage yourselves in the Lord and move on with the assurance that God will add to your joy in this New Year.

While wishing all Bayelsans, a Happy New Year, it is pertinent to state that your government will keep faith with our commitment to deliver on every promise we have made to you. Our government is committed to infrastructural turn around of our dear state and this new year you will see us undertake the construction of more roads. That is why we have allocated over N152 billion to infrastructure alone in this year’s budget. Our commitment to deliver on Education with emphasis on computer literacy, science and technology will be further pursued vigorously this year. Not only will our
investment in education focus on the rebuilding of our comatose educational infrastructure, we will also invest massively in the training and re-training of our teachers
to adequately equip them to impart the right skills and knowledge in our children.

This much we will do because we have since realised that quality education has become an economic necessity, even as we take cognisance of of a
world largely driven by modern knowledge economy.

We are determined more than ever in this New Year to demonstrate our willingness as a government to work round the clock to sustain and consolidate on our restoration agenda.

In the last eleven months you have seen us evolve policies that are designed to make life more meaningful for our people. In this New Year we will sustain that momentum and by God's grace at the end of 2013, it will be clear to all that
our government meant business.

Let me once more on this occasion thank all the good people of our dear state for the support and solidarity shown to me and members of my team all through the year 2012. No doubt, we are seeing the emergence of a new Bayelsa and in this New Year so much more should be expected from your government.

As we celebrate the New Year, let us remember to pray for our state and the restoration government.

Let us pray for peace in Bayelsa State and Nigeria as a whole.

Let us pray that this state will not witness any more tragedies like the ones we experienced last year. Above all, let us spare a word of prayer for the first family of this nation – our dear President and his wife with members of his household.

Happy New Year once again to you all.

SPECIAL TRIBUTE PAID TO THE LATE GENERAL OWOYE ANDREW AZAZI ON THE OCCASION OF THE SERVICE OF SONGS HELD TODAY IN HIS HONOUR AT PEACE PARK, YENAGOA BY THE BAYELSA STATE GOVERNMENT

28th December, 2012.
Today, we gather here to honour a true hero of the Ijaw Nation. We are here to pay our deepest respect to a great leader and national icon. For us in Bayesla State, the tragic,
unfortunate and untimely death of General Andrew Owoye Azazi (CFRC) has created a huge vacuum that would be very difficult to fill. We have not only lost a kinsman, big brother, father, grandfather, friend and colleague; the Ijaw Nation has clearly lost one of its finest and very best! He was a patriot who gave his all!

That is why, as a government, we did not hesitate to declare him as a true hero of Ijaw land and one who is deserving of a heroic burial as his remains will be the first to be interred at the Heroes Park - an exclusive burial/final resting place
reserved only for all true legends and heroes of the State. The Heroes Park, where General Azazi will be buried is a fitting tribute to his person and bears eloquent testimonies to the proud legacies and ideals that he was known and
admired for. It will also serve as a constant reminder of his unblemished and outstanding record of service to the State and Nation.

To the wonderful family that he left behind, please be rest assured that our prayers will always be with you and you can count on our continued support and co- operation.

Truly, we have lost a visionary leader and statesman and there may be no greater tribute to General Azazi's illustrious military career than the fact that he was a first class military officer, who rose through the ranks as a professional soldier and duly earned his place in the history of the Nigerian Army as the only decorated four star general who truly earned his rank. Upon his retirement from the army, he was appointed the National Security Adviser to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a position which further endeared him to the public as a thorough-bred intelligence officer with an uncommon insight. Undoubtedly, he left an indelible mark of service in this regard with a remarkable performance.

His career in the military was, no doubt, a feat and clearly he will be remembered as one of the most distinguished and outstanding officers of the Nigerian Army. And as the accolades continue to pour in to celebrate his noble stewardship from different quarters, we are further assured that General Azazi was really extraordinary, combining an enviable leadership character with a legacy of service and patriotism.

My family and I send our profound thoughts and prayers to General Azazi's wife, Alero, his children and grand children, to all members of his immediate and extended families and his loved ones.
General Andrew Owoye Azazi, an officer and a worthy gentleman, has finished his race but certainly his good deeds will remain in our hearts until we meet to part no more.

May the Almighty God grant our dear general eternal repose. Amen.

PRESENTATION OF THE 2013 BUDGET ESTIMATE BY HIS EXCELLENCY, HON. HENRY SERIAKE DICKSON, GOVERNOR OF BAYELSA STATE AT THE STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY ON MONDAY 24TH OF DECEMBER, 2012



I want to express my appreciation to the dutiful way this Assembly has been performing the responsibilities assigned to it. I want to convey to you the deepest appreciation of your State government and indeed the good people of this State.

Mr. Speaker, considering the season, let me use this occasion to formally, wish you and all the members of this House of Assembly Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year that awaits all of us in Jesus name.

Mr. Speaker, today I’m here with your permission to present to you the 2013 Appropriation estimate from the Executive branch, which I believe will receive your usual kind and expeditious attention.

It is a great honour and privilege for me to come into this hallow chambers once again to present the 2013 budget estimation to you, the representatives of our good and peace loving people.

Mr. Speaker, during the presentation of a revised 2012 appropriation estimate to this assembly, I detailed the fundamental principles and philosophies as well as the strategy for the smooth take off of our restoration agenda.

Our first budget was specially designed to ensure that we laid a solid foundation for the programmes and aspiration of our restoration government.

Mr. Speaker, after about 9 months of serious restructuring, redesigning and re-organization of the entire government structure and philosophy in the state, we are glad to report to you that the state is now set for the full and aggressive implementation of all the programmes and projects of the restoration government in all sectors of our life beginning from 2013.

It is for this reason that I feel confident to come before you today with a budget of consolidation of Restoration. It is a budget that has been carefully crafted to ensure thorough and speedy implementation of the various programmes and policies we have advanced to be implemented to some degree in the course of the out-going year.

Let me take you through some of the guiding principles underlying our budget.

The first is the issue of transparency and fiscal disciple. Mr. Speaker and Honourable members of the House, in line with our promise, government has been giving the good people of the State, month by month transparency briefings, let me again, also thank you for the expeditious passage of the law that created the legal framework for this to be done.

This has increased Public trust of donor agencies as well as the interest and respect of development partners. This administration is determined to foster transparency and openness in the conduct of government business going forward.

We will take all necessary measures to forestall the possibilities of waste, inefficiency and corruption in the transaction of government business in this state at all levels.

We will ensure that all payments are made in the year 2013 based on value for money. All the measures developed to achieve cost reduction particularly in the area of Personnel and Overhead costs will be sustained next year. Budget discipline will be our watchword in the 2013 financial year and will ensure greater prudence and greater fiscal discipline.

The second issue, we are very much concerned about, is the need to reduce the recurrent expenditure and therefore the running cost of government.

Government has continued with the policies aimed at addressing the huge wage bill of the state that we inherited that was built over several years and we have come up with a policy by which, next year, we are going to reduce it through the unconcluded biometric exercise that was somehow started and suspended.

This, we believe will give us some positive results. We will work with our Permanent Secretaries, heads of various departments and agencies to clean up our nominal roll. We have also introduced daily attendance record to ensure that those who do not work are not paid salaries. We will continue to work with consultants to ensure that the processes of staff engagement, salary preparation, salary payment, monitoring of staff attendance at their places of work are computerized and this should be a basis for the preparation of nominal roll for payment of salaries.

The staff biometric database will upgrade for migration to the human resource platform to make all salary payments E-based. Right sizing the public service will be pursued will vigour and efforts will be put in motion to prevent payroll fraud by way of the bill that you have already passed and which we have already assented to.

We will continue to fish out all those wrongly employed in the public service and ensure their immediate disengagement at all levels both in the local governments and all other agencies that are subject to fraud. We will also make deliberate efforts in the reduction of overheads and recurrent expenditure to channel our scarce financial resources for infrastructural development and for deployment of other key sectors of our economy.

We will not stop these processes until we have made significant progress in ensuring that all ghost workers, persons who are experts in inflating salary figures are cleared from our state wage bill. Such people will be prosecuted in the provisions of the bill that this Assembly has dutifully passed which we have since signed into law.

The other issue Mr. Speaker, that is of interest and will be pursued with vigour next year is that of raising our IGR base. Our state is having one of the lowest internally generated revenue profiles. To address this, your government has put in place a number of policies to ensure that our IGR comes up.

An Internal Revenue Committee was set up which identified a number of untapped sources of revenue and the loopholes in the current system. Government has set up a new board, which I’m going to inaugurate this afternoon made up of men of experienced to handle our IGR progress.

