Pages

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

GOV DICKSON VISITS OKRIKA, REAFFIRMS BAYELSA’S FULL PARTICIPATION IN LATE CHARITY OBA’S FUNERAL

29/10/2013
Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, Today visited Ambemebiri, Okrika, hometown of Late Mrs. Charity Francis Oba, mother of Dame (Dr.) Patience Jonathan, First Lady, Federal Republic of Nigeria, in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State.

During the visit, the Bayelsa State Chief Executive met and had consultations with the Wife of the President as well as assess the level of preparedness for the Funeral, slated for Thursday and Friday, this week.

As a critical stakeholder and in demonstration of the In-law status of Bayelsa State, Hon. Dickson expressed satisfaction with the preparations and re-assured the bereaved family of the resolve of the Government and people of the State to support them all the way in ensuring the success of the entire funeral programme.

According to him, he will lead a high powered delegation of present and past Governors and Deputy Governors, past and present members of the National Assembly from all the Ijaw speaking areas of the Country, Speakers and members of State Houses of Assembly, Members of State Executive Councils, Chairmen of Local Government Councils, Top Government functionaries, First Class Traditional rulers and opinion leaders to participate fully in funeral activities of LateMrs. Charity Oba (aka Mama Sisi).

Daniel Iworiso-Markson

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State

Thursday, 24 October 2013

DICKSON LISTS GAINS OF BILATERAL AGREEMENT WITH LINCOLN UNIVERSITY


24/10/2013
Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson arrived Yenagoa on Wednesday after his inauguration as member of the International Advisory Board of Lincoln University, United States of America.

Hon. Dickson was received by notable Bayelsans led by the State Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, various interest groups including members of the National Union of Bayelsa State Students at the Gateway town of Igbogene and Government House gate, Yenagoa.

Commenting on the bilateral agreement between the State and the management of the Lincoln University, the Governor said the first batch of beneficiaries of the scholarship scheme would be selected through an open and competitive process.

In consonance with his transparency initiative, the Governor said the President and officers of the University would visit the State to concretize the agreement.

He explained that the scholarship programme is aimed at building the human capacity of the State, and, therefore, urged Bayelsans to avail themselves of the opportunity, adding that a similar programme would be established between the State Government and a foremost University in the United Kingdom.

“I will also be in the United Kingdom to do the same with another prominent university where we would flood the institution with our students after a thorough selection process to make them champions in various fields of human endeavor”

Governor Dickson used the occasion to urge Bayelsans to guide against the antics of propagandists whose stock in trade is to peddle rumours with the aim to destabilize the present administration.

He assured the people of the State of his administration’s commitment to aggressive sustainable development.

“Take your destiny in your hands; work with us as you are all doing, so, that we can make our State and the Ijaw Nation a better place. Now your State is respected in the comity of States in this nation and outside the country. And, so this is not the time for our people to fall into the trap of despondency that detractors of this State always propound.

“There were people we know who had an opportunity to make a difference, but who could not and instead of joining hands with all of us to make our State safe and prosperous, they have resorted to blackmail and propaganda to create unnecessary tension. But we know that as long as we are doing what is right, as long as we are serving in all honesty, God almighty being with us and with the support we are seeing, the State will continue to move from glory to glory.     

Earlier, the national President of NUBSS, Comrade Agbada Stephen Agbada congratulated the Governor on his successful inauguration as a member of the Lincoln University International Advisory Board, pointing out that the agreement would open new vista of opportunities for Bayelsans to further their education.

While, thanking the Governor for clearing the backlog of fees owed by Bayelsans in the Law School, Comrade Agbada appealed to the Governor to assist law students in subsidizing their school fees and payment of bursary allowances. 

Daniel Iworiso-Markson

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State

Saturday, 19 October 2013

DEDICATION AND COOPERATION OF ALL ARMS OF GOVT AND STAKEHOLDERS, KEY TO OUR ACHIEVEMENTS ….GOV DICKSON

DEDICATION AND COOPERATION OF ALL ARMS OF GOVT AND STAKEHOLDERS, KEY TO OUR ACHIEVEMENTS ….GOV DICKSON
 
Bayelsa State Governor Hon. Seriake Dickson has attributed the achievements of his administration so far to the dedication and cooperation of all arms of Government and other stakeholders in the State.
 
He made the remark at a cocktail party organized by the State Government in honour of the Speaker and members of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly at the Banquet hall, Government House in Yenagoa.
 