We are also setting up a Tax IGR assessment and Review Committee to coordinate all our IGR generating MDAs and activities.
This, as a result of our seriousness will be led by the Deputy Governor of the
state. I have directed the Attorney-General and one other officer to review and
come up with a proposed bill to streamline all IGR processes and capture those
potential sources that we have not taken advantage of.

For the civil servants and political appointees, we have set up machinery to ensure that we all pay our correct taxes in accordance to the relevant tax laws of this country, with particular reference to the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA). In the same vein, we will ensure that all multinational companies and all taxable adults and other entities doing legitimate business in our state will be made to pay the correct taxes as and when due to further boost the IGR base of our state.

Bayelsans will be rest assured that we will be very transparent in the utilization of their tax money.to this end, I have directed that specific bank accounts be opened for IGR generation and the amount generated will be announced to you every month beginning from next month.

Let me also Mr. Speaker, with pleasure report to you that with the steps we have taken so far, in the out-going year, our IGR has gradually started to increase from less than 100 million naira, and I can report to you that the last report I have, show an IGR monthly of over 500 million naira.

On the performance of the out-going budget, the year 2012 was a year of strategic planning and programming for our administration. Consequently all the institutional and administrative structures needed for effective service delivery with particular focus on good governance, transparency and prudence have been successfully erected and clearly identified. Therefore, the good people of Bayelsa State, I can rightly express an aggressive, determined and a properly coordinated execution of our restoration programme in year 2013.

You will recall that the initial appropriation for the 2012 fiscal year was the sum of 238.157 billion naira.

Due to the devastating effects of the flood this year, government raised a
supplementary budget of 16 billion naira and this was passed, the sum of 1.5bn
was appropriated which government used to augment the various programmes that are connected to alleviating the plight of flood victims.

Of this amount, 98.719bn or 38.715% was earmarked in the entire budget for recurrent expenditure while the sum of 156.315bn or 61.29% was devoted for capital expenditure.

Mr. Speaker, permit me to use this opportunity to thank the people of Bayelsa State for their support and resilience in the trying period of the flood disaster which actually stalled our developmental efforts which you know also brought a lot of hardship.

In terms of revenue, which accrues to the state during the out-going year, actual receipts stand at 206.509bn or 80.98% of the budgeted sum as at the end of November 2012.

The breakdown is as follows:

Statutory Allocation was N25.283bn
13% Derivation actually received N84.397 bn
Excess crude and Budget augmentation N31.193 bn
Other receipts were N22.811 bn
IGR came to just N4.752 bn
Capital Receipts N21.975 bn. So we have a
total receipt of N206.509 bn, a short fall of more than N30 bn.

The breakdown of our expenditure was N156.868 bn as at the end of November for this year.
The breakdown is as follows:
Personnel cost N31.599 bn
Overhead cost N41.605 bn

Consolidated Revenue Fund charge N68.908 bn
Capital expenditure N44.75 bn
Making a total expenditure profile of
N186.868 bn

The 2013 budget proposals have been carefully put together using the 2013-2015 Medium Term Expenditure profile as its basic platform. Consequently, the 2013 budget comes with a total proposal of N285.930 bn comprising of N133.235 bn or 46.60% for recurrent expenditure and N152.695
bn or 53.40% for capital expenditure.

The sum total of our estimate is expected to be N38.028 bn. The projected revenue profile of our state for the year 2013 consists of the following:
1. Statutory Allocation-------------------N27.268bn
2. Excess Crude/Budget augmentation------------------------N45.500bn
3. VAT-----------------------------------------N9.955bn
4. 13% Derivation------------------------N160.706bn
5. Internally Generated Revenue------N4.473bn
6. Capital Receipts------------------------N38.028bn
Total --------------------------------------- N285.930bn

On the other hand, our expenditure profile
for the year under consideration is as follows:
1. Personnel Cost: -----------------N49.142bn
2.Overhead Cost ------------------N28.905bn
3.CRFC -----------------N55.188bn
4.Capital Expenditure ---------------- N152.695bn
Total -----------------N285.930bn

The 2013 Budget Estimates are for massive physical infrastructure, revolutionary investment in agriculture, tourism hospitality, security and education, which we have declared free.

Permit me now to outline the strategic policies and programmes of the 2013 Budget.

Works and Infrastructure:
Mr. Speaker, as I have said and demonstrated severally in the course of the past nine months, the key to unlocking the huge developmental potentials of the state remains in the massive provision of investment in physical infrastructure.

I’m aware of the concerns of some well meaning citizens of this country whether I’m not undertaking too much by way of the ambitious programmes, which we have unfolded. My answer to you is that it is better for us to dream big; it is better for us to stretch ourselves, resources and our imagination to ensure that we catch up with the rest of the whole world because we are completely behind.

I intend not to fail, there is no project that we have abandoned; there is no project that we inherited that we are not paying attention to and we will ensure that, within the tenure of our government all these programmes and policies would be funded. There is no project on going that does not receive money.

All projects that we have started, including the several that were on going, there is none that are stalled due to funding.

Accordingly, very high priority will be accorded to this critical subsector of our
Economy:

I have always said that our wealth beyond oil and gas, beyond investing in our human resources, lies in the ocean. We must conquer our difficult terrain to ensure that the roads to the 3 senatorial districts are completed and that we get to the Atlantic Ocean from the 3 main flanks. The Eastern flank through Nembe-Brass, the Central flank through Yenagoa-Oporoma-Ukubie and the Western flank through Sagbama-Ekeremor, because that is where our wealth really lies.

And until we achieve this we would not have created infrastructural greatness as a state. Accordingly, knowing that this ambitious programme of infrastructural turn around will not be achieved within the narrow confines of available government resources we are going to work to create an enabling environment and also come to this hallow chambers request that you consider working on the legal and Institutional framework to develop a reliable and a responsible concession policy and legal framework.

One of the top priority project that will be the immediate beneficiary of the concession policy include, Ekeremor Agge road, Nembe Brass road, completion of the Tower Hotel and the completion of Melford Okilo memorial Hospital.

These are gigantic projects and we have to be very creative to bring the private sector, which has the funds and technical knowledge to work with us to ensure that, they are brought to a respectable conclusion. Most of these projects have been on for too long.

Within the life span of our budget, we will see the completion of most of these projects. I am confident that, with the policies we have taken and within the first quarter of next year, some sections of the hospital will be put to use. Mr. Speaker, as you all are aware, there are some important jobs going on in the state.

All we are doing is to see that, we create the infrastructure within our state capital to make it a befitting one.

Let me use this occasion to salute once again, the resilience and understanding shown by commuters and road users in Bayelsa state for the traffic congestion that we have all been experiencing for some time. This should not take anyone by surprise because we made a promise that the whole of Yenagoa will be a massive construction yard.

We all have to be patient because we cannot prepare Omelet without breaking eggs. This is a period of sacrifice, let us show the necessary restraint and not complain over everything because good roads and good bridges do not spring up over night. While we have a clear idea of the way forward, so bear with us.

I want to talk about the dualisation of Isaac Boro road; road Safety road and several other dualisation of roads going-on and inform you that they will be completed within the 2013 budget.
Also with the proposed Igbogene bye pass by which we want to link it with a dual carriageway to the Bayelsa palm road.
The Airstrip, to be located on the Yenagoa – Amassoma – Egbedi axis is central to the state, and will be about 25 minutes from the city centre.

Let me use this opportunity to thank the Federal Government for partnering with us on this critical project. The term of the partnership are these: The Federal Government through its agency, NDDC and the ministry of aviation are to handle the sand filling as well as the construction of the terminal and the navigational, and we decided to undertake the most critical element of an airport which is the run-way. The Federal Government through NDDC has since awarded the contract for sand filling of the site.

The Federal Executive Council has also awarded contract for the construction of the terminal buildings. On our part, as a state government, we are responsible for acquisition and clearing of the land. Clearing of the site is going on and if not within the life span of the next budget, very early in 2014, we will have an airstrip or airport.

We are working with a world-class team and other specialists, and by next year contract for the project will be awarded as funds for that has already been set aside to begin the process of construction of the airstrip.

We have also started work on the additional secretariat annexes and will be delivered within the next quarter of next year. The Ecumenical project will also start in earnest in the course of the 2013 budget year; and so the sum of N38.8 billion naira has been earmarked for the works and infrastructure sub-sector.

On education,we have in the last nine months, even with the challenges of flooding, we have begun the construction of 400 primary school buildings and 400 hundred teachers’ quarters spread across the state at over N9 billion naira cost. This is an unprecedented investment in education particularly at that level of education.

Mobilization for the said project has already begun and contactors have gone to site in most of the projects and in 2013; we hope we will be able to complete phase one. We hope to also start phase two to take another set of communities because having a good quality learning environment is the basic right of every Bayelsan child.

In pursuance of our policy in secondary education, we have begun the building of model schools in every local government area with boarding facilities to accommodate 1000 students. Contract has been awarded and mobilization fee paid. In 2013, Government intends to conclude construction work on at least 28 constituency model secondary schools with boarding facilities at the cost of N200 million. Let me Mr. Speaker and Honourable members convey the gratitude of government for your willingness to work with us in addressing this issue of educational deficiency.

In the course of our interactions, you saw the need to channel your constituency projects for the year 2012 and next year, making a total of #200 million each member for the construction of these secondary schools in your respective constituencies. We have started the process of making awards and before the end of this year, award letters will be out.

On technical education, we intend to make quality investment in this area of school educational system. Within the next budget year, government will fund the technical schools at Aleibiri; in addition, schools will be established for gifted and talented children; these when completed, will be equipped with boarding facilities.

The training and retraining of teachers will be accorded high priority next year. We have established a teacher’s training Institute as a department of the Isaac Boro college of education. Contract has been awarded for the administrative and classroom blocks for the training of teachers.

We will commence the immediate review of our school curriculum aside science and technical education. In our effort to address the manpower deficiency, government has taken major steps to relocate the college of education with a student enrolment of close to 5000.

Government has re-established the Bayelsa State College of Arts and Science to produce not only middle level manpower, but also to provide a second chance to remedy their education deficiencies. The schools have kicked off and attendance is very encouraging.
In 2013, government is proposing to establish two new schools to identify manpower deficiencies, which are the school of tourism and catering to train middle level manpower for the hospitality industry which government has made substantial investment. We anticipate a boom in tourism in this state soon. The first Bayelsa carnival will come up next year.

The second school is that of Agriculture.
This will be set up to train middle level manpower because we are serious about
broadening the base of our economy to achieve maximum results. Both schools are expected to take off before the end of the first quarter.

On the state-owned Niger Delta University, we are not satisfied with the report of the visitation panel in spite of the capital investment made in that school so far. Accordingly, I have inaugurated governing council with a charge to turn it around and make it financially autonomous. Beyond subventions, government will encourage that University to be able to serve as a foremost Institute of learning.

Furthermore, scholarship programmes will be strengthened and to also work hard with stakeholders to ensure that we begin to pay bursaries and other grants to students of Bayelsa state origin in our various schools of higher learning. Mr. Speaker, the scholarship programme for post-primary school pupils of Bayelsa state origin and those in postgraduate studies are doing well.

Government will also next year begin to provide free teaching aids, free books and desk and then by January, we will begin the distribution of school uniforms to all the schools. All these are ready, but if not for the floods, we would have gone far. Accordingly, the sum of N28.4 billion naira has been proposed for the Education subsector next year.

Mr. Speaker, as you are quite aware, the health subsector forms an important component of our Restoration Agenda. This informed the development of the policy of providing every local government head quarters with functional hospitals. The execution of that laudable policy has reached an advanced stage. Also the 500-bed Melford Okilo memorial hospital will benefit from our concessioning policy so that we can immediately put the hospital into use. We will continue to sustain the present regime of quality investments in the college of Health Technology and the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital as well as the School of Nursing to ensure the accreditation of more of their programmes.
I am quite sure that by the time our investments in the Health subsector matures, Health care delivery would have been greatly enhanced in the state. We have reinvigorated the fight against the HIV and Aids scourge in the state with the establishment of the HIV and Aids Agency in the state. Accordingly, the sum of N7.7bn is hereby proposed for the Health Sector.

Energy: Mr. Speaker, after series of consultations in the energy subsector, we have come to the regrettable and painful conclusion that the challenges in this very important subsector have become more daunting due to the none availability of a properly articulated Energy road map in the state. Therefore, the task we have given ourselves for the 2013 fiscal year in the production of a power master plan for the entire state. I am quite sure that this will provide a good guide for our investment decisions in the Energy subsector. Accordingly, the sum of N6.2bn is earmarked for the Energy subsector.

Agriculture: It is true that agriculture provides a reliable basis for employment generation both in the short and long terms. Yet, the Agriculture subsector with its enormous potentials has for many years suffered serious neglect. Mr. Speaker, we intend to reverse this unacceptable situation in 2013. To this end, a school of Agriculture will be established next year to ensure that our teeming farmers are exposed to new technologies designed to enable them improve on their productivity. Government will as a deliberate policy of boosting food production, establish large farms at Ebedebiri, Angalabiri, Abobiri and Isampou. Also, government will embark on the extension services and ensure better and easier delivery of credit and other valuable inputs to farmers next year. The sum of N2.7bn is therefore being proposed for Agriculture in the year 2013.

Trade and Investment Industry:
The need to properly harness our potentials and advertise same to prospective investors necessitated the creation of this ministry. We intend to carry out an aggressive ‘foreign’ Direct Investment drive next year as, part of our multi-sectional approach to the creation of employment opportunities for our teeming youths. Also, we have established the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation [BDIC] as a special purpose vehicle to drive the process. Furthermore, the issue of building entrepreneurial capacity will be given a major boost next year. The sum of N2bn is hereby proposed for this sub-sector.

Water Resources:
The provision of portable and clean drinking water will continue to be accorded priority attention by this administration in 2013. Modern water treatment plants will be established in various locations in the state, while works on the various ongoing water projects will be completed in 2013. The sum of N3.4bn is being proposed for Water Resources.

Science Technology and Manpower Development:
Mr. Speaker, Science and Technology being the cornerstone of industrialization given will be given special recognition. This has been amply demonstrated with the creation of a special Ministry for it. The continuation of a state policy on information and computer technology shall be completed and this will be followed immediately with the construction of a science and technology centre of excellence and innovation as well as renovation/furnishing of 8 ICT centres in the LGAs. The sum of N3.5 bn has been proposed for science, Technology and manpower development.

Sports Development:
Mr. Speaker, the potentials of the state in
Sports are huge and this administration is determined to harness them properly
to ensure greater unity and create the much needed employment opportunities for our teeming youths in the state. Construction work on the Bayelsa State stadium complex will start in earnest. Also, all outstanding works at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex will be completed next year. We will ensure that our Sports Academy at Asuama commences full-scale activities next year. The funding of our football and other sporting outfits will also be sustained next year as they have done so much to boost our collective image as a people. The sum of N4.5 bn is allocated to the sports development sub sector.

Housing and Urban Development:
It is true that the housing deficit in the state is huge. Government will take pragmatic steps to address this problem next year. In this regard, the construction of low cost houses for our teeming masses will be accorded high priority. Also low cost housing schemes in the 8 LGA Head quarters will get underway in 2013. Additionally, the Housing and Property Development Authority will be encouraged to fulfill its mandate of providing affordable housing to the people of Bayelsa State. The sum of N3.2bn is being proposed to the housing sub-sector.

Budget:
Mr. Speaker, let me say unequivocally that the management of public expenditure in the state will strictly adhere to measures of efficacy, efficiency and effectiveness.
This administration is determined to foster transparency and openness in the governance of the state. We will take all necessary measures to forestall the possibilities of waste, inefficiency and corruption in the transaction of government business in the state. We will ensure that all payments to be made in the year 2013 are based on value for money. All the measures developed to achieve cost reduction; particularly in the area of personnel cost and overhead will be sustained next year. Budget discipline will be our watchword in the 2013 financial year, as we will ensure greater prudence and fiscal discipline in the handling of government transactions. We will also make deliberate efforts in the reduction of overhead and recurrent expenditure to channel our scarce resources for infrastructural development and to other key sectors of the economy.

Conclusion:
Our government stands fully committed to ensuring that the fruits of the Restoration Agenda are shared by all sectors of our society, especially those living in the rural areas. Therefore we must remain united, resolutely focused and unshakably committed to restoring the lost glory of our dear Bayelsa State. As a united force against poverty, indolence and corruption, we will start our journey slowly but we will certainly arrive at the Bayelsa State of our dreams and aspirations.

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to now present to you for the consideration and subsequently expeditious passage, the Draft Estimate for 2013 comprising;


1. Total
Revenue N285.930 billion
2. Total
Recurrent Expenditure N133.235 billion
3. Total
Capital Expenditure N152.695 billion

God Bless Bayelsa State.

SOKU/OLUASIRI OIL WELLS/ OIL FIELD: RIVERS STATE GOVERNMENT SHOULD STOP HEATING UP THE POLITY.