According to Governor Dickson, the event was an innovation of Government in the new Bayelsa to foster a unity of purpose among all arms of Government to enhance service delivery to the people of the State. 
 
The Governor, who noted that such informal events would be regular features in his administration to engage all critical sectors of the State, said the programme was organized to express appreciation to the legislative arm for its dedication as well as its feat in surmounting all challenges in the discharge of its duties.
 
He said, “in the new Bayelsa, what we have programmed is a series of formal, semi formal engagements with all critical sectors of the Bayelsa society beginning with you all who are our bosses. Quite frankly, we appreciate the support and the cooperation you have extended to the Executive arm of Government. “
 
“We sincerely appreciate your selfless dedication to the service of our people; even at a time that some people predicted that Bayelsa would display those traits that would make them brand us as a crisis-ridden State. The Assembly rose in one accord and it has continued to rise above the predictions of some people to do what is right.
 
 
Governor Dickson Stated that the essence of such interactions was part of efforts to enhance his open door policy, noting that beyond politics, Bayelsans are one people who have no other State and called for the continued support of all to move the State to the next level.
 
“We must meet at this informal interactive manner to underscore the fact that after all, politics and jobs aside, the truth is that we are one; we are brothers and sisters and we have no other State to call our own than Bayelsa State and in the short while that, I have been on the saddle and we have been beneficiaries of your cooperation.
 
“The success we have recorded in this short time is a product of collaboration among all arms of Governments and stakeholders as well as prayers of all men and women of goodwill.”    
 
Responding, Speaker of the Bayelsa State House Assembly, Rt. Hon. Konbowei Benson lauded Governor Dickson for the recognition accorded them, stating that it was the first time they were rubbing minds in such a ceremony.
 
Describing the event as an indication of Governor Dickson’s preparedness to inject new ideas and ways of running his administration, Mr. Benson expressed the willingness of the Assembly to continue to support Government in its quest to deliver the restoration agenda.
 
The cocktail had in attendance, the Deputy Governor, Retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, Members of the Assembly and their spouses, Secretary to the State Government, Professor Edmund Alison Oguru, members of the State Executive Council and other top Government functionaries.



BAYELSA DEMANDS 50% DERIVATION FUND …CALLS FOR TRUE FISCAL FEDERALISM

BAYELSA DEMANDS 50% DERIVATION FUND
…CALLS FOR TRUE FISCAL FEDERALISM

 10/10/2013
As the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), rounds off its public hearing on the review of the existing revenue allocation formula in the six Geo-political zones, the Bayelsa State Government has made a demand of a minimum of 50 per cent revenue derivation.
 
Speaking through the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Edmund Allison-Oguru, at the opening of a 2-day public hearing for the South-South Geo- political zone in Yenagoa on Thursday, the State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson said the demand for upward review of revenue allocation became imperative noting environmental challenges arising from exploration activities of the multinational oil companies in the region.
 
Lamenting the level of environmental degradation occasioned by oil exploration and exploitation activities in the Niger Delta, the Governor pointed out that the current 13 per cent derivation principle was grossly inadequate to address the challenges confronting the region.
 
Calling for a reduction of money accruing to the Federal Government from the Federation Account, the Governor submitted that such reduction would discourage the struggle for political power at the national level and enhance the capacity of the State and Local Governments to accelerate development and make life more meaningful for the people at the grassroots.
 
“The enormous resources at the centre have fostered a do or die mentality among the political elites of this country, most of who go to the extreme to achieve their political ambitions to control the centre. States favoured by the principle of revenue sharing such as population and landmass have grown steadily dependent on allocation from the federation account and have lost initiative and drive in matters of economic planning and revenue generation.
 
Consequently, Governor Dickson called on the commission to come up with a more acceptable and equitable revenue formula just as he urged the national assembly to expedite the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) into law.
 
In his words: “the RMAFC should revisit the era of 100%, 50% or 30% derivation formula to reflect true federalism. It is a well known fact that the exploration of oil in the Niger Delta region has not only exploited the people of the area but also made the area toxic resulting into massive pollution of the environment which has in turn adversely affected the agrarian and subsistence lifestyle of the people.
 
‘The current 13% derivation principle has become increasingly inadequate to surmount the huge developmental challenges confronting the area.     
 