Government of Bayelsa State of Nigeria

Press Release

Ordinarily, having issued a press statement last Tuesday on the Oluasiri Oil Wells/Oil Field which clearly shows that the said oil wells/oil fields (which Rivers State refers to as Soku) belong to Bayelsa State, the Bayelsa State Government would have maintained a dignified silence in the face of provocation on the subject matter. But the Bayelsa State Government is compelled to issue this statement though with restraint, to respond to the press statement of the Rivers State Government published in many national newspapers in the country to save the Ijaws, Federal Government agencies and the entire country from the desperation and lies of the Rivers State Government.

For all intents and purposes, the said press statement of the Rivers State Government on the above issue was obviously intended to create crisis amongst the peace loving Ijaw people in Rivers and Bayelsa States and garner public sympathy for Rivers State.

The said statement, which was signed by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information, on the instruction of the Rivers State Governor amongst others, accused the presidency of mischief. This is not only disrespectful and insulting, it also smacks of insubordination and arrogance on the part of the leadership of the Rivers State Government. While this matter remains in the front burner of public discourse, it is advisable for the Rivers State Government to stop denigrating the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria because the office of the President is the highest institution in the land. Public Office holders must at all times protect the sanctity of public institutions and not to desecrate same the way the leadership of Rivers State did and is still doing.

The government of Bayelsa State therefore urges the Rivers State Governor and his appointees to refrain from making inciting and inflammatory remarks capable of triggering off inter communal crises among our people. It will be recalled that Bayelsa State Government has restrained the Nembe people from responding to the threats and drums of war by the Kalabari people as this could lead to great disaffection between the two communities.

We also urge our fellow Ijaw brothers and traditional rulers to refrain from being used by Governor Ameachi as tools to cause disunity between the people of Rivers and Bayelsa States over the derivation matter because derivation is purely a state matter and not a matter between communities.

The HARD FACTS about Oluasiri/Soku Oil Wells/Oil Field are as follows:

1. The Rivers State Government had previously filed two suits against the Bayelsa State Government at the Federal High Court and the Supreme Court respectively in other to assert its purported ownership over the said oil wells/ oil field and woefully failed as the said suits were all struck­-out by the courts.

2. Soku is a village in Rivers State while the oil wells/ oil field and the flow station are located in the Oluasiri Clan in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The name Soku oil wells/oil field was wrongly given by Shell Petroleum Development Company Ltd (SPDC) since Soku village was their operational base at that time. This is not peculiar to Soku. For example, the Idu oil wells/oil field is named after a town in Ekpeye land in Ahoada East LGA of Rivers state while the oil field is actually located in Biseni land of Bayelsa State. Similarly, the Omoku west oil field is in Biseni land of Bayelsa State but Omoku is a town in Rivers State.

3. The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) in its report on the Familiarization/Verification visit to oil producing states, volume 1, Main Report, August 2006 in Chapter 3, page 30 also acknowledged the above anormaly when it stated as follows:

“The Bayelsa/Imo/Abia State Governments complained that the naming of oil fields was often done arbitrarily without any regard to the culture and particular environment of the people where the wells or fields are located. This has given rise to wrong attribution by relevant agencies”.

4. Incidentally, Soku village in Rivers State is about 10 km, as the crow flies, from the flow station while the Oluasiri / Soku oil wells/ field is surrounded by various Oluasiri villages of Nembe LGA in Bayelsa State.

5. The Special Presidential Committee on verification of oil wells in volume one of its report on disputed oil wells of December 2000 (P; 25/26) after a painstaking field verification process and hearing from both states stated and recommended as follows:

‘‘4;5.6 Soku Oil Field

The team relied on the legal notice captioned “The Eastern Region Local Government Law, 1955 E.R. NO 26 of 1955. Instrument Establishing the Nembe District Council” tendered by Bayelsa State on Pages 40-41 of its submission. It should be noted that while the Kalabaris of Rivers State call the area Soku, the Nembe people of Bayelsa State call it Oluasiri which is one of the councils mentioned in paragraph 5 of the above mentioned instrument.


In the light of the above, it is recommended that the production from Soku Oil Field be attributed to Bayelsa State.’’

6. It is worthy of note that the Rivers State Government had in its white paper (1993) titled: RIVERS STATE GOVERNMENT REPORT OF THE JUDICIAL COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY INTO THE DISTURBANCES / CONFLICT BETWEEN AKUKU-TORU AND BRASS LGA OF RIVERS STATE UNDER THE CHAIRMANSHIP OF HON JUSTICE PETER B. AKERE rejected the use of River Santa Babara as the boundary between the Kalabari people of Rivers State and the Nembe people of Bayelsa State. The Rivers State Government in the said white paper specifically stated as follows:

‘‘The commission recommends that;
(i) Until that stage is reached, a temporary map which reflects the Rivers Santa Barbara as an administrative boundary should replace Exhibit SG 1.’’

Government:
(a)Rejects the recommendation of the commission in B (2) (i) above...”

The Rivers State Government can therefore no longer claim River Santa Babara as the boundary between the Nembe people of Bayelsa State and the Kalabari people of Rivers State and hence the boundary between the two States.

7. Following dispute between the Nembe and Kalabari peoples, J.G. Cousins Acting District Officer of Brass Division acknowledged River San Bartholomew as the boundary between the Nembe and Kalabari people when in His report dated November 1952 titled KALABARI/NEMBE FISHING DISPUTE stated in paragraph 4 as follows:

“…I note that Consul Hopkins fixed the boundary between Nembe and new Calabar (Kalabari). This is mentioned in the report of the commission into the Kula-Nembe boundary dispute presided over by Mr B.G. Smith acting District Officer in 1944, to which I am also referred by the Nembe Chiefs.”

The New Calabar people in the above quotation refers to the present Kalabari people of Rivers State.

8. The 11tth edition of the administrative map of Nigeria, further confirms the fact that River San Bartholomew is the boundary between Nembe of Bayelsa State and new Calabar (Kalabari) of Rivers State which has metamorphosed into the boundary between the two States.

9. For now there is no pending litigation over the Oluasiri oil wells/oil field between Rivers and Bayelsa States since the Supreme Court struck out the suit by the Rivers State Government challenging Bayelsa State’s ownership of Oluasiri oil wells/oilfield. The matter was heard under suit number SC/106/2009: Attorney General of Rivers State vs Attorney General of Bayelsa State and Anor.

10. Between, 1996 to 2006, the Rivers State Government wrongly collected several billions of naira from the federation account accruing from the Oluasiri oil wells/oil fields, which was wrongfully allocated, to it by the Federal Government.

It is pertinent to note that the 11th Edition of the Administrative Map of Nigeria has not been set aside by the National Boundary Commission or any Court of law. Furthermore since the creation of Bayelsa State it is the 11th edition of the administration map of Nigeria that defines the boundary between the two states. Therefore The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) was perfectly right in attributing and paying the revenue accruing from the said oil wells/ oil field to Bayelsa State.

We therefore urge all Nigerians to discountenance the frivolous and baseless allegations contained in the press release by the Rivers State Government as they are calculated to mislead the entire Country and instigate crises amongst the Ijaw brothers in Kalabari and Nembe communities.

Inspite of this provocation, the Bayelsa State Government will remain focused and determined to ensure a peaceful resolution of the issue.

Thank You.

God bless Bayelsa State
God bless the Ijaw Nation
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeira

SIGNED:

Deacon Markson Fefegha
Hon. Commissioner of Information and Orientation
Bayelsa State
Nigeria

MY BROADCAST MESSAGE TO COMMISERATE WITH BAYELSANS ON THE FLOOD SITUATION


Fellow Bayelsans, It is with a great sense of concern and deep empathy for our people who are displaced by the flood that I address you this morning to share and identify with you at a time like this.

Indeed, these are trying times for all our people. It is clear that no one is spared from this tragedy that has befallen us, even me, your Governor is not spared. But this is not a time to despair nor give up. We must not allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the crisis, no matter how challenging this situation may appear to be.

On our part as government, we are doing all that we can to rescue the situation. You will recall that very early in the life of this administration, I authorised technical studies and initiated measures aimed at opening up the drains and water courses in and around the state capital, to minimise the effect of the predicted heavy rains and floods this year. This has helped to mitigate the devastating effects occasioned by the perennial flooding in Yenagoa, especially considering that water levels have risen more than 10 metres above the usual flood levels. But as you all know, our communities, farm lands located along the major rivers and creeks have been heavily impacted, leading to a regrettable displacement of our communities.

I have overflown the state several times since the flooding incident started. I have seen first-hand the extent of damage and destruction caused by the flooding. I have seen our communities, large settlements and public institutions submerged. My first hand assessment enabled us to determine, that the best course of action was to order an immediate evacuation to relief camps.