“That is why it has become imperative for the National Assembly to expedite action on the Petroleum Industry Bill, which I believe when passed into law, will adequately address the lopsided revenue allocation formula especially to the oil producing states and communities of the Niger Delta.”
 
In his remarks, the Chairman of the RMAFC, Engr. Elias Mbam, said the commission decided to embark on the public hearing in line with the provision of the 1999 constitution, which empowers it to review the revenue sharing formula periodically.
 
According to him, the exercise will enable Nigerians to make their inputs into the review process that will bring about a new sharing formula that will conform with changing realities in the country.
 
Engr. Mbam who described the south-south zone as one zone that has demonstrated strong commitment to national development, called on the people to avoid utterances and unrealistic demands capable of heating up the polity.   
 
 The 2-day public hearing for the South-South zone ends on Friday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Capital.
 
Daniel Iworiso-Markson
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State


GOV DICKSON HARPS ON TRUE FISCAL FEDERALISM FOR NIGERIA TO REALISE ITS FULL POTENTIALS

GOV DICKSON HARPS ON TRUE FISCAL FEDERALISM FOR NIGERIA TO REALISE ITS FULL POTENTIALS
It has again been emphasized that, Nigeria’s quest to be among the developed countries of the world will be easily actualised, if it practices true federalism.
Governor Seriake Dickson made this remarks at a dinner organised by the State Government in honour of officials of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission as well as participants at the 2-day South-South zone public hearing on the review of the nation’s revenue sharing formula in Yenagoa.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Edmund Allison-Oguru, the Governor observed that all the States of the Federation are well endowed with natural and other resources that, if properly harnessed, would help to fast-track the nation’s socio-economic development.
Lamenting the fate of Oloibiri where crude oil was first struck in commercial quantity, Hon. Dickson urged the Commission and other geo-political zones in the Country to appreciate the position of the South-South States on the derivation principle.
While, emphasising, the importance of true fiscal federalism in a democratic system, the Governor noted that upward review of the subsisting 13% derivation principle to 50% would engender healthy competition among the federating units and enhance the economic development of the Country.
“We are at a threshold of history because the mission of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission is going to open a new chapter in the history of this country. And that chapter is where revenue allocation will now be based on the principle of derivation.
“Imagine a future where all the other industrial minerals in all the other states of the country will be exploited as oil and gas are being exploited now and the revenue, a minimum of 50% will go to these various states, you will find that, in total, Nigeria will be better off and all of us will be shocked.
Describing Nigeria as a great country, he called on the people to rise above ethno-religious jingoism to work for national unity and stability.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on all men and women of goodwill from all parts of this country to transcend ethnic and religious limitations to allow us work for a prosperous and united Nigeria where all of us will live in peace and harmony.
Responding, the Chairman of RMAFC, Engr. Elias Mbam assured Nigerians that the views expressed at the various public hearings would be appropriately considered by the Commission.
The Chairman expressed appreciation to the State Government for the honour done his team and enjoined Bayelsans to continually support their Government to move the State to greater heights.
“One of the things the commission preaches apart from sharing formula is diversification. We have been going round the country to say look beyond oil and gas. From what I have seen, Bayelsa State is already qualified beyond oil and gas. When I first came here in 1996, I can tell you that what I saw then compared to what I am seeing today is not imaginable. Then it was basically a village but now it can compare favourably with very old States. I thank the present leadership for all that they are doing in terms of development. I therefore call on every Bayelsan to support the Government to enable it do more”.
 
Daniel Iworiso-Markson
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State

GOV DICKSON AT OJUDE OBA FESTIVAL OF IJEBULAND: PLEDGES COMMITMENT TO PEACE AND UNITY OF NATION



19/10/2013

GOV DICKSON AT OJUDE OBA FESTIVAL OF IJEBULAND: PLEDGES COMMITMENT TO PEACE AND UNITY OF NATION

The Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has expressed gratitude to the Awujale of Ijebuland and Chairman of the Ogun State Council of Traditional Chiefs, Oba Dr. Sikiru Adetona and the good people of Ijebuland for the honour bestowed on him as the Chief Guest of Honour at the 2013 Ojude Oba festival.

Commending the Awujale’s leadership style, the Governor said the unique honour has further confirmed his usual stance and disposition as a bridge builder and peace advocate.

He noted that, the honour will also strenghten the bond of unity between the people of Bayelsa state and Ogun state as well as the entire Yorubas of the South-West.

Identifying himself with his great maternal root, Governor Dickson remarked that, he would always identified with the people of Ijebuland and continue to play his roles as a bridge builder and source of unity amongst the various ethnic divides in the Country.

Earlier, the Awujale of Ijebuland had welcomed the Governor back home, noting that, his coming has confirmed the saying that “Ori Ade kii sun ita” meaning, the Crowned Prince never stayed outside.       Ojude Oba festival is a rich cultural festival which showcases the culture of Ijebu land.

Hon. Dickson, according to the Awujale is from Awujale Royal Dynasty.

The Governor was represented at the occasion by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Edmund Allison-Oguru.

On his entourage were the Commissioners of Works and Infrastructure and Education, Messrs Lawrence Ehwrudjakpor and Salo Adikumor as well as the Chairman Sagbama Local Government Council, Willie Oyadougha

Daniel Iworiso-Markson

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State



Thursday, 10 October 2013

BAYELSA GOV MOURNS SOLOMON LAR: HE WAS A STATESMAN, LARGE HEARTED, A DETRIBALIZED NIGERIAN AND A POLITICAL ICON ...GOV DICKSON

Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson has described the death of first civilian Governor of old Plateau State and pioneer National Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Solomon Lar as most shocking, a terrible and a painful loss to his immediate family, the Government and people of Plateau State and the nation.

In a condolence message to the family, Government and people of Plateau State, Hon. Dickson recalled the pivotal role and selfless sacrifices of Mr. Solomon Lar to the enthronement and sustenance of the nation’s democracy, stressing that he always placed national interest above his personal considerations.

According to him, as a detribalized Nigerian, the political icon always used the various offices he held at State and National levels as vital links of unity and understanding amongst the different and diverse sections of Nigerians. “As a Government and as a State, we are grieved by the passage of this great and principled Nigerian, who gave his all to the service of our nation, politics and our great party, the PDP.Solomon Lar’s impeccable record of service as Governor of Plateau State and later pioneer National Chairman of the PDP have remained reference points to the younger generation of politicians and even in death, we would remain grateful to him.

To us in Bayelsa State he was a true statesman, a father in many ways and an inspiration, because he was too good to be faulted in most of his actions, especially in the political landscape of our nation”Governor Dickson noted with satisfaction that, Late Solomon Lar has in a way contributed to the development of Bayelsa State, through the commissioning of a number of projects in the State during the administration of the first civilian Governor of the State, which is a clear manifestation of his detribalized disposition and large heartedness.

The Bayelsa State Chief Executive, who was full of regret, prayed God Almighty to grant his soul eternal rest and give the immediate family, his political associates, the Government and people of Plateau State, the strength and fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. 

Daniel Iworiso-Markson
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor of Bayelsa State
09/10/2013

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

BAYELSA IS FOCUSED ON SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT -- MARKSON FEFEGHA


BAYELSA IS FOCUSED ON SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT -- MARKSON FEFEGHA 

Deacon Markson Fefegha is the Bayelsa State Information and Orientation Commissioner. In this interview with OSA Okhomina, he says that the administration of Governor Seriake Dickson is focusing on education, infrastructural development, tourism and security of life and property.

Bayelsa is experiencing new style of governance and new policies; how far has it been?
Let me describe this administration as a love gift to Bayelsa people; especially because it was inaugurated on a day known as Valentine Day. And to us and to every citizen of the state, there were high hopes to transform the fortunes of the state. Let me say that when the burden of history fell on Governor Seriake Dickson to transform the fortunes of the state in a period characterised by insecurity, violence and the citizens have lost hope.

The people were so despondent, many did not believe that we will rise up to the challenge of transforming the fortunes of the state. But today, so much has been achieved. But let me say that the government has only functioned for seven months. By our calculation, it was only in April that the governor appointed his commissioners and what he was doing initially was to lay the building blocks for the foundation to the effective take-off of governance, because without the commissioners and other aides he could not have done anything alone.

And it was when we all sat down in April when we came on board that we started formulating policies, and one of the first was the Appropriation Bill that was sent to the House of Assembly to be passed into law and contracts awarded. Not until that time, contracts were awarded and deliberations made with money approved.

But when we thought government had taken off, the flood came like a tsunami and destabilised the system of governance. And the focus of government was more on how to rehabilitate those displaced internally by the flood and we all suspended all we wanted to do and went all out to see how we can salvage the remains of our infrastructure and at the same time put the building blocks gathered together by this administration intact.