Consequently, relief camps for internally displaced persons have been established in every Local Government Area of the state. Three main camps have been set up in Yenegao namely; Samson Siasia Sports Complex, the Helipad at Igbogene and BDGS. I have directed the Chairmen of the Local Government Areas, working with the State Emergency Response Management Committee to determine the necessity of more relief camps in each Local Government Area. Where a community can find high grounds around it, they are encouraged to set up relief camps there without moving too far. Such communities should liaise with the Committee to work out the logistics and modalities for doing so.

Our concern, as you would expect, is first the safety and security of your lives. As displaced persons, we are also concerned about how you can access food, drugs and other forms of medicare. To coordinate our efforts in what has become a massive rescue effort, I have since inaugurated the State Emergency Response Management Committee under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Governor.

Government has since made some relief materials available to displaced persons through the committee. I assure you that this high level committee which is working round the clock would bring some level of relief and succour to our people. Please endeavour to get in touch with them through the following emergency hotlines. The lines are 07023001002, 07023001003 and 07023001004.

Based on the outcome of my on the-spot-assessment of the communities ravaged by flood, the scale and the magnitude of destruction, the normal budget channels cannot cope with this crises. Accordingly, I wrote to the Speaker of the House to reconvene to take my communications on the 2012 Supplementary Appropriation and they have done so yesterday. I thank the Speaker and Members of the House for their prompt response and hope that in line with the imperatives of this emergency, they would act expeditiously.

There are three key areas I would like the people of the state to note.

1. They should exercise extra caution over their lives and properties and those of their children, particularly the vulnerable people, that is women, children, the aged and the physically challenged.
The security agencies who are also displaced have my sympathise and support as well. We urge them even at this difficult time to continue with the good work that they are doing in the state. I have convened a meeting today of the State Security Council to assess the effect of this disaster on our security infrastructure and also to fashion out a comprehensive security approach for this disaster.

2. The second issue is the preparation and management of communicable diseases during and after this disaster. As you all know, this flood disaster would leave in its wake a trail of various communicable diseases such as Cholera, Pneumonia, Guinea worm, Diarrhoea and increase our susceptibility to malaria amongst others.

A lot of enlightenment and preventive measures are needed. I have thus directed the Ministry of Health whose commissioner is Chairman of the sub-committee on Medical/Sanitation to devise appropriate measures to address these concerns.
I have been briefed that committees have been set up in every Local Government even up to the community levels. Emergency response teams have also been set up in every camp and Local Government Area and essential drugs and medical supplies have been provided.
Notwithstanding all the steps that government has taken and would continue to take in your service, be reminded that you all have primary responsibility for your health, security and safety. Do not forget that at times like this you should be ready to lend a helping hand to your fellow brothers and sisters.

3. Thirdly, reports at my disposals indicate a growing scarcity of food and other essential commodities arising from the over flooding of the East-West road, which is the major gate way into the state. This coupled with the destruction of farms has created acute food shortages at the moment. Consequently, food prices have now soared beyond the reach of the ordinary person. I have directed the establishment of three storage sites in Yenagoa under the control of Ministry of Agriculture.

It has become clear that after the flood, there would be famine in our land. To forestall this impending tragedy, government has developed a robust plan to boost food production and ensure food security in the state. This would entail direct government involvement in the production of essential food items like cassava, maize, cocoa yam, rice, plantain and livestock, as well as provide support for individual farmers in the state. To this end, plans are being made to procure early maturing and high yielding cassava stem cuttings and other inputs from local and international research institutes. Essentially, government’s involvement in agriculture would be extensive both now and in the future. We use this opportunity therefore to call on all farmers and fishermen in the state to brace up for the challenges posed by the flood and the opportunities that our policy presents.

To fine tune this policy, I convened an emergency meeting of the State Executive Council, where far reaching decisions were taken. At that meeting, we took a decision to order an immediate and indefinite closure of all schools. This is for the safety of our children. I also ordered that all educational facilities which are not flooded should be used as emergency relief camps.

We are also delighted that the Federal Government has amply demonstrated its concern for our plight and has accordingly, responded positively. Let me at this juncture therefore, seize this opportunity to convey the concerns and sympathies of Mr. President to all our people and to also acknowledge the support of the relevant Federal Government agencies in their effort to help ameliorate the crisis.

We sincerely thank Mr. President for this kind gesture and other federal agencies who have been very supportive. I would also like to thank other corporate friends as well as individuals of the state for their donations in cash and kind. I will like to use this opportunity to call on other philanthropic organizations, donor agencies and well- meaning Nigerians, Bayesians and friends of Bayelsa State to support our efforts.

It is regrettable that as a result of this flood, on-going construction and renovation work have been stalled.

Fellow Bayelsans, we empathise with you and ask you not to give up. I wish to assure you that throughout this trying period your government would stand by you. We urge you to be patient with government officials who have been assigned to assist you. I wish to particularly urge the youths to conduct themselves in a peaceful and orderly manner. I also call on religious, traditional and opinion leaders to live up to their responsibilities. We are a resilient people, known for overcoming challenges of this nature. Let me assure you that we will surely overcome this one too. Available reports indicate that there will be further rise in water levels. We therefore have to brace up, as the worst may not be over. Remember to always commit your leaders, Bayelsa State and the nation to God in your prayers.

I thank you all and God bless.

Long Live Bayelsa State!
Long Live the Ijaw Nation!!
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!

MY BROADCAST MESSAGE TO COMMEMORATE THE 16TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE CREATION OF BAYELSA STATE.


BAYELSA IS RISING AGAIN

My good people of Bayelsa State, It is with pride and great joy that I address you on a day like this to felicitate with you all on the occasion of our 16th anniversary as a State, following its creation on the 1st of October, 1996.

I would like to commence this broadcast by commending you on our shared vision and commitment to a new Bayelsa and also thank you for your support, solidarity and prayers our administration has enjoyed since assumption of office in the last six months.

It is also proper to remember on a day like this the founding fathers of our state and all our leaders past and present for their years of sacrifice, commitment and valuable service and contributions to the peace and progress of the Ijaw nation.

Today marks exactly 16 years since we began this journey of statehood. As a product of the Ijaw struggle, I understand the impact of the decision made by the late Gen Sani Abacha in creating Bayelsa against all odds.

General Abacha was one leader who loved Nigeria and the Ijaw nation and had the courage to do what was right by giving the Ijaws a homogenous State that today we all can proudly and truly call our own which I refer to as the Jerusalem of all Ijaw people

Irrespective of whatever opinion people may hold (which is their legitimate right), General Abacha by virtue of the creation of the homogenous state of the Ijaw nation, has earned a place in the heart of the Ijaw people for which we are eternally grateful.

In appreciation of the significant steps General Abacha took for our development, I have on your behalf invited the family to be part of this celebration, no matter how low key it is.

The Bayelsa State Government would therefore use this occasion to further immortalize the memory of the late General Abacha and show to his family, friends and all Nigerians at large that we do not forget our friends.

It is also a way to demonstrate a peculiar trait, common among the Ijaw people that we always value loyalty and reward friendship. To this end, government will lay the foundation stone for a 150-duplex housing estate named after General Abacha. Similarly, Government in partnership with the Ijaw National Congress
has named the main auditorium of the INC building after him. In addition, Government will invite the family to plant a memorial tree in his honour at the Heroes Garden, which I have just established.

By this singular gesture, let the family be assured that our thoughts and prayers have been and will always be with them and that they can always call Bayelsa their home too.

In the same vein, we recognize and are indebted to worthy Nigerian leaders like President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late President Umaru Yar'Adua and others whose actions have impacted positively on us.

Government will honour them in due course.

Special mention must be made of our leader, Chief DSP Alamaeyesigha, the first civilian governor of the state whose commitment to the Ijaw struggle and development of
Bayelsa State will also be honoured by naming a hall in the INC building after him. Incidentally, the INC building was started by Chief DSP Alamaeyiesigha but was abandoned by the immediate past administration , which we have now completed and fully furnished.

Bayelsa State, no doubt, is still relatively young and the journey of statehood arguably tough and mixed, but there is great hope that the future is very bright. This is the good news!

It is this conviction that has propelled our vision as a government and with your support we shall march ahead to properly connect with our future greatness as we desire it. We have made spirited efforts to redefine governance as a tool for development, raising hopes of even greater possibilities.

As you all can attest to this to fact.

In the last six months, you have witnessed a paradigm shift in governance, accelerated infrastructural development and revolutionary investments in human capacity building. You have also witnessed the return of peace and tranquility in our
state which is essential to any development. We pledge to continue with our current rate of development and projections in our plans and programmes and to demonstrate the reality that the foundation of our future greatness must be laid today, not later. We are indeed making progress and Bayelsa is beginning to rise again.