We had a burden to help the displaced persons. It was not an easy period. The flood disorganised us and broke the flow of governance. It slowed us down, as we lost our pace and state funds. Bridges were lost, roads were torn and the load was heavy. Also while trying to recover from the flood, we had the ill-fated helicopter crash that killed the Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Yakowa and our son, General Owei Azazi. The pace slowed down but with all that behind us, we have tried to be focused and forge ahead.

Now that the trying period is  over, what is the main focus of the present administration?
The major focus of the administration in driving the economy is education. From the onset, the governor did not mince words when he realised that Bayelsa State is the epic centre of the Niger Delta and  the place where every Ijaw man has come to stay. Thus, it became a responsibility that we have to take care of youths unemployment.

Bayelsa, being the seat of the Niger Delta, was also a centre for restiveness in the past. Five years ago, it would have been difficult for us to sit here and chat comfortably. Even going home without having to look behind you was a feat. But today, except for one or two criminal incidents, everyone in the state can close their eyes while sleeping. The governor, from the beginning, declared that we are set to fight crime and criminality.

Being an experienced man in the area of crime fighting as a former police officer, lawyer, Commissioner of Justice and a lawmaker, he also applied the battle to human capital development and education. In doing this however, the administration decided that core assignment is to first fight crime and criminality and so a Bill was passed into law against political violence, cultism, crime and criminality in the state for peace to reign.

Though we still have pockets of incidences such as kidnapping, it is not peculiar to Bayelsa. The major task we have at hand now is to battle now is sea piracy.

For this, we have set up an anti-piracy squad known as ‘Door Akpoor.’ Ours is a government of restoration and we don’t want to use the existing security apparatus to maim or kill people like they did in the infamous security outfit known as ‘Famou Tamgbe’ in the state. This time around, our focus is to rehabilitate the youths involved in crime.

So, we have been able to reduce criminal activities to a reasonable minimum and that is why some night clubs are still functioning. Night life was non-existent six years ago and this is the legacy that we have come to put in place. Our administration guarantees protection of human life and invites potential investors to know that there is peace in the state.

The government is opening up the state from three flanks. In the east, we are taking the roads to Aggee in Ekeremor LGA and opening up to the sea through Brass and to the central through Okukubi, Koluama. When the three areas are opened up, not everyone will come to the capital city to stay but move to develop areas with business and tourist centres.

Yenagoa will become like Lagos and become the Dubai of Africa.That is why we are trying to attract investment from within and outside Nigeria. One area is that of tourism. We want to open up and allow people see the beauty of the state through boat cruise to Brass and Nembe.

But the education policy seems lost in all these?
It is not. What we have done is encourage the people to have a free and compulsory education. It is a cardinal plan of this administration. And for this reason, we have awarded scholarships to deserving students. Because it is a government for the Ijaw people, we have also extended the scholarships to other neighbouring students out the states that are Ijaw speaking in Edo, Cross Rivers and others. We emphasise that we can only match our development when our people are soundly educated.

For instance, in the information ministry, when we decided that we must transmit the Ijaw culture to the nation and the world, we knew  we must have adequate and qualified manpower. This is the more reason we are sending our students abroad and to the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Last year, we gave out N1billion for scholarship grants. And this year, we have decided to add more because our people have shown new hunger for education.

The one Billion naira was not enough. We have decided to double it to allow more of the people to benefit. We have also initiated another phase of the scholarship that is coming because we want our people to be educated. Now that we have taken our children out from the den of cultism, what they are to do next is to taught how to read and write and give them skills. And that is why we reopened the College of Arts and Science.

We have also moved the College of Education from Okpoama to Sagbama because of proximity and easy access to the place. Today, the enrollment has become much. From an enrollment of 22 persons to thousands. We also have technical schools at Aleibiri and Tumgbo so that our people will learn skills. Not everybody will read and write; we have also gone ahead to source for billions from Bank of Industry to empower our women.

We don’t want our women to just be in the kitchen and be housewives. We want women to earn a living for themselves even when the husbands are not there. A lot of this have been put in place.

During the last tour, the commissioners emphasised that Bayelsa has become a construction yard? How well has the infrastructural policy been implemented?
That is the major policy: development of infrastructure of the state. On road and buildings, we have opened up the city in three flanks. We have opened the state for development with roads. Of course, you are aware that in the state here, there is a traffic jam in town but this is for the good of the state. The people of the state have started bearing the pain because they know that it will be smooth soon.