Good people of our great state, this occasion marking the 16th anniversary of our dear state, ordinarily should have called for celebrations and jubilations, but we took the decision as a government to have a low key event. It is only proper that we align ourselves with the mood of the nation.

At this juncture, I would like to sympathize with all the communities ravaged by flood in the state. As you will recall, our government took early steps to address the issue of blocked drainages in Yenagoa metropolis. That has significantly prevented a disaster in our state capital despite the down pour and flood.

However, the same cannot be said of communities outside of the state capital, where rising water level has displaced people from their homes, farmlands and businesses. I want to seize this opportunity to empathize with them. In the course of the week, I will personally undertake an on-the-spot assessment of all the affected communities ravaged by flood. Already, as you are aware,
government has directed that relief materials be made available to the affected persons and communities. More support will come your way, once the committee that government will soon inaugurate swings into action and make its findings available to government.


My good people, I also want to urge all of us to be steadfast in our prayers for our President, his wife, family and the Federal Government of Nigeria. Let us continue to uphold them in our prayers. Having said that, let me at this point take a moment to commend and salute Mr. President for his commitment, sacrifice
and selfless service to this great nation. In the face of daunting challenges, Mr. President has continued to lead as a distinguished patriot and nationalist, ensuring that prosperity and security return to our nation, and that Nigeria, like Bayelsa is rising again!

As I conclude this broadcast, let me once again, seize this occasion to assure all Bayelsans of our government's commitment and resolve to birth a new Bayelsa of our dream. A new Bayelsa where everyone will have a true sense of pride and be made to feel the impact of government. We are building a new Bayelsa firmly
rooted and anchored on the cardinal principles of transparency, accountability and service delivery as evident in our conduct of government's business these past six months.

As we undertake the onerous task of providing purposeful leadership for our dear state in accordance with the mandate you gave to us, I want to assure you again that this government under my watch will not compromise on our leadership principles and ethics. We shall not play politics with our development and
Bayelsa will not be the same again after my tenure.

Let me restate that we will use the resources of this state to fund critical projects such as the construction of good roads, education, health facilities, promote tourism, generate wealth and develop agriculture, rather than use it to fund the corruption and greed of a few.

I will like to use the opportunity of this address to thank and urge all religious, political, traditional and opinion leaders, to rise above personal interest and galvanize our people to support the various programmes of government.

My dear people , now that you have a government that has a clear vision, understanding of your opportunities, potentials, challenges and solutions to the various sectors of governance, all that is required of you, is your continued support and prayers.

Let me also urge all Bayelsans not to be misled by the antics of desperate politicians and power seekers bent on distracting our development. We will not be distracted and Bayelsa will be the better for it.

I therefore urge you all to shun politics of character assassination, blackmail and rumour mongering. Let us join hands to liberate ourselves from all forms of negativity capable of halting our progress and development and to continue the good work of supporting the security agencies in our bid to make Bayelsa safe,
secure and prosperous. Bayelsa is rising again and I thank you all.

God bless you.

Happy 16th Anniversary

Long Live BAYELSA State!
Long Live the Ijaw nation!!
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!

MY EXTEMPORAL ON THE OCCASION OF THE OFFICIAL SWEARING-IN OF PERMANENT SECRETARIES, AT THE BANQUET HALL, GOVERNMENT HOUSE, YENAGOA ON FRIDAY 20TH JULY, 2012


I wish to congratulate our new Permanent Secretaries that have just taken their oath of office and oath of allegiance. Let me on behalf of a grateful state, a state that you have all toiled and served, a state that you have sacrificed to build, congratulate you on this well deserved honour.

Let me say that your appointment as Permanent Secretaries signals your arrival at the apex of the public service of our dear state and therefore you are now at the top of your chosen profession, therefore I say congratulations and I wish you all the best in the years and in the journey ahead.

About two weeks ago, I swore-in Chairman and members of the Bayelsa State Civil Service Commission and on that occasion, I said over and over again, our resolve to restore the public service to its pride of place and glory once again.
I did say on that occasion, that we are going to motivate, train and continue to train our public service, to reposition it as one of the foremost civil service in the country. I also indicated at the occasion that we were going to begin the construction of the Public Service Training Institute to enable us train and re-train the public service to meet the needs of the service in the state.

But at that occasion, as you may recall, I also stated that we were going to re-invigorate our determination which we started since coming into office to check the excesses, which as you all know, clearly abound in the public service.

As you know, we have been pursuing a verification programme of our workers and let me use this occasion once again to thank you all the public servants of this state for your understanding and cooperation and solidarity. The verification exercise is an ongoing process.

Let me use this occasion to say that we have taken all these strategic steps to reposition the public service of this state. The workers verification programme has yielded some results, very wonderful results. We have achieved some significant reduction in our wage bill, that is still not yet good enough and we are going to re-invigorate it further.
I want to thank the State House of Assembly because I know that they are giving the expeditious hearing to the bill that we have sent to them to further criminalise payroll and other fraudulent activities in the public service.

About the ceremony that we are here to witness, let me say that we followed due process in making this appointment in exercise of my constitutional powers and as all of you, Permanent Secretaries just sworn-in will attest, not one of you lobbied any of us in government. None of you knew you were going to be made Permanent Secretaries until the decision was taken and announcement made.

For most of you, I am seeing you for the first time. We took the decision to appoint Permanent Secretaries to fill existing vacancies in that very high cadre of leadership. We consulted the appropriate quarters in our government and gave a clear directive for the names of the most senior public officers from every Local Government Area to be made available and that is what we acted on.

But because we know that we must sometimes take deliberate measures to project and protect the women folk in our society who have played a very critical role in our development as a state and as a society, I also directed the Head of Service to, in addition to the general seniority list, send me the list of the most senior women in the public service, local government by local government and that is why we have this considerable number of women who are also part of the number who have been appointed. And that is an ongoing thing because in this government we believe that we must give a pride of place and sometimes go a step further to project and protect our women. And when we talk about women, the need to encourage and project them, this sometimes looks like a distant concept. But ladies and gentlemen and fellow Bayelsans, the women we are talking about in reality, are our daughters, sisters, wives, mothers and they deserve to be projected and protected in our service to our people.

And so the permanent secretaries who just subscribed to their oath of office, you have renewed your oath of allegiance to this great state and all persons. And from available information that I have been briefed, you all are persons of proven integrity, sound character whose dedication and service of the cause of our state through out your careers in the public service have earned you this enviable positions.

Let me therefore, turn to the newly sworn-in permanent secretaries of this great state and that on behalf of your grateful state, I like to thank you all and all other permanent secretaries, senior public officers of this great state for your continuing and abiding dedication, service and solidarity to the worthy cause of our people.

Let me assure you that as long as you do what is right and proper in the service of our people, this government like every other government will stand with you and by you at all times.

APPOINTMENT OF A NON-INDIGENE AS PERMANENT SECRETARY
But let me also take another issue, which you all are familiar with. But before then I will talk about what informed the appointment of the medical doctor who is here with us today, Dr Samayain. As some of you may know, a lot of people raised issues about his appointment on the ground that he is not biologically from Bayelsa State and I, in furtherance of the openness and open mindedness which we brought to this government and in furtherance of the ideals of the unification of the Ijaw nation which informed our appointment of a commissioner for the first time in this state who is not from Bayelsa State geographically. I also took that decision and I believe that subsequent governments will see the need to make appointments on the basis of merit. Dr Samayain’s appointment showcases the need for us to rally round our people in the Ijaw nation. I do not see why a man who has spent his entire working career serving and taking care of the sick in this state should be stopped from attaining the topmost rank in the public service that he rightly deserves.

Now my dear fellow Bayelsans, these are the underlying principles upon which our restoration agenda is based and we intend to continue.

We are here to rally round our people not just the people of Bayelsa State but to rally round our people wherever they may reside and in making decisions about selecting people for recognition and appointment, we are not going to discriminate. We will only be guided by decisions that will be taken in the interest of our people. That is what we have done and I like all others who are in the public service of our state irrespective of sentiments to feel free to aspire to the highest position. I assure you that you can only be limited by your own self. There are no limitations, if you put in your best, we will recognize and reward as well as encourage you. And that is what we have done in this case.

APPOINTMENT OF THE FIRST LADY AS PERMANENT SECRETARY

In the exercise of my constitutional powers, we are all aware that there has been some talk about appointment of our dear mother who is here with us. I believe it has become clear to everybody especially to people who are from Bayelsa State that not only is she a civil servant, not only has she been a civil servant in this state, she has been for a long time on a directorate level and apart from that she merits this appointment with all the parameters we set out.
As I have explained before now, the constitution gives me as Governor, powers to make appointments and I have exercised that power. By so doing, I have not done anything wrong or illegal.

I have talked about the need for our state to harness all available resources, human and material wherever those resources are, wherever those resources may be and that is why I have taken this decision in our best collective interest so that we can forge ahead and restore this great state to its lost glory, pride and honour in the shortest possible time.
I have talked about the imperative to project and promote the cause of the womenfolk and you all understand that and have seen it through the actions we have taken today.
Let me once again, state that it is important that wives of Governors, Vice Presidents, Presidents and all other spouses whose positions are not recognized by the laws of the Country and are not funded by the Government should be encouraged and supported to pursue and maintain their independent careers. Happily, there are several instances in this country where wives of presidents, governors, national assembly members etc have gained recognition and have been rewarded in their chosen careers.

CHARGE TO THE NEWLY SWORN-IN PERMANENT SECRETARIES

Let me say that my charge to the Permanent Secretaries is to be loyal and work hard as you have always done. In the case of our dear mummy in whom we are well pleased, let me use this occasion to acknowledge your contributions to the development of this great state and your service to Nigeria. We believe that your service to this state as wife of a Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President and President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria who is now a sitting President, these are no mean feats.

And in doing all of this, not only have you been serving this state, you been serving humanity and Nigeria at large and we want to use this occasion to underscore our appreciation for what you will continue to do by giving support to our leader and elder brother, Mr. President.

Before I end this speech, I have told you what we expect from you as Permanent Secretaries. Let me now say what we don’t expect. What we don’t expect from you all is your involvement in partisan politics. This state cannot afford further divisions. Our government is bent on stopping division between levels of authority. We are interested in building synergy between this state and all other structures. And within this state, we want to provide an umbrella that will galvanise and unify all our people for our united cause for development, security and prosperity. And so my charge to you, is to continue to do your best as you have been doing, but let me say that we do not want to hear that any Permanent Secretary or any highly placed officer in the public service of this state is unnecessarily partisan or is involved in actions that are capable of polarising our people. So on behalf of the government and good people of Bayelsa State, I like to congratulate you all.

Thank you and God bless you all.

MY ADDRESS AT THE 2012 DEMOCRACY DAY CELEBRATION HELD AT THE SPORTS COMPLEX IN YENAGOA


On a day like this, I like to begin by congratulating you all as we celebrate the 13th anniversary of our democracy. Today marks a renewal of our abiding faith in our country and in our democracy. Our hard-won democracy is as a result of your resilience and by the grace of God, it is now 13 years old, the longest in this country’s history.

For us in Bayelsa, the day means so much because, among other things, one of our own, a son of this state, a great leader, is the President of this country. I like to congratulate you all, I like to congratulate Bayelsans, the Ijaw Nation
and the entire people of Nigeria for this great honour you have done to us by supporting and electing our President, who we know and believe, will strive to continue to do a good job as he is presently doing.

On a day like this, I will like to call on you all to work on your resolve to serve, protect and entrench our democracy, and you can do this by offering prayers and by supporting all elected leaders at all levels of government.

Deriving from the fore-going, it is important for us as Bayelsans and Nigerians to support our resolve to build a strong, united and prosperous Federal Republic
of Nigeria. Now, more than any time before, there is need for us to emphasise on the things that bind us together as a nation, and not those things that the capacity to separate us.

It is on the basis of our unity and cohesion that our democracy and development can be assured, and thereafter the fruits of democracy will get to every one.
But beyond unity and cohesion, there is need for us in Bayelsa to have a change of values, we need to examine our attitudes. It is important to us all to eschew the vices of corruption and cultism, to embrace transparency and focus
on the positive things that will enable us to be great citizens of this country, and be proud members of the great Bayelsa and Ijaw family.

I am not campaigning for election so I don’t want to bore you with long speeches. We have said enough. The mandate you have given to me is to now act. I have studied the problems and we have devised our own strategies. In the last three months, a lot of ground work, a lot of solid foundation has been laid for your irreversible development and progress. So, from now on, it will be restoration, restoration, restoration.

I like to thank you all for your understanding, patience, solidarity, support and prayers, because without these, all our well-intended programmes will not be fruitful, will not be successful and will not be implemented.

I however like to enjoin you to even show more understanding as we now move into the critical phase of the restoration agenda, which is the beginning of actual
restoration.

We have said a lot about the restoration of values. In all my public speeches, we have tried to sell the message of zero tolerance to crime, cultism and violence. And I like to use this opportunity to thank you all, the good and wonderful people of Bayelsa, and especially our youths, for heeding our call to be law-abiding and peaceful, even when we disagree.

I like to also thank all traditional rulers, opinion and political leaders, for helping in their various ways to bring about this state of normalcy. Let me also specially thank our men and women in uniform for their hard-work, dedication and commitment in the protection of our democracy, and especially to the military men and women working in Bayelsa, for standing by the government in the enthronement of peace and security. I congratulate you all and I also congratulate all Bayelsans.

You all know that Bayelsa is the most peaceful state in Nigeria and we are working hard to keep it so. Just three months into our government, Yenagoa is the most peaceful
capital in the country, and we will like to work hard, in conjunction with the security men and women, who are doing a wonderful job, at the risk of their lives and limbs, to protect our fundamental freedom and to protect lives and
property. All of us should continue to work continuously with the security agencies, and even in our homes and communities to work for peace.

In a few days from now, we shall be launching “Operation Doo Akpo”. This is what will replace the regime of terror that we all knew about. I don’t want to talk much about that. So, very soon we shall assemble to launch the beginning of our effort to maintain, sustain, build upon and consolidate on the prevailing security, peace and stability. Without that, all the efforts we are making will come to nothing.

We have been talking to a lot of people both in the country and outside, and I want to report to you that there is a great deal of interest. A lot of people want to come into the state to partner with us and invest in the state in the areas of tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and other areas where we can build and develop skills, so we can create jobs and wealth for our people. We will not be able to achieve this lofty goal we have set for ourselves if we do not work together to maintain the peace that we presently have.

Bayelsa is being re-positioned within the country and outside, as the foremost tourism and investment destination, and we will not rest until we succeed in that. If
we do not broaden our economic base, everything we are doing will not be sustainable. So, join me in this great walk to freedom, sustainable peace and development.

On a day like this, it is important for me to highlight a few of the things you will be seeing and hearing from us. Between this week and next, the process of awarding various development contracts will begin. Already, all the major
contractors, Julius Berger, Gitto and Setraco, are back to the state, to join us in the development of the state.

We shall be broadening some roads and dualising several others, so that we can turn our state capital into the most beautiful state capital in the country.
Between this week and next, you will be hearing about the award of contracts for the construction of befitting General Hospitals in all the local government headquarters, and the process has already started. You will also be hearing
about the commencement of the construction of model secondary schools in all the local government headquarters, and these will have boarding facilities.

We hope that contractors will be part of this partnership. We will work assiduously to ensure that these projects and several other jobs are completed within scheduled time so that the restoration benefits can be seen.

When I came in, one of the first policy statements I made, apart from the issue of peace and security, is the declaration of a state of emergency in the educational sector. And I followed up by declaring free and compulsory education in this state. The greatest resource we have is the human being. And let me thank the lady, who I hear, organised the training of these young people, the Kingdom Steppers, who put up this brilliant performance. That is what human capacity development is all about. I have directed that lady be brought to me so that she can be enabled to do more in this state. Let me thank the children who performed, and indeed all the children of Bayelsa, who, in spite of the harsh weather, were prepared to serve the state and their
fatherland.

Talking about human capacity building therefore, it is our desire, and a policy, and for this purpose, we have set
aside the sum of one billion Naira for the youths of the state who desire to further their education in any higher institution of their choice in this country or abroad and this is for this year alone. All the youths of the state are
hereby encouraged to take advantage of this.

The right thing to do is to increase your capacity to compete with your peers in this country to represent us effectively in various fields of human endeavour and bring out the best in you. It is only then that you can be said to be completely free. And we will not rest until every Bayelsa child, every Bayelsa young man, young woman and every citizen of the Ijaw Nation has the capacity to be his or herself. This government will also not rest until we achieve that.

Opinion leaders, political leaders in all arms of government should begin the process of scouting for the best hands among our youths that can be supported to be the
best that they can be. In the course of the week, I will set up the Scholarship Board to begin this process. We want to send you to the best institutions in the country and outside, so that when you come back, you will be better equipped to compete for places.

As a result of our resolve to maintain and consolidate on the peace that we have, we will propose to the State House of Assembly, in no distant time, a Bill that will prohibit political violence in this state. And let me use this opportunity
to call on all politicians, political leaders and political actors to learn to play by the rules of the game at all times.