All we are doing is that every roads in Yenagoa must be dualised. We have also opened the roads to the East and the West through internal roads. It is not just small roads but with double lanes. We want to open up the road and build flyover bridges through the Amassoma road and Tombia. Another one at Oppollo roundabout. We want to ensure that the road link into the Immirringi road and Otueke. If we do not do it now, in time to come, it will be difficult. It is to rework the Master Plan for the state.

Today, in Bayelsa, there is a facelift of the capital and it will soon be a tourist delight. We have also started rehabilitating the five-star hotel earlier abandoned and we have also started work on the 500-bed hospital, now 300-bed hospital. We want a situation where it will not only serve as hospital but a tourist site. And what we are trying to do is to raise the class of infrastructure in the state.

We are emphasising on education, tourism and infrastructural development for the first phase of our administration. By the grace of God, we have three years more to go, if we take the first phase and then complete them, we will initiate others.

We have rehabilitated schools that were seen as a miserable area but we have raised the standard with building of headmasters’ house and make our public schools compete well with any private schools. We are also building model secondary schools in each local government. We want it to be state of the art. we are emphasising the technical aspect of education.

Your ministry, Information and Strategy, seems in a lull in all these restoration journey; how well does information dissemination match the list of development plans you mentioned.?
We are an integral part of the restoration agenda. We have just secured a licence to transform from Radio Bayelsa to Niger Delta Radio and from the Gloryland Television to Niger Delta Television. We have secured it and in no distant time we will be ensuring that the voice of an Ijaw man would be heard all over the world.

The Niger Delta Radio and Television will be the signpost through which we will speak our language and transport our culture to the world. Very soon, we will have our offices in Johannesburg, London and Atlanta. We want to transmit to the world so that the people will know that a section of Nigeria known as Bayelsa and Ijaw people exist with pride.

Some people may think we are a country, but we will tell them who we are. We want to showcase our culture and tradition and export everything that is good to the world. As the governor has always said, anything good in Nigeria is Bayelsan. We will export the good part of our culture to the world. Everyone will listen and it will attract business to the state.

But most of these projects reeled out by your administration have not been completed. What are those projects that have been completed?
Well, I won’t be able to mention all, but I have informed you that the government has only been able to function for about seven months. And so, seven months is too short to judge an administration. During the good governance tour in the state, it was obvious that two edifices have been completed - the Traditional Rulers Council building and the police officers’ mess.

There are many others I can’t recall immediately. These are buildings we pulled down and rebuilt. Even when we are critical of the past regime, we have inherited projects and have built on them. Some projects were abandoned and we have rehabilitated them.

Many persons have viewed some actions of the present administration with suspicion and it seems their fears are being confirmed with the manner the Timi Alaibe committee on appropriations of fund by past administration was swept under the carpet. Has the government done away with the report?
The Timi Alaibe’s report has not been thrown into the bin. It is rather being implemented by the present administration. The first part of the report is to sanitise the civil service. When the report came out, we noticed the cases of over-bloated wage bill. In a country like Nigeria, we are supposed to be the least populated but we had a wage bill compared to that of Lagos. These are the things the report pointed out.

Someone even asked me why we concentrate on only the education sector and I told him we are moving from phase to phase. It is not to witch-hunt people; just that when some things are obvious, we need to ask questions and security personnel were invited. But I don’t think it was a targeted measure because many people were annoyed at what was going on in the sector. For instance, when we were doing the local government verification exercise, we discovered that there were so much fraud.

Those reports were done by highly reputable personalities and we have not thrown away their report. We will soon do justice to it. They also suggested the revamping of the economy and we accepted, because without an economy there is no governance.

Anything that drives the government is the economy. Without a good economy, there can be no good government. And we, as a state, have checked and asked how to build up our economy through a sound Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) regime.

The Timi Alaibe’s committee also suggested it and all those leakages in government spendings must be blocked. When we block those leakages, our IGR will move up. Our plan is not to depend solely on the oil revenue allocation from Federation Account. It has made us work harder.

Government says its primary focus is education, is the free and compulsory education working with many schools still lacking teaching facilities? What kind of free education is Bayelsa practising?
Let me start by saying that we seem to notice sabotage from those who are suppose to facilitate the implementation. You know the governor and the commissioner will not do it. The commissioner of education emphasised that instructional materials like chalk and others will be distributed in collaboration with the universal basic education.