I have fought a lot of political battles without violence. We have been involved in a lot of political endeavours without raising a finger at anybody, and the peace we are currently enjoying will not be sustainable unless we stop political actors from recruiting our vulnerable youths and arming them with various devises of violence to bring about chaos, and harm to their fellow citizens. I will not sit back to watch that and to complement the anti-cultism Bill, we will send the Bill prohibiting political violence to the House of
Assembly. Those who want to exercise their political rights and freedom are free to do so but they will not, under the guise of exercising their political liberty, be allowed to endanger our collective peace.

You are also aware of the transparency regime we have instituted and which we will sustain all the way. Already, a Bill has been passed and signed into Law to entrench this transparency. This Bill is not necessarily for this government
but we passed it because we want to create an institution and enthrone a culture of transparency. I want to call on all local government chairmen to comply with the provisions of this Law by rendering regular monthly returns to the people they govern. Any chairman found wanting on this, will not have it easy with this administration. I use this opportunity to call on all councillors to ensure that the provisions of the Law are respected by all council chairmen.

Let me, at this point, call on you all to continue to pray for our nation, our President and dear brother and leader. He is trying his best but we are all aware of the challenges. God, who made all these possible will see him through.

Very soon, all the Ijaw leaders and the youths will assemble here to discuss the way forward and I will not like to pre-empt the outcome of that meeting.

On an occasion like this, I like to pay tribute to our hard-working civil servants, who are doing so very well but they are also aware of a few things that are not very right. I have directed verification on all departments and that process will continue until we get it right. With this verification and
co-operation from the civil servants, we have been able to reduce our monthly wage bill by about N400 million already. But that is not good enough, we will continue until we are able to clean the pay roll system and ensure that only
people who have been placed on that pay roll are there, so that we can create room and space for fresh recruitment instead of allowing few ghost names to siphon our commonwealth.

That process will continue but because of the inconvenience occasioned by the exercise, I have directed that with effect from June, all salaries will be paid on or before 25th. All those involved with the various nefarious activities will continue to be investigated. Once the security agencies
are able to establish a prima facea case against anybody such persons, will face prosecution. We have no apologies for that.

We are now able to pay salaries because of the savings we have been making from the verification exercise. This government will not falter on transparency. We are here to serve you and not ourselves. Learn to call your leaders, who are actually your servants, to account. If we learn to do that, then it will be the biggest dividend of democracy.

I like to thank you all for attending. God bless Bayelsa State.
God bless the Ijaw Nation. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Thank you and God bless you all.

MY SPEECH ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2012 WORKERS’ DAY CELEBRATIONS IN YENAGOA.

01 MAY, 2012.
My dear workers of Bayelsa State, on the 14th of February this year, I assumed office as THE N0. 1 WORKER of our dear State. The people of Bayelsa State voted massively to put us here to serve them and it is one mandate we do not take lightly.

Let me therefore once more through you as workers thank all the good people of our dear state for the support and solidarity shown to me, before, during and after my election and now as Governor.

Similarly, I want to thank you the hardworking, committed and very dedicated workers of this state for the wonderfull support and co-operation we have received from you since our assumption into office.

You will recall in my inaugural address, I promised a paradigm shift in the governance culture of our state. And you all have been witnesses to some of the actions we have taken thus far as a government to Re-organise the governance structure in the state as well as to strengthen the capacity of the public service to be able to deliver on
our restoration agenda.

As you are well aware, there is very little we can do to bring about the much talked about restoration that we promise our people without the co-operation of you the workers.

The workers of this state, particular the civil servants are the
engine room of this government. You are the ones that hold the key to the successful implementation of the restoration agenda because you are the ones that are directly saddled with the responsibility of implementing the policies of government. And as your governor and also the No. 1 Worker of the state, I want to personally appeal to you
to continue to co-operate with us just as you have clearly done since our assumption into office, to continue to support our effort and policies, so that together we can collectively salvage our dear state.

As you are well aware, one of the problems my administration inherited on assumption of duty a little over two months ago, is the problem of over-bloated salary bill. The monthly salary bill of the State increased from N1.7billion in 2010 to N3.5billion in 2011 and to
N5.4billion in February 2012 when this administration began. With a salary bill of N5.4billion a month, Bayelsa State was second to only Lagos in wage bill across the length and breadth of Nigeria.

Our preliminary investigations indicate that the reported high wage bill is due not to commensurate high level of employees but to sharp practices perpetrated over the years by an apparent cartel of public
servants who continue to milk the state dry of needed development fund. The sharp practices include the addition of non-salary items in the monthly salary bill; inclusion of ghost workers; falsification of salary grade levels; inclusion of retired and dead workers in the payroll; public servants earning salaries in more than one government ministry, department, or agency; etc.

In order to address this chronic problem, my administration embarked on a number of measures notable among which are the following: Conduct of supervised payment of selected MDAs in the months of February and March, 2012. In one of such MDAs, we were able to reduce the monthly wage bill by about N170 million for February and N130
million in March, 2012.
• Beginning from April, 2012, government has directed that MDAs should be directly responsible for the preparation of their respective nominal roll and payment vouchers, as well as the payment of monthly salaries to their staff.
• A staff verification and audit committee has been set up to review and clean-up nominal rolls submitted by the respective MDAs in the State. At the end of the staff audit and verification exercise, the information obtained would be matched with the biometric data that had been captured earlier to come up with an updated employee data base.
• A similar committee has also been set up to undertake the same exercise in the 34 development areas (G34) with a view to sanitising the system at that level.
• In addition, I have established whistleblower hotlines where you can report suspicious matters and conduct of any person in government as well as general security matters in the state.

The numbers are 08160000072, 08160000074 and 08160000079

Also e-mail lines will be established very soon for submission of such complains. In our subsequent messages to you we will inform you of the details of the operations of this novel idea.

My dear workers of Bayelsa State, government is not unmindful of the temporary hardships that legitimate staff of the State Government had to bear in the last two months. Ironically, even when salary releases are signed in a timely manner, actual receipts of salary by workers in
the State appear to be delayed. In a number of instances, some workers get paid almost one or two months after their counterparts in some ministries, departments, or agencies of government. This situation which is unacceptable is due largely to bureaucratic hiccups in the public service, as well as banks and banking related problems. For example, I signed the release of April salaries for workers in the
State last week before travelling for the South-South Economic Summit at Asaba. I hope that the Commissioner of Finance has concluded arrangements to ensure that you get paid before the end of the week.

We appreciate your understanding and the sacrifices you have made thus far despite the obvious inconveniences associated with the staff verification exercise and supervised salary payment. We should appreciate that this sacrifice is necessary ,though temporary ,in order to ensure that those who milk our State dry and make development of infrastructure impossible do not succeed in their nefarious plans.

We are determined, as an administration, to go after them; and together, we shall win this war of chronic corruption in the State civil service. As we do this, we wish to assure legitimate and law abiding public servants of our unalloyed resolve to ensure that salaries are paid promptly; and that staff are properly disciplined and motivated for greater productivity.

To this end, we wish to assure workers in the public service of Bayelsa State that this administration shall ensure that all
legitimate demands relating to payment of arrears of personnel emoluments; provision of office and residential accommodation; payment of gratuities and pension; as well as training and staff development; to mention but few ,shall be pursued with renewed vigor.
Already, provisions have been made in the 2012 budget for the construction of three secretariat annexes to alleviate office accommodation while construction work on the Civil Service Training Institute will commence in the course of the year.

My dear workers of Bayelsa State, it is no longer news that we inherited an empty treasury. Whereas we inherited an asset base of about N7billion, our liabilities are over N200billion. However, it is no longer time to cry over spilled milk. We must brace up and face the enormous challenges before us as a people, head on. This is not the time for politicking and political posturing to the disadvantage of
the development of the state. This is the time to build our State and restore its past glory. All hands therefore must be on deck. With your support and those of all Bayelsans at home and abroad, we will get there.

Your partnership and sacrifice is most sought after at this crucial time, perhaps more than any other time in the history of our dear state. I want to assure you that your government will do anything and everything to ensure that your welfare is adequately taken care of. We will consult with your leaders in the labour union to see how best we can partner with them to address all issues pertaining to your welfare.

We thank you for your co-operation especially in our quest to deal with the issue of ghost workers in the system and also the huge wage bill that we have had to grapple with.

In conclusion, let me once again thank you all for your support and co-operation. Going forward, I am confident that the future is bright for the workforce in Bayelsa State. The steps we are about to take with your co-operation will unleash a new beginning for our dear state. We will stimulate the State economy and increase employment
opportunities for our people.

I thank you most sincerely for your kind attention and may God bless our land and the people of Bayelsa State.