And when we went round during the Good Governance Tour by the minister of information, we discovered that some instructional materials were received by some heads of schools and it was discovered that they were diverted. Like the flood period, we heard rumours of diversion of relief materials. We discovered that some materials were entrusted to some people and they were stolen or diverted. I experienced it during the flood and I believe that they do it.

The government has good intention. Even the governor is more frustrated than I am over the issue. Like the uniforms, the contractor has been paid almost all the money and very few have been delivered. These are the kind of sabotage we have in the system. Well, we are just taking off and these are the hiccups we face.

But I promise you that we will know how to move forward in the midst of these challenge, because we can not declare to the public and not meet up with our plan and purposes. I assure you that we are prepared to ensure that the free and compulsory education is delivered to the people.

But we learnt the uniforms for the schools are being produced abroad whereas the nation harps on local content policy and promoting indigenous businesses...
What I know is that the materials were mass-produced in China. We are using the opportunity of sewing the uniforms to empower our women and youths. The handling of sewing the bale of clothes will assist our local tailors. We cannot do that if we have been telling the oil companies to ensure local content.

Many residents have raised eyebrow about Bayelsa governor’s constant absence from the state and the frequent trips to Abuja and beyond?
Well, there is nobody who doesn’t want development. And development can not come through the indigenes alone. Development requires attracting people. For instance in Yenagoa here, not only the indigenes can bring up an economy.

That is why if you see our economy, the Igbos have dominated. And so, the governor is trying to lay the building block for investment and economic development. That is the more reason why the governor travels.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

EX-MILITANTS DECLARE ATIKU PERSONA-NON-GRATA IN NIGER DELTA


EX-MILITANTS DECLARE ATIKU PERSONA-NON-GRATA IN NIGER DELTA

FORMER Vice President Atiku Abubakar has been declared a persona-non-grata (AN UNACCEPTABLE OR UNWELCOMED PERSON) by leaders of ex-militants in the Niger Delta for threatening to stop the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 and spearheading the break-up of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The former warlords drawn from all nine states of the Niger Delta made the declaration after a meeting under the aegis of the Leadership, Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI) in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State yesterday.
They said: “”It is unfortunate that Atiku, who has benefitted so much from the Niger Delta’s crude oil and gas, is leading dissidents in a political coup against the first Southerner to ever ascend the seat of President of Nigeria.
“We are aware of his vast business interest in the Niger Delta and we are warning him, in his own interest, to stay off the region.
“He cannot be enjoying our oil money and at the same time use the same money to fight against the owners of the oil.”
They added: “What we thought we would be hearing from the North was how the Federal Government would implement the spirit and letters of the amnesty programme.
“Before the former President, UmaruYar’Adua, died, he promised that as soon as we dropped our arms and allowed an unhindered flow of oil from the creeks, we would be given a lifeline.
“He also promised that we would be empowered, to live a new life from the resources of our oil.
“We have been waiting patiently for these to happen. Our acceptance of peace benefitted Atiku and his ilk. Why did he not lead a campaign for the Federal Government to provide the empowerment tools?
“Why has he found it convenient to distract President Jonathan from rendering service to Nigerians?”
They went on: “It is the same Northerners that vowed that they would make the country ungovernable for Dr. Jonathan. By splitting the PDP and causing further tension in the polity, they are demonstrating the agenda of giving President Jonathan sleepless nights, with the intention of taking over power in 2015.
The former freedom fighters also urged Jonathan not to be distracted by the antics of persons they alleged were fighting hard to distract him.
They added they were still waiting patiently for the Federal Government to fully implement the terms of the amnesty programme.
Atiku’s spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, however dismissed the threat.
He said: “Atiku has devoted his life to defending democracy in Nigeria and will not be prevented or deterred from visiting any part of this great country.
“Throughout his long career in business, he has maintained strong ties to the Niger Delta and employs thousands in the region. He will continue to passionately defend democratic values and his work to improve the dignity and lives of all Nigerians.”

ATIKU SPOKESMAN LIED AGAIN, THE QUESTION IS, HOW MANY NIGER DELTAN YOUTHS HAS BEEN IMPOWERED BY ATIKU AND FROM WHICH STATES AS CLAIM.  ATIKU SHOULD PUBLISH THISE NAMES AND SEE THEY ARE HUMANBEENS FROM THE NIGER DELTA


NEWS SOURCE: THE NATION